Citations or traffic tickets are issued in the State of Iowa for various violations of traffic law. You must respond to a citation, usually by paying a fine or appearing in court, or else a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driving license may be suspended.
If you wish to dispute the citation, you must appear in court personally on the scheduled date, and enter a "not guilty" plea. Appearing in court gives you an opportunity to fight the traffic ticket in front of a judge or jury, and most people prefer to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to defend them in court. For more information on how to dispute a traffic ticket in Iowa, see our general section on Traffic Tickets and Violations.
PAYING A TRAFFIC TICKET - WHAT IT MEANS
When you pay a ticket, you are essentially pleading guilty to a traffic offense. Motorists should be aware that receiving and paying a traffic citation could result in higher car insurance rates and points on your driving record. Your license may be suspended if you accumulate too many points on your driving record.
HOW TO PAY THE FINE
If you decide to plead guilty to a traffic violation, there are several ways to pay the ticket. Generally, the back of the citation will clearly indicate the deadlines and options for answering the ticket. Usually, you must act within fifteen days of receiving a traffic ticket to avoid additional fines and possible suspension of your license.
- Pay online. Most Iowa traffic tickets can be answered and paid online using a credit or debit card (Visa or MasterCard). Visit the Iowa State EPayment site to pay online.
- Pay by mail. Read the instructions on the back of the ticket carefully, then check the "Guilty" box and sign the ticket. Enclose a check or money order for the amount indicated on the ticket and mail to the address listed on the ticket.
Be sure to retain a copy of the citation for your personal records.
- Pay in person. You can pay your traffic tickets at the court where your ticket is answerable. Bring the citation with you, along with cash, check, money order, or credit card.
PLEADING NOT GUILTY
If you decide to plead not guilty and dispute the ticket, read the instructions on the back of the ticket carefully. The instructions will generally indicate when and how to plead not guilty, and information about appearing in court to dispute your ticket. See our general section on Traffic Tickets and Violations
for more information about how to dispute a traffic ticket in Iowa State.
DISMISSAL OF CHARGES
Remember that you cannot be found guilty of committing a traffic offense unless there is clear, accurate and convincing evidence that you committed the violation. Charges may be dismissed in court if the citation includes vague or incorrect information. For instance, vehicle information, time, location and circumstances must all be indicated correctly on the ticket. Many motorists choose to consult with a traffic ticket attorney
to help them evaluate the validity of the ticket, and whether or not it is likely to be dismissed in court.
If you lost a traffic ticket after receiving it, you can obtain a copy by writing to:
Office of Driver Services
P.O. Box 9204
Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9204
Remember to provide your driving license number, date of the ticket and your mailing address. There is also a fee of 50 cents.