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What if I fail to appear in court?

Your signature on the citation (ticket) is your promise to appear on or before a specific date, place, and time. Even if you did not receive the court's courtesy notice, you are responsible for appearing by that date. If you fail to appear by the date on your ticket, by an extension date you were granted, or a date you were scheduled to appear in court, the court will take several actions. A charge of Vehicle Code section 40508(a) (failure to appear) will be added to your case, substantially increasing your fine. The DMV will be notified of your failure to appear. The DMV will then suspend your driving privileges. In general, your license will remain suspended until the case has been fully resolved. For more information on what to do if your driver’s license is suspended, click here. Additionally, depending on the charges involved, other common actions are:

  • Issuance of a bench warrant. This means that a warrant for your arrest will be outstanding. If you are pulled over, the police officer may arrest you and take you to jail and from there, to appear before the Court; or
  • Addition of a civil assessment of $300 to your fine and referral of the matter to the court's collection vendor. If your case has been referred to the collection vendor, you may speak with them regarding your options.
  • For more information from the collections vendor, click here.

  • Important
  • In any event, if you have received a notice of suspension from the DMV, it is your sole responsibility to verify with the DMV that your license is valid before you drive.
Before Your Court Date
More Traffic Q&A Topics
Ticket Basics
How to Handle Your Ticket
Traffic Payment Plan
Before Your Court Date
Arraignment Hearing
Trial Types
Trial by Written Declaration
Your Day in Court
Traffic School
Driver’s License Suspension
Community Service Information Section
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