How to Make an Appointment to See a Judge for a Traffic Citation


A traffic citation specifies a time frame during which you must appear in court or pay the specified fine. Some citations, particularly those of a serious nature such as driving under the influence, may require an appearance before a judge. In most jurisdictions, it takes only a phone call to make an appointment to see a judge in traffic court and plead your case.

  • Contact the clerk of the traffic court that has jurisdiction over your citation. If you look on the back of your traffic citation, you will see the name of the court and the telephone number to call.

  • Tell the traffic court clerk the date your citation was issued. State your intention to plead not guilty before the presiding judge. The court clerk will then provide you a court date within the time frame specified on the citation.

  • Attend traffic court at the time specified by the court clerk. You can appear before the judge alone or have an attorney represent you. After you enter your plea, you may choose to appear for a trial or ask the judge to dismiss your citation. In some cases you will have the option of a jury trial.

  • The hearing officer or prosecuting attorney may be willing to negotiate and reduce the offense to a lesser charge. For example, a speeding ticket might be reduced to a citation for driving without a seat belt. To negotiate successfully, you will probably need to demonstrate that you are not a habitual offender and offer a good reason to reduce the charge.


  • Photo Credit report drunk drivers sign (closeup) image by Paul Marcus from
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