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Myth vs. Fact: Refusal to sign a traffic ticket if you think you are not guilty.


In an on-going effort to serve the community in the most professional and responsive manner possible, the South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station has initiated a social media based community outreach program entitled "Myth vs. Fact: The Law and You."

The purpose of this program will be to provide weekly legal and/or sheriff's department policy information to the community through the use of social media. The community will also be afforded the opportunity to e-mail questions directly to the station for discussion or clarification.

This week's topic: Can you refuse to sign a traffic ticket if you think you are not guilty?

At the risk of sounding flippant, a person can do whatever he or she wants. However, refusal to sign a traffic ticket comes with some serious consequences. Consider the following;

Signing a traffic ticket does not mean you are admitting guilt. In fact, not only will the issuing officer explain this to you, this admonition is printed on the citation. By signing the citation, you are simply agreeing to appear in court on the matter. Said another way, you are giving your written promise that you will take care of the ticket. So, what happens if you refuse to give your written promise to appear? Frankly, you will be arrested. California Vehicle Code 40302 states:

40302. Whenever any person is arrested for any violation of this code, not declared to be a felony, the arrested person shall be taken without unnecessary delay before a magistrate within the county in which the offense charged is alleged to have been committed and who has jurisdiction of the offense and is nearest or most accessible with reference to the place where the arrest is made in any of the following cases:

(a) When the person arrested fails to present his driver's license or other satisfactory evidence of his identity for examination.

(b) When the person arrested refuses to give his written promise to appear in court.

(c) When the person arrested demands an immediate appearance before a magistrate.

(d) When the person arrested is charged with violating Section 23152.

With this information in mind, remember that although you may feel strongly about your innocence, refusal to sign a citation is not the wise course of action.

For additional questions or comments about anything discussed in this topic, please feel free to e-mail South Los Angeles Station at

South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

(323) 820-6700

Twitter @LASD_News!/LASD_News

Sheriff Leroy D. Baca

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

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LASD - HQ Newsroom (SHB), Los Angeles County Sheriff

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Contact Information: Lieutenant Jeff Adams - (323) 820-6700,
Receiving a ticket
Receiving a ticket

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