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The Consequences of Ignoring a Traffic Ticket

Even the most careful drivers can get a traffic ticket. What matters most is how you respond to receiving the ticket. You either have to admit guilt and pay the fine or attempt to fight the citation in court.

However, ignoring a traffic ticket and not doing one of these two options can have some consequences. These consequences can range from minor to serious, depending on the type of infraction.

So, what happens if you don’t pay a traffic ticket or don’t fight it in court? This guide will lay out the possible issues you may face.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay a Traffic Ticket

When you first get a traffic ticket, the consequences are often minor unless it is a serious violation. However, the longer you ignore the traffic ticket by not paying or fighting in court, the more serious the consequences become.

These are the common consequences if you don’t pay or fight a traffic ticket. Fighting a traffic ticket often takes the help of a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer can also help you understand the potential consequences.

Increased Fines

Most traffic ticket infractions will have a fine or fee associated with them. People who receive these types of traffic tickets often simply pay them off to be done with it.

These tickets often have a deadline for when to pay the fine. However, if you opt not to pay the fine associated with a traffic ticket or miss the deadline, they can begin to increase.

Fines can double over time and increase the longer you don’t pay them off. This can often become a financial burden on people.

Tickets tend to have instructions and contact information to pay or ask for additional details. You should communicate complications with payment to prevent fine increases.

However, ignoring the initial fine can lead to more serious issues. These can have more serious consequences on your life.

Accumulate Points

You can receive points on your license for more serious traffic violations. The more severe the violation, the more points are initially added.

In Florida, you can receive points for actions like reckless driving, lane violations, passing a stopped school bus, or speeding. Ignoring the initial ticket and violation can also add points to your record over time.

In Florida, accumulating 12 points in a 12-month period can lead to your license being suspended for 30 days. 18 points in 18 months leads to a three-month suspension. 24 points in 36 months leads to a 12-month suspension.

Accumulating points can affect your driving record and even your insurance rates. If you drive for a rideshare service, you can even lose that status.

Impact Insurance Rates

It’s a well-documented fact that insurance companies reward good driving and prefer to insure drivers with better records. A good driving record means more affordable insurance.

However, ignoring traffic tickets can ruin that record and impact your insurance rates. A traffic ticket itself likely won’t increase your premiums too much or make it impossible to get insurance.

If you do ignore traffic tickets, then that often shows that you are an irresponsible driver, and insurance companies may respond accordingly. Ignoring a violation can increase your rates at first.

Unfortunately, if you continue to ignore your traffic violation, this may lead to points added or suspension of your license. Insurance companies, in turn, may drop your coverage, and it may be difficult to find a new insurance plan.

License Suspension

Yes, it is possible to have your license suspended for not paying a ticket. As stated, this can come from points being put and accumulated on your license after a period of time.

Some traffic violations have a consequence of your license being suspended even if you don’t ignore the traffic ticket. This tends to be for more serious infractions.

However, even if you have a more minor infraction, ignoring the traffic ticket and, in most cases, the fine associated with it, can eventually lead to license suspension.

The duration that you would have your license suspended depends on the severity of the infraction and the length of ignoring a ticket. Driving on a suspended license is also illegal and can have serious consequences in itself.


After some time of ignoring a traffic ticket, you can expect to receive a summons. This is an official notice that you are being required to appear in court. You’ll stand before a judge and explain why you have not paid the ticket.

However, not showing up to your court date can have serious consequences. If you fail to pay the ticket and fail to come to court, you may have a bench warrant or traffic warrant put out for you.

This can lead to your arrest. Ignoring a parking ticket and ignoring a court appearance are both illegal.

Jail Time

Finally, the most severe consequence of ignoring traffic tickets is having to spend time in jail. This comes after some time of ignoring tickets, fines, and court summons.

However, some severe traffic violations, such as driving under the influence, may carry jail time without having ignored a ticket prior. The severity of the infraction can lead to spending a few days, months, or even years in jail.

Being convicted and spending time in jail can have serious ramifications for other parts of your life. Depending on what you’ve been convicted of, you can have a serious criminal record that can affect employment and voting.

Consequences for the Future

Even the most minor traffic tickets can have major impacts on your future. So, what happens if you don’t pay a traffic ticket? It often depends on the seriousness of the ticket and how long you ignore it.

If you ignore it for a short period of time, you may only have financial consequences. However, the longer you wait, the more likely you may have your license suspended, lose it completely, or even face jail time.

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