Tickets are a fact of modern life, and we're not talking tickets to the circus or the theater. Both parking tickets and traffic tickets can be taken care of by throwing money at them, and that unhappy exchange is more easily accomplished online than in person. You can pay tickets online in most states and many cities, as long as you've got space on that credit card or money in your bank account.
Paying Parking Tickets
So many different types of tickets exist in urban areas that it's almost surprising not to get one on a regular basis. Overstaying your parking meter time buys you a hefty ticket, but not as hefty as parking in a bus or handicapped zone. Many cities are divided into zones in which only residents, with appropriate stickers on their cars, can park indefinitely. Parking may be limited to an hour or two for nonresidents, and a city agent with a book of expensive tickets is waiting to get you if you overstay your time. Then there is street cleaning to keep your eye out for. Signs are usually posted telling you when street cleaning is, and if you forget, you can kiss more money goodbye.
These tickets are issued by the city, and the money goes into city coffers. If you have the ticket, it will tell you where to go to pay online. If you don't, search for "pay parking tickets online" and the name of the city. When you are on the website, enter your license plate (and sometimes your VIN number) to get a list of your car's outstanding tickets. Select those you wish to pay, and pay them. Enter your credit card number, the expiration date and the three number security code from the back of the credit card, then click "pay."
Paying Traffic Tickets Online, Not In Line
If you get a ticket for speeding, an illegal U-turn or something similar on the highway, the citation tells you if you have the option to plead guilty and pay the fine. This takes less time than going to court. But realize beforehand that you are pleading guilty to the offense and giving up your right to have a hearing.
Your citation will likely tell you where to go to pay the fine online. If it doesn't, search "pay traffic ticket" and the name of your city or county. For example, in Nebraska you go to the Nebraska Judicial Branch Internet Payment System website, while in California you visit the website of the Superior Court in the county in which you got the ticket. In Florida, you can use the website MyFloridaCounty.com.
Find the tab to pay a traffic citation and enter your citation number. If you don't have the citation, search by your name and driver's license number. In most states, you can pay by visa or debit card. In many states, like Massachusetts, you can also pay with American Express. California is among the states that allow you to do an electronic fund transfer from your bank. In Florida, you can also do an electronic funds transfer but you must go to a website called MyFloridaRemit.com.
Fill in the information requested about your form of payment, then check the box indicating that you are pleading guilty. If you want to clean up your record and have the option, mark the box stating that you wish to go to traffic school. Then push the button to pay.
Watch your timing on paying traffic tickets online. In Massachusetts, don't try paying online until 10 business days have passed from the date the citation was issued; otherwise, it may not be in the database. In Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana, be sure to pay a full 48 hours before the ticket due date. If you pay after that, the court might still enter a judgement against you.
Most jurisdictions add a service fee for the convenience of paying online. In San Antonio, Texas, the fee is $4 per citation. In Santa Clara County, California, you'll get hit with an extra cost of $6.45 to pay by credit or debit card, or $1.95 for an electronic fund transfer. In Nebraska, every online transactions will incur an additional charge of $1.25 to $2.95.
Read More: How to Look Up My Traffic Tickets
Go to the website listed on the ticket, or the relevant city government website for parking tickets or state court website for traffic tickets. Locate the ticket by vehicle license plate and VIN numbers for parking tickets, or by your name and driver's license number for traffic tickets. Click the button to pay online, then enter your credit card or bank account information.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.