traffic violation

What Happens if You Fail to Respond to a Traffic Ticket?

If you receive a traffic ticket and a court finds you guilty of the charges, you can expect to pay a fine and suffer some damage to your driving record. For more serious traffic offenses, you may have to serve some time in jail. Finally, you might have to pay increased insurance premiums.

But the consequences of not paying your ticket when it comes due can be equally troublesome. A ticket from long ago can continue to cause you problems years later. 

Whether you agree with the ticket or want to dispute it, it is always better to handle your ticket promptly rather than ignore it.

Your Traffic Ticket Appearance Date

The ticket that the law enforcement officer hands you on the side of the road serves as a “notice to appear.” This notice directs you to appear in court on a certain date and a certain time to answer the charges. In some cases, your ticket tells you that you can avoid having to appear by paying a fine and costs before the date stated on your ticket.

Check your ticket carefully, as your appearance in court is necessary for some more severe traffic charges. If you doubt whether you must appear for your ticket, speak to your attorney or the court.

3 Consequences for Failing to Appear

If you receive a ticket and the appearance date comes and goes without any resolution on your part, the court will very likely take some action. Depending on the severity of your charges and the jurisdiction, any of the following consequences may occur:

1. Your Failure to Appear May Be Reported to the State DMV

The first consequence that could result from failing to appear on a ticket is a report to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. If your failure to respond to the ticket continues, the DMV may suspend your driver’s license until you handle your ticket. 

A suspension can occur even if you live out of state and receive a ticket in New York or vice versa. Do not think you can ignore the ticket because your ticket comes from a different state than the state that issued your license.

2. The Court Can Find You Guilty by Default

When you fail to respond to the allegations contained in your traffic ticket, the prosecution may request and receive a default judgment against you. The court may even assess you for a fine in your absence. If you fail to pay this fine, the court may send the debt to a collection agency, which will then attempt to collect the debt.

3. The Court Can Issue a Warrant for Your Arrest

Depending on the severity of your charges, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest. A warrant can be highly disruptive to your home and professional life. The court may require you to post a bail bond before the jail releases you.

It Does Not Pay to Ignore a New York Traffic Ticket

If you ignore your traffic ticket, it won’t magically go away. Not only will the ticket remain until you take care of it but the courts and state government can apply increasingly severe penalties in an attempt to gain your cooperation. 

You may find that the consequences of ignoring your ticket are worse than the penalties you would have faced if you had responded to your ticket.

If you need assistance resolving a traffic ticket in Central New York, contact the New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers today. Let us help you resolve your traffic ticket violations or overdue ticket so it no longer casts a shadow over your life.

Brandon M. Jones is a paralegal for New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers. Experienced in Traffic Law, Brandon assists our attorneys in traffic-related matters, including DWI, CDL violations, and speeding tickets. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Brandon by clicking here.