So you got a traffic ticket in the downtown LA area and now you need to resolve it in the Metro courthouse. Maybe you accidentally missed your court date, or just lost track of your ticket, and now you have a misdemeanor “failure to appear” charge in addition to the ticket – now it’s much more important to fight the ticket than to pay GC Services so you won’t be convicted of a misdemeanor in addition to your traffic ticket. Or, maybe you don’t have a failure to appear, but you just want to fight your ticket in Metro anyway. Whatever the case, be prepared to spend several hours in court.
This picture is of the long line you’ll have to wait in to simply get inside the courthouse. The deal with traffic tickets is that there are probably trillions of them issued every second in LA alone (not actual figures, but there are a lot!).
That means there are a lot of people out there just like yourself who are also trying to fight their tickets. There are only two times that Metro courthouse allows you to have a traffic hearing, whether it is an arraignment or a trial: 8:30am and 1:30pm. So, whether you are showing up at court for an arraignment, a trial, or to simply go to the traffic clerk window to figure out what the hell is going on with your ticket, you will have to wait in this very long line alongside everyone else who is also trying to fight their Metro ticket just to get into the courthouse (this line also includes the non-traffic related criminal matters that are also heard in Metro courthouse).
You’ll have to wait in line if you want to speak with a court clerk about your ticket or to speak to GC services about your ticket. If you have a failure to appear, your matter is referred to collections (GC Services), so you will want to make sure to get in the far left line which leads you to window 20. If your matter has not been referred to collections and you want to speak with a court clerk, you wait in the line that goes to windows 11-19.
So you’ve already waited in those two lines discussed above, and perhaps you’ve spoken with GC Services or a Metro court clerk, and you likely have either paid your ticket or calendared an arraignment. If you paid your ticket, you are done! However, if you calendared an arraignment because you want to fight your Metro ticket, you will have to wait in another line just to get into the actual court department…and you’ll have to wait in this same line again when you come back for your trial.
After your arraignment, you will have to wait in another line just so you can calendar your trial. Keep in mind, there are only 2 Metro court clerks serving this long line of people (which is probably a 1-2 hour wait) – fielding their questions, setting trials, arguing with the defendants, fielding more questions….you get the point. You’ll have to wait in this line AGAIN after your trial is over in order to get a statement of the fines that you owe and to set up a payment plan if you need to. Doesn’t the judge tell you your fines when your case is disposed of? Kind of. He or she leaves the precise calculations up to the court clerk, and if your ticket did not get dismissed, then you WILL have to wait again in order to get the precise amount you owe, when that amount is due, and to set up a payment plan if you need to.
So guess what? Attorneys get to cut in front of all of these lines. At the entrance of the Metro courthouse, there is a special line for attorneys and court employees that is never crowded. Then, if an attorney needs to speak with collections, or with a court clerk, they cut to the front of those lines as well.
Next, attorneys get to cut in front of the line to get into the actual court department, and inside the court itself, attorneys get their cases called first. It doesn’t matter if you showed up an hour before them and have been patiently waiting all of that time. Finally, after attorneys resolve a case for their clients, they get to jump in front of the line to calendar trials and to get the final amounts of any payments owed.
The moral of the story? If you are not otherwise living at home and playing video games while mom does your laundry, you likely have a better way to spend your time than waiting in all of these lines. That’s why you should hire an attorney to get the job efficiently done for you. If you’d like to hire me or would like more info about your specific situation, you can reach me by phone at 310-200-4519, by email at email@example.com, or you can contact me through my website.