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Traffic Violation Types

Traffic meter downtown SLO

The Traffic department handles infractions only - misdemeanors are handled by our Criminal department.

Parking Citations

Parking citations are generally processed by each issuing city or law enforcement agency, and may not go through the court at all.

Follow the instructions on your citation. Contact the city or agency that issued the parking citation for information.

Infractions

An infraction is a violation of or failure to comply with certain provisions of the Vehicle Code, local ordinance or other law or statute.

Example infractions are:

  • Speeding,
  • Automobile equipment needing repair, and
  • Expired vehicle registrations

Punishment of an infraction is a fine only. The total fine for an infraction can be over $200. It may also include mandatory Community Work Service, such as trash pickup, in the case of littering.

Traffic meter downtown SLO

Traffic infractions are enforced by law enforcement who issue traffic tickets (“citations”). It is important to read the information on the front and back of the citation.

Misdemeanors

Examples of misdemeanors are:

  • reckless driving,
  • driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI),
  • and hit and run.

These violations are not handled by the Traffic court. They may be misdemeanors or felonies, and they are heard in the Criminal Courts.

Misdemeanor offenses are typically punishable by up to a year in prison, by a fine not exceeding $1,000 (plus assessment and fees), or both. (Specific California laws may raise these limits for some offenses.)

Mandatory Appearance?

Some violations require a mandatory appearance in court; others may be handled by mail or on the phone.

Mandatory appearance violations

These require your appearance in court on the date/time/location indicated on your Citation/Courtesy Bail Notice. You will be required to appear in court before paying your fine.

If you fail to appear in court by the due date indicated on your Courtesy Bail Notice and did not request an extension, you may be subject to:

  • An additional Failure to Appear charge which is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine, or jail, or both.
  • A civil assessment of $300.00 pursuant to PC1214.1.

Additionally, the Department of Motor Vehicles may revoke or suspend your driver's license, and/or withhold its issuance or renewal.

Non-Mandatory Appearance Violations

If the Courtesy Bail Notice does not indicate Mandatory Appearance, your options are to:

  1. Pay the traffic ticket prior to your required appearance date. The traffic ticket will remain on your driving record.
  2. Attend Traffic School (if eligible). Eligibility requirements.
  3. Appear in Court. If you are unable to appear at the date and time indicated on your citation or Courtesy Notice, contact the traffic office for a single 30 day extension.