Due process requires that you receive notice of your right to request a hearing to contest the violation. For this reason the judge should pull the ticket from collections and give you a hearing.
Don't try to do this yourself. A good infraction attorney might cost a lot less than what the collection agency wants.
This answer is my personal opinion, offered for informational purposes only. It is not a legal opinion, nor is it legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with anyone reading it.
Look, it is an equipment violation. Just pay it because there will be no points on your license and no insurance implications. Otherwise, you will have to retain a lawyer to make a motion to vacate which will be more costly and time consuming. Until this is cleared up you are driving on a suspended license which is a crime. If you are caught and think the headlight ticket is bad wait until you see the fines for that one.