What Happens when you Fail to Pay a Traffic Ticket

Whether it be a parking ticket, speeding ticket, or any other type of traffic violation, it is important to address your ticket as soon as possible. Some drivers who forget about the ticket or can not pay it right away may deal with additional consequences beyond the initial issue. It’s best to immediately research how to fight traffic ticket charges instead of waiting. Here are some things that could happen if you don’t pay your ticket on time.


Higher Fines

Most courts give traffic violators up to 90 days to pay the fine or enter a plea. If, after the grace period expires, and you have not yet addressed the issue, the courts may add an additional fee onto what you already owe. 

If you fail to pay the original fine and the supplemental fee within an additional grace period, the court may send your case to collections. The only way to avoid collections actions is to respond to the ticket in some way. Whether this involves paying the fine or appearing in court, it is essential to show that you are not just ignoring the ticket.

Suspended Driver’s License

Not paying a traffic ticket or failing to appear in court to address the citation may also result in a suspended driver’s license. A suspended driver’s license will only add insult to injury. You may also have to pay a fee to reinstate your license once the court does clear you to do so.

Car Registration Renewal Problems

In addition to having trouble with your driver’s license, your car’s registration could also be impacted by an unpaid ticket.

Misdemeanor Charges

Over time, in many places, unpaid tickets may lead to misdemeanor charges if you get a court notice for your traffic issue. When you do not appear in court as summoned, the court may charge you with a “failure to appear.” FTA is a violation of the written promise you made when you signed the speeding ticket at the time of the stop. In addition to a misdemeanor, the court may also charge you with an infraction for failure to pay.

Arrest Warrant

In the most extreme situations, unpaid traffic tickets could lead to an arrest warrant. Though this is typically not what happens if you don’t pay a traffic ticket, if you have several points on your record, have an outstanding criminal history or showed extreme lack of respect for the court, the arresting officer or both, the courts may not feel bad about issuing a warrant.


Regardless of the type of ticket you receive, it is a must to pay on time to avoid any additional penalties or elevation of severity. Should you be on the receiving end of any of these consequences, it is important to work with the judicial system or the collection agency, should it come to that. Delaying the process can only worsen the situation, so finding a solution to resolve any outstanding tickets is the main priority! 







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