Why does my traffic ticket seem to suggest I owe an insane amount of money ($1,000-$2,500)?

Fear not!  This value does not represent the amount that you owe on the ticket.  Rather, this value represents the sum of money you will owe in the event that you fail to comply with the requirements of the ticket.

How does this work?  When giving a ticket, the officer can allow you to leave only after ensuring that the court has some leverage to make you comply with your obligations under the ticket (going to court, etc.).  This leverage is referred to as bond.  Sometimes bond takes the form of a cash deposit or surrender of one’s drivers license.  In these cases, fear of losing the cash deposited or driving privileges respectively is used to ensure compliance with the ticket’s terms.  The most common and least intrusive option is called an individual bond.  The driver signs the ticket creating a contract that they will comply with its terms.  If the driver fails to meet the requirements of the ticket, the court may impose a financial penalty up to the amount indicated.  In legalese, this is known as a bond forfeiture, and on individual bonds, the amount usually ranges from $1,000-$2,500.  If however you do follow the requirements of the ticket, there is no basis for them to issue a bond forfeiture in that amount and you have nothing to worry about with regards to that number.

If you have found that you owe any amount over $1,000 to the court for a non-DUI related traffic violation, it is possible that you may have a bond forfeiture.  Rather than pay it, it is best to speak to a traffic attorney about the prospect of filing a motion to reduce or eliminate entirely the fine.

Have a question about what we’ve provided here?  Let us know below in our comments section!


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