What are Louisiana Traffic Tickets?
When motorists or other road users violate Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation laws in Louisiana, they are issued traffic tickets. These tickets are an official notice of violation. They contain details of the nature of the breach, the applicable penalties, the court in which the ticket may be paid or disputed, and available payment options.
Offenders who are issued traffic tickets may pay the ticket online, in person, or by mail to the specified court. Violators must respond within a stipulated period. Otherwise, the court may impose increased fines, suspend driving licenses, or revoke the defaulter’s driving privileges.
Records that are considered public may also be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
What Does a Traffic Citation Mean?
According to La. R. S.32:398.1, traffic enforcement agencies may issue citations in response to a traffic violation. Traffic citations are in the form of e-tickets or tickets and always contain an order to appear in court. Simply put, traffic citations are court summons. In most cases, “tickets” and “citations” are used interchangeably. In Louisiana, tickets can be resolved without a court appearance, while citations cannot.
In Louisiana, traffic citations are mostly issued following a criminal violation. Examples of such offenses are speeding in a school zone, driving with a suspended license, and any traffic offense that involves an accident.
Both tickets and citations are managed by law enforcement agencies, traffic divisions of city courts, municipal courts, and where available, Traffic Violations Bureaus. Persons to whom citations have been issued may dispute the violation charge in court.
How Do I Pay a Traffic Ticket in Louisiana?
The payment options in Louisiana’s parishes or traffic courts vary; however, tickets contain information about the jurisdictional court and the payment options available. Interested persons may contact the local court directly to find out what payment options are available. Typically, traffic tickets can be paid in person at the courthouse, online, by mail, and in some cases, by phone. Offenders must pay the full amount listed on the traffic ticket within 15 days from the violation date. The court may permit persons who cannot afford to pay in full to pay in installments. These persons must be able to provide proof of financial status.
Road users must note that paying a ticket will not result in a dismissal, as payment is considered an admission of guilt. Pleading guilty to a traffic violation can lead to a suspension of the driver’s license, points assessed against the driver’s record, and an increase in auto insurance premiums. Alleged offenders who can prove that the ticket or citation was issued in error may opt to dispute it. Disputing a ticket will require a court hearing and may also require the services of a traffic lawyer.
Can You Pay Louisiana Traffic Tickets Online?
Yes, it is possible to pay Louisiana traffic tickets online. Most city courts have online payment services that enable citizens to pay fines and fees without visiting the courthouse. Some traffic violations require a court appearance; tickets issued for these violations cannot be paid online. Typically, criminal moving violations are in this category. Other offenses that cannot be paid online include:
- Failing to report an accident
- Making false reports
- Using false certificates
Violations that cannot be paid online may differ from one parish or city court to another. Interested persons must contact the jurisdictional court directly to determine eligibility.
How Do I Pay a Ticket Online in Louisiana?
To pay traffic tickets online, ticket holders may use the court’s payment portal, where it is available. For example, Baton Rouge City Court uses an Online Traffic Citation Payment System. Similarly, Shreveport uses a Payment Processing System. The name and address of the jurisdictional court for each traffic ticket is listed on the ticket. Ticket holders may require:
- Ticket/Citation number
- The offender’s name as it appears on the ticket
- A ticket payment plan
Ticket holders may pay tickets online with debit or credit cards.
What is the Louisiana Traffic Ticketing System?
In Louisiana, traffic violations can be classified into moving and non-moving violations. Moving traffic violations occur when a vehicle is in motion. Speeding, DUI, and failure to stop at a stop sign are examples of moving traffic violations in Louisiana. Non-moving traffic violations occur when a vehicle is at rest or when it has faulty equipment. Parking violations are non-moving traffic violations.
Unlike many states, Louisiana does not operate under a point system. In determining the severity of traffic violations, some traffic violations are reported to the Office of Motor Vehicles, while others are not. Reported violations affect the offender’s record, as records may be available to insurance companies and other agencies. These agencies evaluate citizens by driving records and the offenses on the record, leading to increased auto insurance premiums. Traffic violations may also result in the suspension of an offender’s driver’s license or revocation of driving privileges.
How Do I Know if I Have a Traffic Ticket in Louisiana?
Official Louisiana Driving Records (ODR) contain the record owner’s traffic offense history, accident records, and license information. Individuals who want to find personal traffic ticket history may request official driving records. Such persons may purchase the driving records from the Office of Motor Vehicles online or by mail. To acquire driving records online, interested persons may use the ODR website. Requestors may be required to provide the following information exactly as it appears on the record owner’s license:
- Record owner’s name
- Date of birth
- Driver’s license number
- License class
- Residential address
A service fee of $18 will be charged and can be paid by debit or credit card. Requestors may also submit written requests by mail to the Office of Motor Vehicles. Requests should be mailed to:
Office of Motor Vehicles
P. O. Box 64886
Baton Rouge, LA 70896
The Office of Motor Vehicles charges $16 for this service. Requestors can pay with certified checks or money orders.
Like most states, the Federal Driver Privacy and Protection Act guides the dissemination of driving records in Louisiana. Persons requesting third-party driving records must have a permissible use and require written authorization from the record owner to access personal information.
How Can I Find a Lost Traffic Ticket in Louisiana?
Persons interested in finding lost tickets and retrieving information from lost tickets must directly contact the jurisdictional court. Interested persons may also contact parish Sheriff’s offices to request lost traffic ticket information. Where available, requestors may also search for traffic ticket information through online case searches such as Shreveport City Court’s Criminal and Traffic Case Search.
How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Stay on Your Record in Louisiana?
Depending on the violation, traffic tickets can stay on offenders’ records for three to ten years. Tickets issued for minor or less severe violations remain on the offender’s driving record for three to five years, while serious traffic offenses like DUIs stay on the driving record for up to ten years.
However, eligible persons may have traffic tickets dismissed from personal records by participating in the government-instituted programs for such purposes. Eligibility for the driving program includes:
- Complete a notarized affidavit
- Be first-time offenders
- Have not dismissed any other traffic ticket in the two years before the date of the current violation
- Have a valid driver’s license
Interested persons must contact local courts directly for updated requirements and eligibility information.
Is a Summons Worse Than a Ticket in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, a summons or citation is an order to appear in court. While traffic tickets may be paid or resolved online, summons cannot. Persons who have been issued a traffic summons must visit the courthouse to make payments, dispute the traffic violation charge, or attend a hearing. Traffic summons are typically reserved for severe traffic offenses, especially those of a criminal nature.