A summary of what to expect if your traffic ticket is sent to GC Services (collections) and what can be done about it.
General reasons why traffic tickets are sent to GC Services, otherwise known as collections
Traffic tickets are sent to collections for a few potential situations. This includes completely ignoring the ticket, setting an arraignment or trial date for the ticket and then not showing up to court on that date, or getting convicted of a ticket and failing to pay the fine due on that ticket in time.
Consequences of having a traffic ticket in collection
One of the first major concerns with having a traffic ticket in collections is that the court will notify the DMV of this issue and the DMV will place a hold on your driver's license. What this means essentially is that your driver's license is suspended, and if you drive and get pulled over by an officer, he can charge you with a violation of subsection of VC 14601, which is generally charged as a misdemeanor and has potential penalties much more severe than the infraction traffic ticket that caused the issue in the first place, including large fines, probation, and jail. Secondly, the fees for a ticket in collections increases the amount of the ticket significantly, often 3 or more times what the underlying ticket started at. Third, it is possible for the court to place a bench warrant based on a failure to appear. This is more likely if you set the case for trial and did not show up at the trial date. What this means is that if you are stopped by an officer, the chances of the officer taking you into custody for a VC 14601 issue increases significantly. NOTE that if you are originally charged with a misdemeanor (vs. an infraction) and fail to appear in court, the Judge will generally issue a bench warrant for your arrest as a matter of course. Fourth, a failure to appear (FTA) can be penalized under VC 40508(a), and depending on circumstances that led to it, the FTA can be charged as a misdemeanor.
I have a failure to appear on a traffic ticket, what can be done about it and can you help me?
If you have a failure to appear it is best to deal with it as soon as possible to avoid potential future VC 14601 driving on suspended license charges. Essentially the goal if you have a failure to appear is three fold. 1) Clear the hold on your driver's license so you can lawfully drive without the fear of a VC 14601 hanging over your head, 2) Mitigate and reduce the amount of fines due to the Court based on the failure to appear and the underlying charge(s), and 3) fight the underlying charges to avoid a conviction and DMV points on your driver's license when applicable.
It is best to speak to a traffic attorney about your situation in more detail to discuss options and what makes the most sense given your situation and the court that your ticket is in. Many times a traffic attorney can save you a LOT of money, time and heartache over the long run.
The information in this guide is for general information only and your reading of it does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Law Office of Philip D. Hache. Information on this guide is not legal advice for any individual case, investigation, or any other legal matter. The Law Office of Philip D. Hache may only be engaged as legal counsel by a client after the prospective client and the Office of Philip D. Hache each agrees to the specific terms and conditions of the representation, such terms and conditions are set forth in a written engagement agreement signed by both parties.
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