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Dealing With a California Speeding Ticket

If you've been stopped for speeding in California, the officer will give you a copy of the citation. The citation will have the name and contact information for the court that will handle your case, as well as the court date. You then have a number of different options to deal with the ticket:

  • Pay the fine before your court date. This counts as an admission of guilt, and the conviction will go on your record.
  • Plead guilty and request to attend traffic violator school (TVS). If the court grants your request, you'll still have to pay an amount equal to the fine normally imposed for a guilty plea, but the conviction won't go on your record, so your insurance rates won't increase.
  • Plead not guilty and request a trial. If you choose the option, you'll go to court with the officer who ticketed you. If the officer doesn't show, you may be able to get the ticket dismissed, or the judge may reschedule the court date to give the officer another chance to appear. It depends on the judge. It's important to note that in California, you can plead not guilty and still request to be assigned traffic school to keep the conviction off of your record if you lose your case.


Whatever you do, don't ignore your California speeding ticket! Ignoring it will not make it go away. The DMV will suspend your driver's license for failure to appear (FTA), and you'll only have to pay more money in the end. Another important thing to remember if you've been caught speeding is that you need to do everything in your power to protect your driving record. Sure, it might be faster just to plead guilty and pay the fine, but remember, once you're done paying the state, you'll have to deal with your insurance company.

Most insurance companies take a look at your California driving record before each renewal, and you can expect a significant rate increase if you have a speeding ticket. So, if it's an option for you, take traffic school. You'll still have to fork over money to the state, but at least you'll save on insurance. Driving University offers a convenient online course that is approved for ticket dismissal by most California municipal courts. Click here to see if we can help you keep your record clean!

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