If you’ve gotten a traffic ticket and cannot afford to pay the fine, you have options.

  • First, don’t ignore the ticket. The law requires that you must “appear” in court on your case. You or your attorney may appear in person in open court, by mail, or you may deliver your plea in person to the court.  You must plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
  • Be sure to make your appearance by the “appearance date” given on the ticket. When you make your appearance by mail, the envelope must be postmarked no later than your scheduled appearance date. A phone call or e-mail does not constitute an appearance. An appearance must be made in person or in writing.
  • When you enter a plea on the ticket, tell the court you cannot afford to immediately pay the fine. Check with the court before your appearance date to find out its requirements for proving that you cannot afford to pay.  You may be required to fill out a form listing your income and expenses and provide evidence to prove that you cannot afford to pay the fine.
  • If the judge finds that you cannot afford to pay the fine, he or she may order that you pay with a payment plan, perform community service, or some combination of those things.