A lot of Californians will get at least one ticket, if not several during their lifetime. When you get pulled over for running a red light, passing a stopped school bus, blowing through a stop sign, or speeding, seeing those red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror can be scary.
Your heart begins to race, your hands begin to tremble, and you start to breathe more rapidly. While this initial encounter with law enforcement is anything but fun, things get a whole lot worse if you ignore your ticket. “What can happen if I ignore my ticket?”
According to the California Courts, if you do not respond to your ticket, “Your fine will increase and additional penalties will be added.” Not only that, but if you don’t pay the fine, your case can be sent to collections and your credit can take a hit. “If you do not pay your fine within the time the court gives you, your driver’s license may be suspended. You may not be able to renew your car’s registration,” according to the California Courts.
What if I Miss My Court Date?
In the legal world, this is a BIG no-no. It doesn’t matter if you have work that day, or if you can’t find a ride, the courts still expect you to show for a scheduled court appearance. If you do not pay the fine or if you don’t appear to appear in court as required, you’re likely to face a driver’s license suspension and additional penalties.
If you failed to show in court because you “couldn’t afford the fine” or because you were afraid of being arrested, or if you simply forget, it’s what the court calls a “failure to appear,” which is a separate crime. In this scenario, you’d face a civil assessment of up to $300, and the judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest.