If you receive a citation for a traffic offense, the citation will direct you to appear in court between five and 14 days after the date the citation was given. (You must wait at least five business days so the court will have information regarding your case. If you wait over 14 calendar days, you may be subject to delinquent fees and a warrant for your arrest may be issued.) In most cases you may simply pay your bail and the case will be closed if you do not wish to contest the citation. Mandatory court appearance is required for some violations. If you wish to contest your citation, you must contact the court. While you may simply appear at any court session, it is recommended that you call the court ahead of time. You will be given a date by which you are to appear before the judge.


Your first appearance on a charge is called an arraignment. You will be required to read a sheet advising you of your rights. You may also be required to watch an instructional video.


You may have an attorney with you, but it is not required. The court may appoint an attorney for you if you meet certain income guidelines, but only if jail time is a real possibility. In most cases involving a traffic citation incarceration will not be imposed and you will not have the right to an appointed attorney.


When you appear before the judge, you will be asked to enter a plea to the charge(s) against you. You may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. A no contest plea has the same procedural effect as a guilty plea, but rather than admitting guilt, the defendant admits that the prosecutor would likely prevail at trial. It is up to the judge whether or not he will accept a no contest plea.


If you plead guilty or no contest, you will next be sentenced. See "Sentencing" below for further information regarding sentencing.

Plea in Abeyance

Pleading Not Guilty


Additional Information

Utah Uniform Fine and Bail Schedule
How citations affect your driver's license

Utah Department of Motor Vehicles

Utah Driver's License Division