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Should I Prepay My Ticket?

Before you prepay any traffic tickets in Virginia make sure you understand the consequences of prepaying your fines online.

When you prepay a traffic ticket you are pleading guilty. This means you will be found guilty.

Prepaying even a small traffic ticket may increase your insurance premium for the next 3 to 5 years. A $400 a year increase in insurance premiums could cost you $1200.

Prepaying a ticket may also result in the Virginia DMV taking away your driver’s license or placing you on probation.

If you are already on court-ordered probation or DMV probation, a minor traffic ticket could violate the terms of your probation.

If you have security clearance, have CDL, or drive for your employment, prepaying a ticket could cause you problems.

If your ticket involved an accident or injury, prepaying that ticket could expose you to a lawsuit from the other drivers or the insurance companies.

Prepaying a ticket is more likely to affect a driver’s insurance if they have not had any tickets in the last five years. Good drivers are more likely to experience an insurance increase because they have further to fall than the average driver.

Drivers who are accused of driving faster than 20 mph over the speed limit are particularly in danger of a severe insurance increase. Some insurance companies consider this just as dangerous as reckless driving.

If your insurance provider is a preferred provider or if you receive a good driver discount, prepaying a traffic ticket may increase your insurance premiums.

Drivers who have not been with their insurance company long and drivers who are under 25 may also be in acute danger of an insurance hike.

Prepaying your traffic ticket is more likely to trigger a DMV license suspension if you are under the age of 18. Virginia is extremely strict on minors when it comes to traffic tickets.

If you are on DMV probation or if you were ordered by the DMV to take a driving improvement class or if you received any warning letters from the DMV, then you should consult an attorney before you prepay any traffic tickets.

If you were on DMV probation within the last 18 months then you are on a DMV Control Period. This means that getting a ticket may get you placed back on probation for another 6 months.

If this ticket is not your first within the last 12 months or your second in 24 months you may end up being placed on DMV suspension or worse. Consult a traffic attorney before you prepay.

If you have multiple pending traffic tickets or even a pending criminal charge, consult an attorney before you prepay. Whether you decide to plead guilty and when you plead guilty can have major effects on your other cases.

You should consult an attorney before prepaying any traffic ticket if you are on active probation, inactive probation, parole, or out on bond. If you are not sure whether this applies to you and you have been arrested or convicted of any crime in the last year you should contact an attorney immediately.

If you drive for a living, have a CDL, or need a security clearance. Make sure that conviction will not hurt your employment before you prepay any ticket.

If your ticket involved an accident or injuries, prepaying that ticket could expose you to a lawsuit from the other drivers or the insurance companies. Talk to an attorney before you prepay that ticket.

OK, now that you have made sure that you actually want to prepay your ticket go online to the Virginia Supreme Court’s website.

From the left-hand menu select “case status and information”, then click “General District Court”, then click, “Case Information” and finally select “pay traffic tickets and other offenses”.

Now enter the captcha in the text field and click enter.

Select your jurisdiction from the drop-down menu

Enter your name in the text field exactly as it is spelled on your summons. Make sure the last name is first followed by a comma, a space, and then your first name. Click “search ” when you are ready to continue.

Find your case among the search results and click on the blue case number on the far left.

This page is your online court file. It will have the most important information about your case including the fine and court costs. To pay your fines and court costs click the “mark for payment” button.

You will then be brought to the shopping cart page. If you have multiple outstanding tickets you must click the “return” button and repeat this process for each case. Once you have selected “mark for payment” on all of your outstanding cases click the “continue payment process” button and you will be asked to provide your credit card information.

Remember, you only have 15 days after your court date to pay all fines and court costs unless you are given an extension by the court. Failure to make full payment within 15 days will result in you losing your right to drive. If you have waited more than 15 days to pay your fines. Contact the DMV to see about getting your driving privileges restored.

If you are having trouble prepaying your ticket here are a few things to double-check.

First, if you can find your case online but are not allowed to prepay it then you have probably been charged with a crime, not a traffic ticket. If this is the case, consult an attorney immediately.

If you are having a hard time finding your case at all, double-check that you entered the correct jurisdiction and typed your name exactly as it appears on the summons.

If you still cannot find your name make sure you are summoned to the general district court and not the Juvenile and Domestic Court of Circuit Court.

If your summons is only a few days old, the case may not have been entered into the computer system yet. Wait a few days and try again or contact the court’s clerk by phone.

For a detailed tutorial on how to pay your fines and court costs online check out this youtube video by Nichols & Green PLLC.