You can be arrested and your driver’s license can be suspended if you fail to pay a traffic ticket fine or if you fail to appear at your court date in Missouri or any other state.
Missouri Courts Can Issue An Arrest Warrant If You Fail to Pay a Speeding Ticket Fine
If you don’t go to court on your court date or if you fail to pay a traffic ticket fine by the due date, the court can file a charge of “Failure to Appear” (FTA) against you. If you miss two court dates, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest. To add insult to injury, you may also have to pay an additional FTA fee and a warrant fee, each of which can range from $10 to $100, depending on the court.
Most Courts Don’t Issue Arrest Warrants For Failure to Pay a Traffic Ticket Fine Until After Two Missed Court Dates
Instead of immediately filing an FTA charge, some courts will give you an extension (it’s called a “continuance”), postponing your court date to the next month’s court docket, and some courts will even send a letter reminding you that you missed your court date, but don’t count on this happening.
Here are examples of how some St. Louis area courts treat your failure to appear in court and failure to pay traffic ticket fines:
The St. Louis County Municipal Court (South Division) on Lemay Ferry Drive in St. Louis is one court that does not issue an arrest warrant until after a defendant has missed more than one court date. After you miss your first court date, the court automatically grants a continuance and puts your case on the docket for the following month. If you miss your second court date, an arrest warrant is issued.
Town and Country Municipal Court in Town and Country, Missouri and Creve Coeur Municipal Court in Creve Coeur, Missouri do not immediately issue arrest warrants. After you miss your first court date, both of these courts continue your case to the next month’s docket and send you a letter reminding you of the new court date.
In St. Louis City Municipal Court, some judges will issue an arrest warrant as soon as you miss your first court date; other judges will continue your case to the next month’s docket and add an additional $100.50 FTA fee for Failure to Appear.
Kirkwood Municipal Court in Kirkwood, MO will issue a Failure to Appear charge and charge a $5 FTA fee after you miss your first court date. If you fail to appear at your second court date, Kirkwood will issue an arrest warrant and charge you a $50 warrant fee.
Missouri Courts Can Suspend Your Driver’s License If You Fail to Appear in Court For a Traffic Ticket
After a court reports your Failure to Appear charge or arrest warrant to the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR), the DOR will suspend your driver’s license. This type of suspension is called a “FACT” suspension (Failure to Appear in Court for Traffic Violation suspension) or FTA Suspension.
A FACT suspension causes your driver’s license to be suspended until you pay the fine and go through the process of having your license reinstated. In order to get your license reinstated, you will have to pay the court for the speeding ticket fine, court costs, warrant fee, and FTA fee. You will also have to pay a $20 reinstatement fee to the DOR and provide the DOR with a compliance letter or release from the court, proving that you paid the fines and fees. After you have complied with the requirements and your license is reinstated, the FACT Suspension will be removed from your driving record.
Out-of-State FACT Suspensions Stay on Your Missouri Driving Record For 5 Years
Out-of-state FACT suspensions or FTA Suspensions will remain on your Missouri driving record for 5 years from the date that your license is reinstated. So, if you receive a traffic ticket in another state and you fail to appear at your court date or you fail to pay the fine for that ticket, then that state can issue a Failure to Appear charge against you and Missouri will suspend your license until you pay the fine and comply with the other requirements for reinstatement of your license.
The record of the out-of-state FACT suspension will remain on your Missouri driving record for 5 years from the reinstatement date. After those 5 years have passed, you can contact the Missouri Department of Revenue and request that the FACT suspension be removed from your driving record.
Instead of a FACT Suspension, a Court Can Issue a “Lieu of Bail” Hold On Your Driver’s License
Instead of a FACT suspension or FTA Suspension, a court can put a “Lieu of Bail” hold on your driver’s license if you fail to appear in court or pay a traffic ticket fine. A “Lieu of Bail” hold is not a suspension of your driver’s license but it does place a hold on your driving record, preventing you from applying for a new or duplicate driver’s license while the hold is in place.
In order for the Lieu of Bail hold to be removed, you must get a release order or compliance letter from the court, proving that you paid the fine, and submit that proof to the Missouri Department of Revenue.
If You Can’t Afford to Pay the Fine, Ask The Judge About a Payment Plan or Community Service
If you don’t have the money to hire an attorney to get the charges reduced, and if you can’t afford to pay the speeding ticket fine by the due date, then you must go to court on your court date and ask the judge to give you an extension of time (a “continuance”) until the next month’s docket. That will give you approximately one month to raise the money to pay the fine.
Or, you can go to court on the court date and ask the judge to allow you to perform community service to pay off your fine, or ask the judge to put you on a payment plan to pay off your fine over several months. There is no guarantee that the judge will agree to either of these options, but it may be worth a try. If the judge agrees to put you on a payment plan to pay off your fine, you must make each payment by the due date, or else the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.
An Attorney May Be Able To Get Your Speeding Ticket “Fixed” And Cancel Your Arrest Warrant
A traffic law attorney can negotiate a plea bargain with the court and, in most situations, can get your speeding ticket charge reduced to a lesser offense (sometimes referred to as getting a ticket “fixed”). In many cases, an attorney can also get your arrest warrant cancelled (sometimes this is called getting a warrant “lifted” or “recalled”). Some courts do not cancel warrants unless the defendant pays the bond, but many other courts will cancel a warrant if an attorney files a request with the court. If your warrant is very old, it may be impossible to lift the warrant until you pay the bond.
Contact St. Louis traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 if you have received an arrest warrant, Failure to Appear charge, or a FACT Suspension. You can also email Andrea by clicking on the email icon at the top of this page, or by filling out the email contact form on the Home page of this website.