How to Pay for Tickets With a Warrant

By Patrick Gleeson, Ph. D., - Updated May 31, 2017
Police officer writing a traffic ticket

You pay a ticket with a warrant the same way you pay for any other ticket. In most cases, the warrant resolves as soon as the ticket and the additional charges and accumulated fines related to the warrant are paid.

Things to Do Right Away

If you're absolutely sure there's a warrant for your arrest as a consequence of failing to pay a ticket, the first thing to do is to pay it. This sounds obvious, but sometimes drivers panic and think it's too late. Instead of paying the ticket that generated the warrant, some continue driving in the hope of not getting caught. Getting away with this strategy indefinitely is perhaps possible, but highly unlikely. Meanwhile, remember that unpaid fines increase over time.

Even if a warrant has not yet been issued, it's prudent to pay the ticket anyway, because an unpaid ticket will eventually result in a warrant. A warrant generates another charge and an accompanying additional cost. Also, note that when you pay the ticket along with the extra costs the warrant has generated, both the ticket and the warrant are resolved.

Researching Your Ticket

If you want to know exactly where you stand before doing anything else, you can research your ticket even if you don't remember the details of the violation or the exact date of issue.

Go to the website of the city or county where you got the ticket. Most sites have a warrants section with a search function in which you can search by name. If nothing comes up, chances are good a warrant has not yet been issued.

In a few jurisdictions – especially small towns and thinly populated counties – a website a warrant search capability may not exist. In those instances, the next best solution is to call the city or county clerk's office and inquire. The staff there will either help you or direct you to the relevant office.

Paying the Ticket

As a general rule, pay your traffic ticket through the court that issued it. A traffic ticket issued in Los Angeles, for instance, must be paid to the Los Angeles Superior Court, either in person at the Clerk's office or through the online methods provided by the court's website when you search "Paying a traffic ticket Los Angeles Superior Court." Most courts provide similar online information and assistance, including allowing you to pay online with a credit card.

Tip

Be aware that phone calls are traceable. If the warrant is for a relatively serious offense, such as a DUI, and the warrant has been outstanding for some length of time, it's possible the local police may trace the call and seek your immediate arrest. For this reason, avoid using your own phone. Instead, call from a public pay phone, get the information you need, and then leave the immediate area.

About the Author

I am a retired Registered Investment Advisor with 12 years experience as head of an investment management firm. I also have a Ph.D. in English and have written more than 4,000 articles for regional and national publications.

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