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Superior Court of California - County of San Diego: Traffic: Financial Hardships and Inability to Pay

Financial Hardship and Inability to Pay

If you have a financial hardship and can show that you are unable to pay the full amount for the offenses on your traffic ticket, you may request the court to consider your ability to pay in setting the fine amount, ask for an installment plan based on your ability to pay, or ask to consider community service. You can do this by:

  1. Appearing in court to make this request. (An appointment is required to appear in court.) Click here for court times and scheduling.
  2. Filing or mailing a written request to the Court. Click here for TR-320.

If you are unable to make a scheduled court ordered fine payment due to financial hardship, you may do any of the following:

  1. Request a 30-day extension to pay (maximum two extensions) by phone or mail. Click here for court contact information.
  2. Appear at the Traffic Business Office and:
    1. Request a 30-day extension to pay;
    2. Request a reduction of the fine;
    3. Request community service/volunteer work for up to half the total fine; and/or
    4. Request a payment plan, or reduction in payment amount (if above $35/month)
  3. Request a courtroom appearance to ask the court to consider your ability to pay. (An appointment is required to appear in court.) Click here for court appearance information.
  4. File or mail a written explanation of your financial hardship and inability to pay to the court. The court will mail you a response to that request. Any prior orders in your case requiring payment will remain in effect until the court rules on your request. Click here for TR-320.


Failure to respond on or before your due date may result in one or more of the following;

  1. A warrant for your arrest.
  2. Suspension of your driver license or inability to renew your registration.
  3. Referral to a collection agency and up to an additional $300 civil assessment pursuant to Penal Code 1214.1.
  4. You may be subject to wage garnishments, tax refund intercept, and bank levies through the Franchise Tax Board.


Bail is not required to appear in court.

For more information on financial hardship here.





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