I received a speeding ticket and plan to stretch the time out to the maximum and sign to deny and take it to court. I'm told I may end up having to pay even more for the ticket if I do this potentially.


  1. Is it true that I may have to pay more than the ticketed fine if I take it to court, the officer shows up, and I lose my case before the judge?
  2. Is there anything I can do specifically when I go to court if the office is there to just pay the ticketed price right then?
  • In general, banking on the officer not being present is a mistake. At least in my experience. The court date was specifically scheduled for the officer as part of his/her duty. It's their job to be there.
    – Scott
    Dec 29, 2015 at 3:17
  • 1
    What state and city?
    – jqning
    Dec 29, 2015 at 4:27
  • I do not know how your location works and I do not want to turn the comments into a conversation. Do you know the amount of the ticket and do you have a break down of costs? If you have a bunch of fees on there already it is possible that there are no additional fees if you go the distance. See in.gov/judiciary/admin/files/pubs-fee-manual.pdf sections 1 and 3 for the fees. The big one is that $120 or $70. If you are already paying that then you most likely will have no more fees. Someone at the DA or county prosecutor should be able to tell you.
    – jqning
    Dec 29, 2015 at 16:59
  • Beating a ticket isn't just showing up in court and free-form arguing. Your objections need to be structured in a particular way to be most effective. It would behoove you to do some research - typically a lot more than you'd expect to need to. There are resources on the internet, but if this is a "principle of the thing" sort of deal, then it might be worth bringing in a lawyer to consult. Certainly will give you an education. It is rather marvelous to "know your way around a courtroom" and it gives you a LOT of power, which lasts your whole life. Oct 8, 2021 at 5:02

3 Answers 3


You have been ticketed, you have 2 choices:

  1. Pay the ticketed fine
  2. Go to court and argue your case; if you win you are not guilty and owe nothing, if you loose you are guilty and will pay whatever penalty the judge decides plus whatever court costs are applicable. In general this will be more than the fine 2-3 times more as a guide.

Like most legal options they are mutually exclusive - once you choose you cannot change your mind.

  • 3
    This is srsly missing stuff. 1 - traffic school. 2 - meet with a traffic referee and negotiate. 3 - show up at the scheduling (pre-trial) hearing and talk to the clerk or the DA to try to negotiate. 4 a show up on trial date and talk to the DA (before the judge comes in) to try to plead it down.
    – jqning
    Dec 29, 2015 at 4:39
  • Well, I spoke with my neighbor's brother who is a new cop (only been to traffic court twice) and he got his buddy cop of many years on the phone. Your answer is basically correct so thank you! When I go to court after I mail in the ticket, I check in and ask if the office is there yet, they will tell me then yes or no and he may still show up later. For the cases were the officers don't show up, they will call those offender's names and the case will be dismissed. If my office is there, I can request to do a diversion since I've not had a ticket in years and have the ticket within 30 days. Dec 30, 2015 at 0:14
  • And one more option: There are attorneys who do nothing but specialize in getting your traffic tickets dismissed. Cost is usually no less than the fine would have been, but usually not much more if they are in fact higher (e.g., for speeding or other moving violations). Big win is: No points on your insurance if they prevail, which they frequently (even usually) do, so that's where you save the money. Smaller win: You send them a photo of your ticket, and give them your credit card number, and you're done. Get a recommendation from a friend/coworker who's a satisfied customer.
    – davidbak
    Oct 10, 2021 at 23:18

The answer here really depends on the state in which you live. For example, in Massachusetts the courts require you to pay a filing fee to have your case heard and traffic tickets are considered a civil offense. This results in a lower burden of proof and alleged violators are almost always found to be liable (to the point of being borderline illegal and in violation of due process). In this case, even if you are found not to be accountable for the ticket you will not receive your filing fee back.

In California however, you simply pay the "bail" amount (the amount of the fine) and if you win the case, your monies are returned to you. If you lose and are found guilty of the violation, you forefit the bail amount.

Regarding the second part of the question, you can simply notify the judge that you wish to change your plea. I'm not sure why you would want to do this however... You should always verify that the officer is properly trained and certified to operate Radar or LIDAR, that the equipment has been properly tested and calibrated within the last 30 days, that the equipment is sufficiently modern and does not suffer from sweep error and has the requisite protections for such errors, and in California, you should verify that you are not a victim of an illegal speed trap (which has a very specific and complex definition under the law in California).

In Illinois however, there do not appear to be any reports of judges increasing a fine or filing fees.


I agree you really need to tell us what state this is.

In Texas, speeding tickets are a criminal matter (Class C misdemeanor) and are punishable by fine only.

This means that if you do nothing.. i.e. show up to the arraignment but don't sign anything giving up your right to a trial by jury then that's what you will get - a trial by jury. They have to.

If you do sign something waiving your right to a jury trial, you could possibly take defensive driving, ask the court for deferred adjudication, or anything else the judge wants to let you do. You could even ask him to dismiss your case.

If you do get a jury trial in Texas and the police officer doesn't show up, make a motion to the court to 'dismiss for lack of prosecution.' and it should be dismissed. If they don't dismiss it and reschedule the trial (reset it), object to the judge telling him that you showed up ready for trial and it was a great inconvenience to you (maybe you took off work, or arranged child care) and that to reset it would be a burden to you, then ask for dismissal. You'll likely get it.

If you do go to trial and get a guilty verdict, you can ask that the jury be the ones to assess punishment. Once the jury assigned a fine to me of 1 dollar. (But court costs were 128 so it was still not good).

In Texas there are certain conditions that if you were found guilty in a lower court (not a court of record) that you can appeal the guilty verdict to a higher court and you will be given a completely new trial (de novo) and start over, with the officer needing to show up all over again and do the trial all over again. (but you will need to pay an appeal bond of double the fine) - you'll get it back if found not guilty or the case is dismissed.

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