Traffic tickets cost Americans between $3.75 and $7.5 billion each year. Add on the increased insurance costs that ticketed motorists are likely to face and that amount nearly doubles.
With so much money at stake, knowing when and how to handle Louisiana traffic tickets is a big deal.
Keep reading now to learn the top nine things you need to know to pay tickets online in Louisiana.
1. Don’t Lose Your Ticket
This may sound obvious, but losing tickets happens more often than you might think. It’s also a much bigger hassle than you’d likely expect.
The simple fact is that you can’t address your ticket if you don’t know who issued it. A Baton Rouge traffic ticket isn’t the same as a Louisiana State Trooper ticket. To find the information that you need to get your ticket dismissed or paid off, you’ll need the ticket itself.
While it is possible to get your ticket information if you do lose it, doing so can be frustrating and time-consuming. Save yourself the trouble and put your ticket somewhere safe and easy to retrieve as soon as you get it.
2. Don’t Put off Dealing With Your Citation
Traffic tickets are unpleasant, and it can be tempting to put off dealing with them. Doing so is one of the most common mistakes ticketed drivers make. It’s also a terrible idea!
The longer you wait to address your ticket, the more likely you are to:
- Miss your court date
- Miss your payment window
- Lose your opportunity to get legal help
- Lose your opportunity to contest the ticket
When you delay dealing with your ticket, you are also more likely to end up facing expensive fines and late fees. To avoid being saddled with those extra costs, address your ticket as soon as possible.
3. Check to See If Court Is Required
Many drivers prefer not to contest their traffic tickets, simply for the sake of convenience. They pay their tickets, take the points on their license, and move on. This is not always an option, though.
Some tickets cannot simply be paid and done with. In Louisana, you must almost always appear in traffic court if you:
- Caused or were involved in an accident
- Were driving with a suspended license
- Illegally passed a school bus or emergency vehicle
Check your ticket immediately when you get it to determine if attending court is optional or required for your situation. If so, check your assigned court date. If you cannot attend court at that time, act immediately to get a new date.
Failure to do so can lead to serious penalties.
4. Know Your Citation Number
Both local and Louisiana State Trooper tickets will be clearly marked with a citation number. The court handling your case will need and refer to this number for everything associated with your case. Make sure that you know this number and include it on any and all correspondence, payment, or other contacts relating to your ticket.
This will prevent misinformation and ensure that your actions and payments are recorded properly.
5. Know the Consequences
Traffic tickets can be complicated. Drivers pulled over for seemingly simple infractions like speeding can quickly find themselves facing a tangle of fines and other penalties.
Many drivers are unaware of the full costs of getting a ticket, including:
- Points on their licenses
- Increased insurance costs
- Possible suspension or revocation of one’s license
Even fewer drivers fully understand the legal consequences of paying a ticket rather than fighting it. In many cases, paying a ticket just to “make it go away” is considered a legal acknowledgment of guilt or fault. This can have additional and unexpected consequences.
Before you pay a ticket online in Louisiana, make sure you understand the full ramifications of doing so.
6. Consult an Attorney
Many drivers assume that they do not need an attorney for something as “small” as a traffic ticket. Not getting one, however, is often a mistake. Drivers without attorneys are less likely to understand the full scope of costs and consequences they face.
They are also less likely to use highly effective strategies to get their tickets reduced or dismissed. Getting an attorney can save you time and money, reduce your stress, and help you keep your license.
Attorneys can also represent you in traffic court. This is important because being unprepared or overwhelmed when facing the court yourself can leave you in more of a mess than you started with. Experienced attorneys can make sure you leave the court with the best possible outcome.
7. Have a Valid Credit Card
It is possible to pay for traffic tickets in Louisana without a credit card. Local parishes typically accept cash and money orders. Paying with these options is significantly less convenient and more time consuming, however.
Having a valid credit card allows you to use parish or Louisiana State Police ticket payment systems online.
8. Pay Tickets Online in Louisiana
When paying a local parish or Louisiana State Police ticket, the easiest option is always to pay online. Unfortunately, there is no single state-wide portal for these payments. Each parish will have its own system, as will the State Troopers.
The information you need to locate and use the correct system should be clearly stated on your ticket. If it is not, or if you need additional assistance, you will need to contact the issuing authority as directed by the ticket.
9. Pay on Time
Once your assigned court date has passed, you lose the ability to pay your ticket online. In most cases, you have until 48 hours before your assigned court appearance to process online payments. If you do not pay by that time, you must attend court or pay your fine in person.
Failure to pay before your court appointment or to appear at court to fight your ticket may result in additional fines or penalties.
Handle Your Tickets Responsibly
Getting a ticket can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to break the bank or cost you your license.
Before you pay tickets online in Louisiana, contact a qualified attorney and let them help you manage the situation in the best way possible.