Home Legal How to Handle a Traffic Citation in Philadelphia

How to Handle a Traffic Citation in Philadelphia


Philly’s Traffic is one of the worst in the country. Designated the fourth most traffic-congested city in 2013 by the transportation research firm INRIX, after New York, Chicago, and Boston. Tourists within the state will not have to drive very far before running into a congested roadway, heavy traffic, and rapid speed limit adjustments. Any of these may soon result in a traffic stop and a ticket for the uninitiated.

Unfortunately, traffic tickets that are acquired outside of the offender’s state do have an impact on their license and should be dealt with immediately. That is either by contesting it or paying the stub. One must attend to the matter immediately because it can result in legal problems via arrest and hefty fines.

What is a Traffic Citation?

Traffic citations refer to written records of something done incorrectly as a violation of the current traffic laws. They are also a traffic term used when the person goes to court or may appear at the top of the paper that the officer writes for reference. Traffic citations are issued for a number of reasons. It can be a minor traffic violation or a huge felony.

The smaller offenses include following too closely, improper turns or maneuvers on the road, driving without a license, running a red light, or distracted driving, among others. It can also include all things to aggravated assault by vehicle, fleeing law enforcement, and homicide by vehicle.

Details Included in a Traffic Citation

The citation will include details such as the citation number, description of the offense, time and date the violation occurred, license plate number, and where to appear in court for the violation. It will also provide the payment details for the citation and the deadline by which it should be cleared.

Payment Options for a Traffic Citation

Traffic citations have to be paid within the allocated deadline. In Philadelphia, if one does not request a hearing for the ticket or pay it within 15 days, a notice of violation is sent to the registered vehicle’s owner.

How to Pay Your Fine

The city provides various options to pay a traffic citation. It can be in person, via phone, or online. Persons paying online may do it at the Parking Violations Branch on 913 Filbert Street during business hours on weekdays or between 9 am and 1 pm on Saturdays. It can also be done by phone, so requesters can pay via VISA or Mastercard. That is using the allocated voice response system.

Alternatively, one can navigate to the city portal to pay their parking ticket online. Both VISA and Mastercard apply for this option as well. Both the phone and online options are available 24/7. Parties can also check public records for payment details or to view additional violations.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

Fortunately, tickets can be disputed on the Philadelphia Parking Authority platform or even by mail. When a requester disputes a ticket, the burden of proof is upon them to show why they should not have received the traffic citation. They may be asked to issue written evidence or relevant documentation, including images, to show why the ticket ought to be dismissed. Fighting a ticket will not incur any fees, though.

Contesting Your Citation

Those disputing via mail will send their written testimonies and evidence to the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication, 913 Filbert Street, Philadelphia. Applicants have to wait for the decision. If they disagree with the decision, they will have to wait 30 days to appeal or pay the fine. Interested parties may navigate to Philadelphia County court records for more information on the legal processes involved.

Consequences of Ignoring a Traffic Citation

When one first ignores a traffic citation, the effects are minor unless it involves a serious violation. The issue does not go away however, and the longer that the offender ignores the ticket by not paying it, the more serious the consequences. The first consequence of ignoring a traffic citation is increased fines, as they can double over time. Secondly, it will lead to increased points on one’s license for ignoring the citation.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Depending on the nature of the offense, even the citation itself will lead to a points increase. The Department of Transportation may also suspend the person’s driving privileges by revoking their license. Reinstating the license will require that one pay the outstanding fine and additional fees and issue a restoration fee to the Philadelphia Department of Transportation.

Incurring and ignoring a traffic citation also has dire consequences on one’s vehicle insurance status. It is a known fact that insurance companies reward good driving, and they prefer to insure drivers with better records. A good driving record translates to better insurance rates. Ignoring a traffic ticket, though, will affect the insurance rates. The ticket by itself will probably not significantly affect the premiums or make it harder to obtain insurance. That said, ignoring a ticket shows that the offender is probably an irresponsible driver, so insurance companies will respond by increasing the rate, as would be the case with a high-risk driver.

Navigating the Local Court System

The traffic division of the Municipal Court is tasked with handling tickets and hearings. If an offender is paying a citation issued to a vehicle that has been impounded or immobilized, they are required to appear in person at the Philadelphia Municipal Court, traffic division, to retrieve the vehicle. In the same vein, it would be advisable to get an attorney who has the experience and skills to deal with the situation.

Additional Resources

Aside from using a lawyer to defend a citation, accused individuals can use certain arguments to get off a trafficking claim. Officers do not have to be present at the initial stage of a dispute. However, if one pleads guilty to a traffic citation, the officer who first issued the ticket will be required to appear. If they are not present, it is possible to reject the ticket citation. Ticket citations may also be defended by asking for a written statement setting forth the factual and legal basis for the ruling.

Legal Assistance

Regardless of the time of violation, it is recommended that it be combatted with the assistance of an experienced attorney. They can provide nuances or potential loopholes that could save the accused money and time in court.

Traffic violations need to be treated with the utmost haste in Philadelphia. Outsiders having a hard time with the traffic situation should pay citations as quickly as possible to avoid having the problem follow them when they go back home. Ignoring a traffic citation comes with certain consequences, including fines, getting licenses revoked, and insurance woes. It only gets worse the more the delay.

Fortunately, Philadelphia has set clear options for payment of traffic citations, which can be over the phone, online, or in person. This should be done within 10 days of being issued the citation. The other option is fighting the citation through the given Philadelphia Parking Authority platform. Legal counsel on how to go about the traffic citation is also recommended because they can save time and resources that would be wasted ignoring a citation.