San Mateo Traffic Ticket Lawyer
If you have received a traffic ticket, it will be important to know which of three types of California citations you may have received and the respective protocol for each one. Our firm focuses on keeping points off our clients' records, and we're here to address any questions you might have about resolving your traffic ticket in San Mateo.
Three Types of Tickets
An officer will give you one of three possible kinds of traffic citations in California:
- Parking ticket
- Infraction traffic ticket
- Misdemeanor traffic ticket
Parking tickets are not filed with the court. You simply need to pay the amount on the ticket to the parking agency where the violation occurred. However, if you think you should not have gotten the ticket, you should contact the parking agency listed on the ticket or look on their website for next steps. Be alert that the longer you wait to pay your ticket, the more your fine might increase, and if you do not pay your ticket at all, you will not be able to renew your car's registration.
Infraction Traffic Ticket
You might get an infraction traffic ticket if you are driving too fast or running a red light. The officer will ask you to sign the ticket, also called the “Notice to Appear.” The “Notice to Appear” does not mean that you admit you are guilty; it just means that you promise to appear in court.
Note that you may also be charged with further infractions in addition to this initial violation. For instance, if you do not have proof of your car insurance, you will be charged with another infraction for driving without proof of insurance. In this case, the owner of the vehicle will also be also charged with an infraction, and an “owner responsibility” ticket is mailed to their address. Additionally, the officer may also give you a “fix-it” ticket for a “correctable violation” if your car has broken equipment, like a broken headlight.
Misdemeanor Traffic Ticket
A more serious crime like driving without a license might result in a misdemeanor traffic ticket. You will be asked to sign the “Notice to Appear” and go to court on the date shown on your ticket. However, for more serious misdemeanors, like DUI charges, you could pay close to a $5,000 fine and go to a city or county jail for up to one year. An officer may take you into custody if you are suspected of driving under the influence.
After Getting a Ticket
When you get a traffic ticket, you must act before the due date on your "Notice to Appear" runs out. Failure to appear at court or take action as instructed may result in suspension of your license, and the court can charge you with a misdemeanor or infraction and issue a warrant for your arrest.
With that in mind, your options after getting a traffic ticket are:
- Pleading guilty and paying the traffic fine (also referred to as “bail”). Note that once you have paid your fine, the violation will show up as a conviction on your DMV record, which means you will get points on your driving record, and your car insurance company may increase your payment rate or cancel your policy entirely. Be aware that points can stay on your record for 3-7 years.
- Paying to go to traffic school (as long as you are eligible to go to traffic school). If this is your first ticket and the court allows you go to traffic school, you should not get any points on your record.
- Providing proof of correction if you got a traffic ticket for a “correctable violation.”
Appearing at court, where you may:
- tell the court you want to plead guilty, be notified of the fine amount, and discuss how to pay your fine, approve community service, or be placed on a payment plan; or
- plead “no contest” or “not guilty” and ask for a trial date.
- Asking for a trial by judicial officer or by mail (also called a trial “by written declaration”) on the date of your notice if you believe you are not guilty.
Traffic Violations in San Mateo County
If you have received a parking or moving ticket, these will be handled by the San Mateo court system. You may refer to the following links to pay your ticket or get more information:
If you seek to appeal your parking ticket, you can submit an online appeal at Pticket.com, and if you would like to appeal your moving violation, you can submit an online appeal through the County of San Mateo Traffic Page.
How to Appeal a Traffic Violation
You may also submit a written appeal, and you can do so by writing within 21 calendar days of the issue date of your citation. You should include the following information in your written appeal:
- Indicate the reason(s) you feel your citation was issued in error;
- Include copies of any documentation to support your claim (documents will not be returned);
- Include your citation or reminder notice;
- Include your full name; and
- Include your complete mailing address (suite number, apartment number, zip code, etc.).
Consequences for your traffic citation could be severe, as points can go on your record, your insurance rates can go up, and your license can be suspended, to name a few. Finding the right traffic ticket attorney can help you efficiently and appropriately handle your ticket. Our team will fight for your case and, in the process, we will save you time, money, and stress, all while keeping you on the road.