No matter how experienced a driver you may be, chances are that you’ll get some kind of a ticket at one point. And as bad as that sounds, it’s not the end of the world! However, to ensure the situation doesn’t escalate, you ought to learn how to check if you have a traffic ticket.
The biggest issue is not being aware of existing unpaid tickets — that’s the surest way of ending up on the wrong side of the law. Luckily, in this day and age, it’s fairly easy to get all the information you need, pay for the fine, and move on with your life.
First Things First — Clear Things Up With the Officer
In case an officer pulls you over and hands you a paper explaining the offense, you should ask about the nature of this paper right there and then to avoid any confusion. Ask them to clarify whether you’re receiving a ticket or just a warning.
Go to Your Local DMV
You can always check if there are any traffic violations on your license by visiting your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). All you need to bring with you is your driver’s license.
To make sure your documents are always within reach (losing them could mean more trouble), get a holder to keep them safe. Then, once you’re at the DMV, hand the license to the clerk and ask them to check for any traffic tickets. They’ll be able to provide you with the information quickly.
Call to Check
It’s not necessary to go all the way to your local DMV office in order to learn whether you have any traffic tickets. You can also call the office and give the clerk your driver’s license number over the phone. They’ll be able to proceed with the checkup as if you were there in person. Just make sure to make the call yourself. No one can do this for you due to the sensitivity of personal data.
Check for Any Traffic Tickets Online
In the digital age we live in, it’s possible to request your driver history abstract directly from your state’s Motor Vehicle Commission website or the DMV website. You can also check the status of your license online.
Depending on where you live, you might be required to pay a small fee for this service, so be sure to prepare your credit card. Aside from that, you’ll also need your driver’s license and/or your Social Security number. To complete the process, you might have to enter your billing name and address too.
Once you enter the necessary information and pay for any potential service fees, you’ll get a copy of your driver’s history. The abstract will include unpaid traffic tickets as well.
Follow These Steps:
- When you go to the Motor Vehicle Commission/DMV website, look for the tab or link that says “Driver’s License & ID.”
- From there on, click on “Driver Records” or “Driver License Check & ID Tracking System.”
- Follow the instructions. You’ll have to provide your driver’s license number, full name, and address, and D.O.B.
- To verify your identity, you might need to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number (SSN).
- If you have to pay for the service fee, enter your credit card information.
Decide How to Proceed If You Have a Traffic Ticket
In case you find unpaid traffic tickets on your license, you need to decide what to do about them. It’s safe to say that you have to react quickly!
Option #1: Pay the ticket fine
You can do this online or in person by visiting your local DMV. Once you accept and pay the fine, the offense points will be added to your driving record.
Option #2: Fight the ticket
If you believe that the ticket is a mistake, you can try to contest it. It’s possible to create an appeal on your own. There are even some apps that can help you with that. However, it’s always better to rely on a professional attorney for assistance on the matter. Check out the video below to learn more about it.
If you win the appeal, you won’t have to pay the fine, and the offense points won’t become a part of your driving record. Sometimes, just appealing is enough to at least reduce the ticket fine.
Option #3: Go through the Basic Driver Improvement course
Some states give the drivers the option to complete the Basic Driver Improvement course for a fee. Once you complete the course, you won’t get the offense points in your record. Keep in mind that not everyone is eligible for this option, even if it’s available.
If you believe that you deserve the traffic ticket, it’s best to pay the fine immediately. And in case you’re not sure whether you have any outstanding tickets, remember to check as soon as possible. After all, if you visit your local DMV office to inquire about your traffic tickets, but the warrant for your arrest has already been issued, you’ll be arrested on the spot!
It’s easy enough to ask the police officer whether they’re giving you a ticket or just a warning. But if you’re still unsure whether you have any unpaid tickets on your license, simply ask the clerk at the DMV to check. You can do this in person or via phone. Alternatively, you can check online too, but make sure you do it as fast as possible — you definitely don’t want the ticket to become a bigger issue than it already is!