Do I have to show up to court for a “following too closely” ticket after a wreck I caused or can I just pay the ticket?

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Accident Law, Missouri


Mike Harvath / Harvath Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

     Hi.  I am a Missouri auto accident attorney.  In most jurisdictions, it is necessary that you make an appearance in front of the judge, because a ticket where an accident resulted is much more serious than a ticket for "following too closely" where there was not an accident involved.  In certain jurisdictions, you may be able to pay a fine without appearing, but it is unlikely.  A copy of the ticket would have to be looked at in order to determine your obligations with regard to going to court. 

     If you do not have an attorney handle the ticket, you will sustain a serious blow to your driving record which will cause your insurance rates to increase farily substantially.  A ticket for "following too closely" where an accident resulted is a violation that results in a lot of points on your driving record.  An attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor and get the violation reduced so that it will not result in nearly as many points on your record, and the same increase in insurance rates will not occur.  Also, if you have any prior tickets, the amount of points from an accident-related ticket could result in a suspension of your license.

     Although this is probably not what you want to hear, I feel obligated to give you an objective answer that explains all the possibilities.

     For your convenience, you can reach me directly by e-mail at 

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