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If you get a traffic ticket and the courtesy notice says there is an

Updated on August 17, 2008

Should one Appear in Court or simply Mail in the Fine?

Your bail, or fine if you choose to pay and lose by defaut, is your guarantee to the court that you believe you are innocent and would like to prove it in court, or you forfeit the bail and pay the fine without contest. There is usually no futher penalty.

Citations for a violation that includes jail time will not keep you out of court, even if you send the money. The court wants you to make an appearance in alleged crimes against property or person.

Now, go ask a lawyer. He/she probably won't charge much if anything for a few minutes of their time. Most infractions are for a lapse in driving, such as talking on a cell phone in a state where it has been ruled an infraction.

If you show up and ask for lienency by pleading: Guilty with an explanation yoiur honor!. You have wasted the court's time. You won't be in contempt but the judge and the cop, if he shows, are going to look at you contemptibly. Your fine may be reduced, if the judge is in a good mood and the stock market has staged a rally.

Before you say guilty or anything else, check to see if the officer has appeared in the courtroom. No? You get a free ride, case dismissed.

Does your manner, style of dress, and courtesy to the courtroom staff make any difference? Centers of justice staff take a lot of abuse and appreciate the occasional decent remark. Those lawyers all dressed in suits are showing respect for the demeanor of the judges courtroom. .

The best place to exercise some respect and courtesy is when you are pulled over. Address him/her as officer and don't make up a stupid excuse for your lapse in good judgment. These traffic officers have heard it all. Accept the lecture and you may get a warning instead of a citation. Officers put up with a lot of abuse. The public isn't often grateful for the job they do. If you have a chance meeting with a peace officer, it's not so impossible to treat him/her with respect. Even if you get a citation, the purpose is to get your attention , keep you safe, and to make highways.safer for others.


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    • solarcaptain profile image

      mike king 9 years ago from california

      I'm sorry I didn't see this to answer timely, so you have probably already got through it right?

      I hope it went well for you. I'm sure you probably understand now that all your bail money is returned should you be found not guilty. Strang, theyu make it sounds as though you have to pay to go to court, rgardless of how the case turns out. How rude. a cop never tickets a beautiful lady, must be a rookie!

      Good luck and best regards

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for answering my request! So by going to court, your bail can be reduced if you are found innocent? I got my ticket and it says there is an amount to pay for bail and and amount to pay for an appearance in court... does that mean I have to pay just to go to court! Argh!