Minor Violations Without Court Appearance
Most people are introduced to the judicial system via a traffic summons. The majority of traffic summonses can be paid without making a court appearance. The fines for the most common violations are listed on the back of the summons. If you are issued a violation that is not listed on the back, you will need to contact the court to determine if there is a fine assessed by the state or if a mandatory court appearance will be required.
Minor Violations With Mandatory Court Appearance
There are minor violations that require a mandatory court appearance because the violation is not included on the Statewide Violations Schedule and the penalty may vary if it is a first, second, or subsequent offense. View the Statewide Violations Schedule (PDF).
Traffic violations that carry penalties of greater consequence (such as DUI, Driving without a license or while suspended, and uninsured vehicles, etc) are never payable without a court appearance.
The initial court appearance called an arraignment is basically an informative session. The judge will advise the accused person of the penalties for the violation and their rights under the law. After being fully informed, the defendant may enter a plea.
There are three different types of plea: Not Guilty, Guilty, or Guilty with an explanation. If a guilty plea or guilty plea with an explanation is entered the case will be disposed of immediately and penalties will be assessed. If the defendant pleads not guilty or wishes to consult an attorney, the matter will be rescheduled for trial at a later date.