In California, when you fail to appear for a traffic ticket the court can issue a bench warrant for your arrest and/or place a hold on your license with the DMV. The court will also add a VC 40508, Failure to Appear charge. The sooner you take care of it the better. Some people try and handle their own traffic matters. However, if you have concerns you can always contact a local traffic attorney in your county for additional information on the local courts practices.
When you fail to appear the Court orders a warrant 40508 VC which is an increase in fine, and notifies the DMV of your failure to appear. The DMV immediately suspends you license, so if you are stopped they will impound your car and cite you for driving on a suspended license which is a Misdemeanor up to 6 months in the County Jail and/or $1,000 fine. If you immediately go to the traffic court, the judge will usually allow you to get an abstract to clear with DMV, but you must take the abstract to DMV and pay a reinstatement fine to get your license back; it doesn't happen automatically because you went to court. Then you can also resolve your original matter. However, the longer you wait, the higher the fine for failure to appear. For example, say you were speeding 75 in 65, and FTA. You go to court late. Got the date mixed up, but added on right away. The Court, if a good judge, asks you if you want to fight the case, and let's say you say no. So, you plead no contest to speeding, ask for traffic school because you don't want this on your driving record. Judge drops the FTA and issues an abstract for you to get your license and fine for speeding. you go to the Clerk of the Court, pay the fine, and get the abstract, go to the DMV show them the abstract and pay the reinstatement fee, get your full license back, get into the traffic school, some are now on line, complete it, and get proof back to the Court (or your license will be suspended again for failure to complete the school, and you don't need that). It is now all finished. Be sure to keep all receipts from the Court, Clerk of the Court, DMV and Traffic School, and proof that you gave that competition to the Court. Keep it for 10 years in a special file. Do all of this and you will have lower fines, driving privilege and nothing on your record. Good luck. Donald
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