How To Find A Lost Traffic Citation Number

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Getting a traffic ticket is enough to ruin anyone's day. It means that fines will likely have to be paid and time may be lost if you decide to contest the ticket. The whole thing adds up to a massive headache. However, the problem only gets worse if you lose the ticket. That one piece of paper had everything you needed to know from the amount of the fine to the steps for responding or for fighting the citation.

Fortunately, it's relatively easy to track down a lost traffic citation number. Municipalities generally keep good records on these matters, so a bit of research should yield all of the information you need.

Where Did You Receive the Ticket?

Where you received the ticket is much more important than the specific police agency that issued the ticket. Very few police departments keep detailed ticket information to be dispensed to the public. Instead, they rely on the court system. The department's website may be able to point you toward which court's website you should visit or may provide a phone number for the appropriate department at the courthouse. Determine which county you were in when you received the ticket. Chances are good that you'll be able to obtain the citation number from the superior or district court for that county. Use an Internet search engine by typing in the county name and then the words "superior court" or "district court." Traffic infractions are handled by different courts depending upon the jurisdiction. Accordingly, you may have to do some searching.

Review the Court Website

The court's website probably has a link that is called something like "traffic," "citations" or "tickets." Click on this link to find out how to proceed. Some jurisdictions provide an online search option where you can enter information like your name, driver's license number or license plate number to look up a citation. In most cases, you will probably be provided with a phone number rather than an online search form. Call the number, making certain you are prepared with necessary information like your driver's license number. You may have to be on hold for quite some time before you receive assistance. Although it may feel like a waste of time, stay on the line. Strict deadlines for paying traffic fines or appearing in court have a way of creeping up on you. You'll want plenty of time to respond.

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