What Is A Courtesy Notice?

this is not a ticket

Traffic tickets can be frustrating for drivers, but ignoring them can lead to significant consequences. Even if the notice seems trivial, it's crucial to address it properly. Whether it's a simple violation like using a cell phone while driving or a more serious offense like speeding, it's essential to have a plan of action as soon as possible.

Understanding what courtesy notices are is vital when dealing with the aftermath of a traffic violation. Regardless of the offense, you will likely receive a courtesy notice after being cited. Here's everything you need to know about these notices, including their purpose, how they are received, and what steps to take afterward.

What is a courtesy notice?

A courtesy notice is a computer-generated document sent to individuals who have received a traffic violation. While they are also used for minor violations and misdemeanors, this discussion will focus on their application to traffic violations.

Court appearance details:

The notice will inform you whether a court appearance is mandatory. If required, it will provide the date, time, and location of your court session.

Trial by Declaration eligibility:

The notice will indicate whether you qualify for the option of challenging the citation through Trial by Declaration, which allows you to contest the ticket without going to court. If eligible, the notice should provide instructions on initiating the process.

Consequences of non-compliance:

A courtesy notice serves as a warning to those who ignore citations and court dates. It outlines the potential penalties for failing to comply with the court's requirements.

Additional options, such as traffic school:

If traffic school is an option for correcting your specific traffic violation, the notice will provide details.

If you don't receive a courtesy notice within 30 days, you are still expected to address the alleged violation.

Courtesy notices aim to inform recipients about the expectations and consequences related to the violation. They provide details about fines, court dates, and potential out-of-court settlement options. In essence, they act as a guide to help you navigate this legal issue and minimize its impact on your record.

The information included in a courtesy notice:

A courtesy notice typically contains the following information to guide you in taking the appropriate steps to address the violation promptly:

Courtesy notice vs. traffic ticket:

It's important to note that a courtesy notice is distinct from a traffic ticket. While they are connected—courtesy notices are sent after receiving a ticket—they have notable differences.

Source: Courtesy notices are generated and sent by computers, while traffic tickets are issued by law enforcement officers, either handwritten or generated using portable ticketing machines.

Location: Traffic tickets are issued on-site when you are pulled over and cited for the violation, whereas courtesy notices are sent at a later time.

Content: Traffic tickets primarily focus on the offense details, including the nature of the violation and information about the driver allegedly at fault, whereas courtesy notices provide broader guidance.

When will you receive your courtesy notice?

Courtesy notices are typically sent out within 30 days of receiving a traffic ticket. This allows the involved departments to review your case and compile the necessary information for your personalized notice. The notice is sent to the address provided during the roadside citation. Therefore, after receiving your ticket, give it 30 days to receive all the relevant information and instructions.

In conclusion, it's crucial not to ignore courtesy notices. They can save you money and help maintain a clean legal record. If you find yourself cited for a traffic violation, be attentive to these notices as they provide essential information on how to proceed.

Information on fines and bail:

The notice includes information about the amount owed and the procedures for paying fines or posting bail.  Bail is a fee that you pay in order to leave jail before your court date; if you post bail yourself and follow all the stipulations required of you, then you will typically receive this money back at the end of the legal process.

If you do find yourself needing to post bail but lack the funds, you’ll work with a local company that provides bond services; this company will post the full bail for a nonrefundable fee, which is a percentage of the bail. You will then pay them back with interest over time on a schedule that makes sense for you. Different states allow for different percentages of bail; for example, bail bondsmen in Utah can charge up to 20%, while Idaho bail bondsmen can only charge 10% of the overall bail for their services.

Courtesy Notice: This is not a Ticket

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