Logistics of Paying/Settling a Ticket

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  • Traffic citation lookup

    (3 replies)

    My "young adult kid" got a moving violation several months ago and the citation is still not showing up when they try to look it up online using the Alameda County website. Can anyone in the community report on how long it took before their ticket showed up on the website? Does it really take several months? Do they eventually send a letter by USPS?

    Several years ago I got a ticket and kept checking the system for over a year, but it never appeared and I never got anything in the mail. I guess the cop just never turned in the ticket and so it was never processed. Perhaps your kid will be equally lucky.

    Hi there!  I work for the Superior Court and that sounds really unusual.  Most citations are available online within 48 hours, although that can vary depending on which specific local law enforcement agency issued the ticket.  But in any event, it shouldn't take several months. 

    I would suggest you reach out to one of our Traffic offices (whichever one is closest to the agency that issued the ticket).  Here's the contact information (I would start by emailing, as phone wait times can be long).

      Clerk's Office - Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse  Clerk's Office - Fremont Hall of Justice  Clerk's Office - East County Hall of Justice510-627-4700510-818-7500925-227-6700asktraffic [at] alameda.courts.ca.gov

    I got a rolling stop violation in Berkeley 10 or so years ago, and the cop never turned it into the system. Essentially it was a warning although he didn't say that at the time.

Archived Q&A and Reviews



My ticket is still not in the system after 4 weeks

Jan 2016

I received a traffic ticket in early December for talking on my cell phone while driving. I assumed I would take care of it online by paying my fine and registering for traffic school. I am not contesting the ticket. My problem is that after four weeks, the citation still is not in the system, so I cannot take care of it in any way. On the website I filled out the ''ask traffic'' request for assistance, but I have not gotten a response. I have called the courthouse, but my ticket also is not listed through their telephone service.

Has anyone else had this issue? Did your ticket finally get in the system after more than a month? My worry is at some point in the future I will be hit with a huge fine despite my attempts to pay the ticket. Thank you.
Not talking while driving

I had that problem (for the exact same violation) in San Mateo County. It took them about 6 weeks to either mail it to me or get it into the system, I can't remember now which it was. Eventually they did, and I paid, and there was no problem.

Oh, and in that county at least, it was not a moving violation, so no need for traffic school. Guilty as Charged

If you have nextdoor.com in your neighborhood you may get some answers because many members have knowledge of the local agencies and what to do. If you have the ticket the issuing police officer would have a record of it, because their name has to be on the ticket. If you have the original ticket with the number on it, try to locate the officer. Perhaps go through the process again and make a screen shot of every agency that doesn't show the ticket and what the error message is. If you talked to a live person get their name. If you protest it, you might get an answer from one of the agencies. It is legal to protest so you can't get in trouble for that. Let me know the outcome! Suzanne

Yes! I am in the same boat. I got a ticket for running a stop sign last March. I just wanted to pay it, go to traffic school, and move on, but the ticket is still not in the system.

Like you, I also submitted a message to Ask Traffic and then called to talk to a live person, and both times they told me I couldn't do anything until the officer turned in my ticket to the court. When I called, they also advised that the officer has one year from the date of the ticket to turn it in; if he doesn't make that deadline, the statute of limitations has run and I don't have to worry about it. I've been checking online for the ticket every couple of days, and at this point I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I get to the one-year mark with no ticket. I do plan to call again after one year has passed, just to confirm.

Good luck!
Also in Ticket Limbo

Need a police officer to sign off on ticket

Oct 2006

we got a parking ticket that is correctable, so if we get an officer to sign it the fee is less. Where is a good place to find an officer, other than going downtown to the station? I have a hard time getting out. thanks! signing off

My husband got a ''fix-it'' ticket a few months ago for a broken taillight. He replaced the light and then flagged down an officer to sign it off. He did try to go into the police station, but they told him to go get an officer on the street. It was no big deal. The only issue is finding someone at the right time and place! Good luck Laurel

I drove to the Berkeley Police station and parked directly in front, in the white zone and ran in and told them at the window what I was there for. They took the ticket from me and returned a moment later w/ the ticket signed. No officier even came out to the car to see if I had truely fixed the car! Very quick and easy and worth a try. There is always an officier or two at the station, so that would be your bet bet I think Ticketed too

You could run a red light! Only kidding! I got a fix-it ticket and also found it very hard to find an officer to sign off on it. I live close to the station downtown too. I drove by as often as I could and finally at 10pm I saw an officer outside in their parking lot and asked him to sign my ticket. It certainly would be good to know if there is another way to do this! fixed it!

BART cops and parking enforcement people (meter readers) can also sign off on tickets. I've always just gone to the police station, though. Katy

Can't find out amount to pay for Berkeley traffic ticket

Oct 2004

On September 9th I received a traffic ticket in Berkeley. There was no amount on the ticket & the officer said to wait a month before calling to get the amount because it could take that long for it to be entered into the computer. So I called after a month & it wasn't recorded. I called a week later & again a week after that, still not in the computer. I started to get worried because there is a 11/2 deadline on the ticket, after which some dire things happen if I haven't paid. Finally I reached a human being in the Berkeley Traffic Division who told me it could take a year (yes, a year!) for the citation to be entered. She recommended that I call once a month to check on it and she said not to worry about the 11/2 deadline. Can this really be the way it works? It seems outrageous to me. And I can't help worrying about the deadline. What if I call on 11/15 and am not in the computer, but it goes in on 11/16 & since I'm only calling once a month I don't find out until 12/15. Am I delinquent? Or do they have to give me a certain amount of time after it goes into the computer to pay? I'm willing to pay the stupid ticket, not happy but willing, so it seems absurd for it to be so difficult. Any suggestions?
Frustrated (but basically law-abiding) driver.

I went through the same thing last year. And yes, the written instructions on the ticket do not make sense and are in contrast to what the people on the phone say. But what the traffic staff say on the phone is correct--the officer has up to a year to file the paperwork and until then, you don't have to do anything because you are not in the system. But not to fear--the officer WILL eventually file that paperwork. Call once a month and you'll be okay. Mine took about 2.5 months to get filed. And my ticket was a horrifying $370! Driving cautiously in Berkeley now

You are right on track for months of angst and confusion! My ticket (for an illegal left turn 2 minutes within the prohibited time -- wealthy neighborhoods in Berkeley do not like those pesky 'car' thingies) was ''processed'' 6 months after the event. In the meantime I missed numerous work meetings to line up for 1.5 hours, on 3 occassions, to get pieces of paper stamped that ''I was indeed in line for many hours trying to pay this ticket''. By the end of it you want to start a class action suit for harassment! Avoid Driving in Berkeley

Yeah, it really is this bad. It took my husband close to 6 months to get one resolved recently, and there have been a series of articles in the East Bay Express during the last year about how crappy the Berkeley ticketing process is. Needless to say, I have become absolutely religious about coming to a complete stop at every stopsign on Cedar (sigh). Sara

This is not the way that traffic tickets work. I ended up in the same situation once. Despite repeated calls, they didn't have my docket number on file. I didn't have the amount to pay. So I didn't pay it. 6 months later, I was nailed a $200 civil assessment fee for failure to appear in court (this is what automatically happens when you don't pay) so I had to take unpaid time out of my day to go to court (Traffic Court refused to let me just get an amount so I had no choice but to go to court). I used as my defense 1) 6 months later I still didn't know what the amount was to pay and even by the time I got to court I still didn't know and 2) If they look up my history of parking and street cleaning tickets (I used to live in SF), they'd find that I paid every single one on time and so this one would have been no different. I ended up having the civil assessment fee waived and *finally* getting the amount to pay for the traffic ticket.

Definitely follow up to save yourself this grief. I can't believe that Berkeley would take this long. If you don't know, I would probably pay some approximate amount by the 11/2 deadline and make them figure out how to handle that and keep a copy of your check and tell them to pay you the difference once they enter it into their system. Or call them on 11/2 and ask who you talked to and record their name in case if you need to go to court. And on that traffic ticket is a date you have to appear if you dont' get the amount of the traffic ticket; I think it's unreasonable to expect people to go to court if they don't get the amount b/c it can take hours of waiting just to get into Traffic Court - that's hours of frustrating unpaid time. lenore

This is an entirely common situation with both traffic and parking tickets. There has still been no decision on a parking ticket I received in JANUARY of this year in Oakland, and protested due to a broken meter. My husband got a traffic ticket in another state, had the same sort of situation, was supposed to call about once a week, and after several weeks just forgot about it. A month or so ago he recieved a letter stating that there was a warrant out for his arrest, and in order to clear it he had to pay a large sum of money. Although we tried to negotiate (due to the long wait), there apparently was no option to the greatly increased fine. So it's probably a good idea to just keep calling. Extremely annoying. Karen

i had a similar problem with a ticket in SF 2 years ago. i kept calling and not getting any record. i just kept a log of my calls ''in case.'' finally, i talked to a person who told me the same thing-- ''we're really backed up,'' and ''don't worry.'' it finally did get recorded about 2 months later. i almost went to complain about the process, but decided it wasn't worth my effort. ticket payor

Here's what I learned after having a frustrating run in with the DMV: create a paper trail. Write them a letter describing the situation, your willingness to settle the matter as soon as possible, and asking what steps to take. Be very specific with your questions. Make yourself a photocopy of the letter. Mail it out with a return reciept (so you have proof that they received it). Continue to do this with every correspondance and keep it in a file. If you keep a copy of the letters and proof that they received them, that puts you in a pretty good position. heather

I got a ticket in September in El CErrito. The date for court appearance was Oct. 18th. I called the court to find out how much I owed to pay the ticket and got a recording saying that they were really backed up and if I didn't receive a notice in the mail within 6 weeeks AFTER my court date then I should call back. There was no info about who else to call or what else to do. It's frustrating cause we want to pay the darn ticket and get on with life and not have this thing hanging on that we have to remember to take care of....but I guess this is not a unique situation. Hang in there... anon

I'm in a similar situation with the City of Oakland on a parking ticket. I have the amount but appealed it and have been told to ''ignore the late notices'' while they review the appeal which will take an unknown amount of time. It's very disconcerting, but you may another option at this point.

My experience in Berkeley traffic court is that they generally have their act together (though it doesn't always appear to be so on the surface), so maybe there's something unusual going on with their system. Did they get a new system? I'd go down to the office on MLK and ask at the window what the problem is and see if you can get something in writing. Lori