What To Do If You Lose Your Copy Of A Traffic Ticket

On occasion, traffic ticket recipients misplace or lose their copy of the ticket. Unfortunately, it’s very rare that the police will lose their copy of the same ticket.

In other words, ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

The only future notice you are likely to get regarding the lost ticket is that you have been found guilty, you have not appeared or paid your fine, and therefore a warrant has been issued for your arrest and/or your drivers license has been suspended.

Therefore, it is prudent to be pro-active and obtain another copy of the lost ticket and follow the instructions printed on the ticket.

The best place to start your search is with the police department that issued the ticket. That department should be able to give you a copy of the ticket as well as tell you what the ticket has on it in terms of instructions and the specifics of your violation.

If you don’t know what police agency issued the ticket you can try the courthouse in the county or city in which you received the ticket. Here you will deal with a clerk of court. The ticket may be filed at the courthouse, or they can direct you to the various police departments in that area that may have issued the ticket.

You may also drop by the District Attorneys office and explain your dilemma and ask them to note your name and drivers license number and contact information if the ticket should appear there for prosecution. This can be done by phone as well. Sending a letter, even by registered mail, is not as effective as talking to someone directly in the DA’s office.

In the unlikely event you cannot retrieve a copy of the ticket or the information on it and you receive a letter announcing your guilt and arrest status, your documented effort to locate a copy of the ticket may persuade the court to re-open your case and provide a means of relief.

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5 Responses to “What To Do If You Lose Your Copy Of A Traffic Ticket”

  1. Anon says:

    Heh, Im the top expert on this one as I guarantee I have received more tickets in the last 4 years then most of you and all your friends have in your lifes. Most of the time I keep the copy of the ticket and forget about it. A little while later I get a "friendly" reminder in the mail. I then take the reminder and go to court to fight it. I personally wait till the reminder because you never know what might happen in the system and if it'll get lost. I have actually had a ticket that I never heard anything at all from. Nothing at all, no suspension, no collection, etc and its been 3 years. The absolute worst I have ever gotten was maybe a small fee added to it. I live in a small town outside Pittsburgh, PA if this helps anyone.

  2. Jeff says:

    Anon – I wouldn't be so sure about things. You never know when that unpaid ticket gets uploaded to a state-wide database and you wind up in handcuffs the next time you stop.

    Also, if your 'guarantee' is true, I think you may want to start paying a little more attention to traffic laws. I'm far from perfect out there, but if you have blatently done wrong with a cop nearby, I can only imagine what you do when a cop isn't around.

  3. Anon says:

    Lol Ive probably been pulled over a good 30 times since then (no I didn't say 30 tickets). I also happen to know my license is definitely valid so I'm not worried.

    Eh, the worst I have ever done was speed. I've never had any at fault accidents and I've managed to make the accidents a LOT less severe that were not my fault (An example would be of me keeping my car on course after getting hit by some idiot that thought the one way road was a two way. He turned left from the right lane only to pretty much unintentionally do a near perfect "PIT" maneuver on me as I am driving by him in the left lane.)

    I drive 40K+ per year and am not an idiot however. I know what my car can and can not handle. I slow down tremendously in bad conditions and would not speed then. Pretty much all my speeding tickets were roads when no one but me and the cop hiding behind something was around in perfectly dry weather. I take my driving extremely seriously and refuse to answer the phone and ask anyone in the seat next to me to repeat themselves about 5+ times as I am focusing my full attention on the road. While I admit I am not the worlds most perfect driver (there is none) my going 85 on a major highway that I know each and every turn and bump on at 1:30 AM is not hurting anyone.

    If 99% of the driving population breaks a law more then once isn't there something wrong with the law?????? What other law you can say something like that about?

    Cops need to pull over a real danger instead of ticketing for what that damn radar gun says. Even THEY speed when they're off-duty. Why are they so special that they won't get a ticket just cause they have a badge? Pull over someone like the idiot this morning that cut me off and I really don't think she even knew it no matter how loud my horn could have gotten. I had to slam on my breaks to keep her from changing lanes INTO my car. Drive past her and look in, shes blabbing away on her cell phone. I expect either an I'm sorry gesture or because of some of the ignorant people in this area her trying to blame it on me and give ME the finger. Nope just goes away on that phone like nothing ever happened waving her arms around at the phone.

  4. Santa Claus says:

    I have received a civil infraction ticket from a Michigan (City police department) back in 2000. Since the ticket was issued I had requested on 4 different occasions (3 by phone and 1 By written mail) a hearing to fight the ticket. The police nor the court has sent me any court date, however I have received 2 letters from the city stating that my so called "Ticket" has gone to a "Collection Agency" and that it would effect my credit record. So far its not on my credit report and my Secretary of State record shows that my license is currently not suspended. My question is: Is there a Statue Of Limitations that a local police Department has to collect or take me to court before the ticket they gave me would no longer be valid?? Thanks for your help =)

  5. Had enough says:

    Working with any form of Government, local, city, state, federal- seems to be like working with handicapped monkeys who keep flinging their poo at me.

    How can our system be so crippled? This corruption ignites complete anger and frustration.

    I can only imagine if the tables were turned, if I were the one upholding executive and judicial judgment on these fools.