What to Do if You Forgot to Pay a Ticket

Close-up of parking ticket on car windshield.
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Most people who drive regularly are at some point pulled over for a traffic violation. If you are pulled over and receive a ticket, you have a certain amount of time to pay it. If you forget about the ticket and do not pay it in a timely manner, you could face further consequences.


Review the Ticket

When you suddenly remember that you have a traffic ticket, find it and review it. On the ticket you should see some vital information. For example, most tickets will tell you when you have to appear in court or pay them. If you are still within that window of time, you can simply contact the local jurisdiction and pay the ticket. If you are past the time limit, things can be a bit more complicated.


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Contact the Jurisdiction

Once you realize that you are late on paying your ticket, you need to contact the jurisdiction that gave it to you immediately. Depending on the rules of the jurisdiction, you may have a warrant out for your arrest. In other cases, they may simply charge you a small late fee for not paying the ticket. Ask the person you talk to if you can simply pay the ticket. If so, pay the ticket and move on.


Appear in Court

In some cases, the local jurisdiction will require you to appear in court to deal with the ticket. If you have missed a court date already, you may have to pay some extra legal fees and set up another date to appear. If this is the case, make sure to appear on the proper date and at the right time. Be humble and admit your mistake when you appear in court or when talking to the jurisdiction about the offense.


Payment Plans

If you did not pay the ticket on time and you do not have the money to pay it, you may be able to set up a payment plan with the jurisdiction that gave it to you. This is not required of law enforcement agencies, but many of them make this available to make it more convenient for people to pay tickets. Set up the payment plan, and then stick to the payment schedule until the ticket is paid off.