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

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

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?

Available Options When You Can't Pay Traffic Ticket Fines

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.

Traffic School

For some drivers, traffic school can be a good option for dealing with a ticket. 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. By completing traffic school, the driver can also save money by avoiding demerit points and related insurance-rate increases.

Fine Reductions, Payment Plans, and Community Service

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 paying the fine. And many jurisdictions offer payment plans to drivers who can’t pay their tickets upfront but can make monthly payments.

Fighting the Ticket

If you fight a ticket and win, you won't have to pay a fine. And, if you lose and are ultimately convicted of the violation, some of the same options discussed above will likely still be available. So, for some drivers, it might be worth the effort to fight a moving violation ticket.

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