Traffic tickets are annoying to you as a driver but they could cost you a lot down the line if not addressed properly. You cannot afford to ignore them however trivial that might seem. Whether it is something as simple as a cell phone ticket or a more serious violation like over speeding, you need to get a gameplan in order as soon as possible.
In the event that you find yourself on this not-so-pretty side of the law, one thing you need to understand is what courtesy notices are. This is because no matter what your offense is you will probably be receiving one of these after getting cited. Below is all you need to know about these notices in terms of what they are, how you get them and what to do afterwards.
What is a courtesy notice?
A courtesy notice is a computer generated document sent to recipients of a traffic violation. Generally speaking, they are sent out for other minor violations and misdemeanors. However in this case they will be discussed in the context of traffic violations.
1. Court appearance details
Here the notice will let you know whether a court appearance is mandatory or not. If it is, you also get details on date, time and location of your court session.
2. Information on fines and bail
In this case, the notice contains information on how much is owed as well as procedures to be followed in the payout process.
3. Whether Trial by Declaration is a viable option
Trial by declaration is an option that allows you to challenge traffic citations without having to go to court. Courtesy Notices will let you know whether or not you qualify for this option. And if you do qualify for trial by declaration, there should be information on how to start filing and what you need to do.
4. Consequences of failure to comply
A Courtesy Notice also serves as a warning letter to those who plan on ignoring citations and court dates. In this case, the notice lets you know how much you risk should you decide to not comply with the court’s requirements.
5. Additional options including traffic school
If traffic school is a correctional option for your type of traffic violation, details will also be included on the notice.
One very important thing to understand is that even if you do not receive your Courtesy Notice within the 30 days you are still expected to pay any fines.
Courtesy notices are sent as a way to inform the recipient about what is expected of them as a consequence for the violation. It could be details on the fine or bail payable, court dates if any and other out-of-court settlement arrangements available. In a nutshell, they are basically a how-to guide to help you get past this legal glitch in your record.
Information included in a courtesy notice
So what exactly is contained in a Courtesy Notice? Below are the most common bits of information included. All of it is meant to help you take the right steps towards facing the consequences of the violation in a timely manner.
Courtesy notice vs. Traffic ticket
Contrary to popular belief, a courtesy notice is not the same thing as a traffic ticket. The two are undoubtedly connected as you only receive the notice after you get the ticket. However they couldn’t be more different.
Source– The courtesy notice is generated and sent by a computer, traffic tickets are issued by law enforcement officers. They may be hand written or generated by portable ticketing machines.
Location– There is also the fact that a traffic ticket is issued on site when you are pulled over and cited for the violation while courtesy notices are sent later on.
Content– Another major difference is in terms of content. Unlike Courtesy Notes, traffic tickets focus more on the offense details including what the violation was and details about the motorist allegedly in the wrong.
When will you receive your courtesy notice?
The next important thing is to understand when to look out for it. The notices are generally sent out within 30 days after the traffic ticket is issued. This gives the departments involved time to review your case and compile relevant content for your individualized notice. They use your physical address details surrendered during the roadside citation. So once you get your ticket give it 30 days and you will have all the information you need and what to do about it.
It goes without saying that Courtesy Notices are not to be ignored. They could be what saves you a lot of money and helps keep your legal record spotless. So in the unfortunate event that you end up cited for some traffic violation or other, keep an eye out for these notices for information on the way forward.