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What happens if you ignore a traffic ticket?

No one likes getting a traffic ticket. Some folks, especially those who can easily afford to pay, may just roll their eyes and pay the ticket even if they believe it was wrongly issued. Others may challenge their ticket and get it dismissed.

Of course, some people ignore their tickets or DUI charges altogether. They might think that nothing bad will happen or that they will take care of it later. Think twice before you ignore traffic tickets, though. The consequences can be severe.


In some extreme situations, law enforcement could arrest you on misdemeanor charges for ignoring traffic tickets. From there, a judge could order you to do community service or to serve time in jail. A criminal conviction might go on your record.

More points on your driving record and the risk of license suspension

A conviction for a traffic offense such as speeding or running a red light adds points to your driving record. Accumulate enough points in a certain period, and you could have your license suspended. When you ignore traffic tickets, that act itself can add more points to your record.

Loss of flexibility

If you are proactive about taking care of your ticket before a deadline, you can challenge it in court or opt for driver improvement school. Your flexibility goes down significantly if you ignore tickets and the deadline to do something about them passes.

More financial repercussions

If you finally decide to pay a traffic ticket that has been sitting around awhile, you could end up paying quite a bit more than the amount of the original ticket. Also, your insurance costs are likelier to go up the more points you have on your driving record. Plus, if your license does get suspended, you must pay fines and fees to get it reinstated.

So, ignoring just one traffic ticket could eventually cause you massive headaches and thousands of dollars. These tickets are not fun to take care of, but taking that step today is worth it down the road.


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