What Happens If I Can’t Pay My Traffic Ticket?

Dealing with traffic ticket fines when you don’t have the money to pay.

Question

I just got a ticket for speeding but I don’t have the money to pay the fine. What will happen if I don’t pay? Do I have any options other than paying the full amount?

Answer

Unpaid traffic citations can lead to late fees, collection agency involvement, license suspension, and even a warrant being issued for your arrest. So, ignoring a ticket normally isn’t the best idea. If you can’t afford to pay your ticket all at once, it’s worth looking into the other options that might be available.

For some drivers, traffic school can be a good option. Traffic school participants usually save money because, while they have to pay a fee for the course, they don’t normally have to pay the fine for their ticket. You might also try asking the judge for a fine reduction, an extension on the time you have to pay your ticket, or whether you can do community service in lieu of the fine. And many jurisdiction offer payment plans to drivers who can’t pay their tickets up front but can make monthly payments.

(Get more information on the options for dealing with a traffic ticket.)

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