At TicketKick®, we specialize in contesting traffic tickets, and drivers who win do not have to go to traffic school. Awesome! You may still have some questions about how this affects you. Here are some answers to common questions about traffic school.
What is traffic school?
Traffic school is a government regulated education program designed how to teach people how to become safer drivers. Nowadays you can take traffic school in a classroom setting at various locations, or take a home-study or online course. Most traffic schools are an 8 hour program. If you get a traffic ticket, the court may make a deal with you: they’ll keep the point off your record if you complete a traffic school course, which keeps your insurance rates from going up. When you take traffic school to keep a point off of your driving record, the violation appears as “confidential” on your record, meaning insurance companies can see something there, but they don’t count it as a point. Most insurance companies base their rates off of the point system.
How do I know if I’m eligible for traffic school?
Contrary to popular belief, traffic school is not a right. It is a privilege that the judge may grant if you meet specific criteria. California law sets specific guidelines for drivers being eligible for traffic school. Typically you are eligible if you have not attended traffic school in the last 18 months, you have a basic traffic infraction, and you are not a commercial driver. Ultimately, traffic school eligibility may be up to the judge, and you would have to have a judge approve it and give you a due date to complete it by.
Can I still attend traffic school if I fight my ticket and I am found guilty?
Yes, as long as the judge approves it. The judge cannot deny you the option to attend traffic school just for fighting your ticket, in other words, they can’t penalize you for fighting it by denying traffic school. The judge may deny traffic school at their discretion for other reasons. If you fight your ticket through a trial by written declaration and are found guilty, you can send the court a letter making a request to be able to attend traffic school, and the traffic school fee. Most judges approve traffic school as long as you meet the basic eligibility requirements. We can include a request for traffic school if you are found guilty at the end of your trial by written declaration statement, at your discretion. The judge may or may not include traffic school information in your notice of decision (verdict). If they don’t, then send a separate letter making that request. We can provide you with a letter template you can use for free, so just ask us for it. If the court finds you guilty and the notice of decision says that you are not eligible for traffic school, you can either go into court for a trial de novo (re-trial) and make a special request for traffic school in person, and request that the judge give you a solid reason why they’ve denied you traffic school, or you can send a separate letter making this request. We can send you a letter template for this request, too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a letter template for a traffic school request.
Can I take traffic school for previous tickets?
Typically, you have a specific time frame after being found guilty of a case to request and attend traffic school. Only the judge has the ability to grant or deny you traffic school, so if you have a previous ticket on your record, you could make an appointment to see a judge to see if they’ll allow you to clear that point by attending traffic school. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Keep in mind that traffic infractions only stay on your driving record for 3 years, so depending on how long ago you were convicted of the violation, you may want to just wait it out, since you can only attend traffic school once in an 18 month period.
How much does traffic school cost?
If you choose to attend traffic school, you’re looking at paying the fine of the ticket, paying the court’s traffic school fee (usually around $60-$70), and then paying the actual traffic school. We say: don’t just pay your ticket and go to traffic school! Try to fight it first. If we help you get your case dismissed, you save money in ticket fines and traffic school fees. If you fight it and are still found guilty, then resort to traffic school.