How to Submit Traffic School Certificate Paperwork to the Court

March 5, 2012

Learn about the benefits and limitations to traffic school certficates, whether courts will accept online certificates, and other certficate issues.

It's important for drivers taking a traffic school course to know how to submit the traffic school certificate paperwork to the court. Drivers who have committed a traffic violation are sometimes required by the court to attend traffic school to maintain a clean driving record. The court sends you a courtesy notice by mail within two to three weeks of their receiving the traffic ticket. The notice advises whether you are eligible to attend traffic school to have the ticket dismissed. If you are eligible, a list of traffic schools is also attached for reference. You still have to pay the court an administration fee and the ticket fine. Upon completion of the course, the Certificate of Completion has to be submitted to the court and only then will the citation be removed you're your driving record.

Submitting Traffic School Certificates

Use the following guideline to reliably submit your traffic school certificate:

  • If you attend a traffic school in person, you will receive the Certificate of Completion at the end of the course. Either mail or take this certificate to the court address mentioned on the courtesy notice, along with the receipt for the payment made. The particulars of this payment are listed in the traffic school section of the courtesy notice. It's your responsibility to ensure that these documents reach the court on or before the due date
  • Some courts require you to include a proof of identity document in the paperwork, particularly when the traffic course is taken online
  • Some courts require the online traffic school to electronically transmit the Certificate of Completion and related paperwork to them
  • Other courts require the traffic school to mail the Certificate of Completion along with the paperwork to the court address provided on the courtesy notice
  • If the court requires you to submit the certificate of completion, it's your responsibility to obtain the Certificate of Completion from the traffic school and send it to the court within the given deadline
  • Remember to sign the original Certificate of Completion before sending it to the court. Unsigned certificates are invalid
  • Confirm that the court has received the Certificate of Completion. If the certificate is handed over in person, get a receipt from the court clerk. If the certificate is mailed, it should be sent by certified mail. If certified mail is used, the post office will send you a document that is signed and dated by the court, stating that the court has received the certificate. Keep this receipt in a safe place. If the traffic school is required to directly send the certificate to the court, care should be taken to ensure that FedEx or certified mail are used so that confirmation of receipt can be received from the court

It's important that the Certificate of Completion issued by a traffic school reaches the court in the prescribed manner, so you can benefit by having citations removed from your driving record. This can also prevent insurance premiums from increasing.

What a Traffic School Certificate Can and Can't Do for You

A traffic school certificate can be very helpful, however, it isn't a magic bullet or panacea that will make you a better or safer driver.

The Purpose of Attending Traffic School
When you get a speeding ticket and it stays on your record, your insurance premium is going to go up and the insurance company may drop you when it's time to renew your auto insurance policy. However, if you complete traffic school, obtain a traffic school certificate and properly submit it to the traffic court or Department of Motor Vehicles, whichever your jurisdiction requires, that speeding ticket will be removed from your record and your insurance company won't be informed of the ticket. This means your insurance premiums won't go up and you shouldn't have any trouble renewing your policy. In fact, you may even qualify for discounts with your provider, such as a safe driver discount. Attending some schools without having a moving violation conviction can also lower your insurance premiums. This is because you will be looked upon as a safer driver by your insurance provider.

What Traffic School Won't Erase
Driving school completion won't remove certain moving violations such as reckless driving or DUIs. A traffic school certificate only certifies that you are aware of the vehicle code of your state and thus can only take points from moving violations that are minor infractions. Offenses such as reckless driving are usually either serious infractions or misdemeanors in most jurisdictions. Nothing except time will cause this type of violation to be removed from your driving record and stop affecting your insurance rates.

Violations that can be removed from your record may vary from state to state. Check with your state's DMV to be sure of what can and can't be removed in your state.

Will Courts Accept an Online Traffic School Certificate?

There are several online traffic schools that provide courses in defensive driving and courses that help dismiss traffic tickets. Online traffic schools are gaining popularity because the course can be completed in the comfort of your home. You have the advantage of completing the course according to your schedule and studying the course content at your own pace. Although this is beneficial to most drivers, it's important to understand certain prerequisites and determine if the online traffic school certificate is accepted by the court that issued the citation.

Before registering with a traffic school, you have to pay the necessary fine to the court. You have to then obtain permission from the court that issued the citation to take a traffic school course. Subsequently, the court will charge an administrative fee to allow you to take the course. You are then required to complete the course in person or at a court approved and licensed, online traffic school. Once the course is complete, the certificate should be sent to the court. Some traffic schools offer to send the certificate directly to court.

Online Traffic School Certificates
You should determine if the online traffic school you choose is licensed and approved by the court that issued your citation. Find out by contacting the court clerk who presides over the court that issued your citation. A little research can thus help you register with a court approved online traffic school and obtain an online certificate that's acceptable. Most courts provide a deadline to complete a traffic course. You should bear this date in mind as the online traffic school allows you to choose your time of study and you may exceed the deadline determined by the court.

The cost of attending an online traffic school varies. This traffic school fee is different from the administration fee paid to the court. Regardless of the fee paid to the online traffic school, it's important to ascertain that the school is DMV certified.

How Do Courts Receive an Online Traffic School Certificate?

When you take an online traffic school course, you'll still have to present the certificate of completion to the court authorities in order to receive the benefits associated with the program. Email, fax and mail are all possible ways of submitting the certificate.

Automatic Transmission of Certificates
In some cases, once you complete a course in driver's education online, the program itself will take responsibility for contacting the court to alert them of the fact you've completed the training program successfully. This is not the case in most situations, however, so it is best if you consult with your instructor or a representative from the driver education training program to determine whether or not they'll take responsibility for alerting the court.

The most common way of submitting a traffic school certificate from your completed online program to the local court or authority is through email. The program may supply you with a read-only file that documents your information and which course you successfully passed, as well as the date of completion and some other potentially useful information. You can contact the court to find the proper email address to forward this certificate to if you don't already have the information at the time you receive the document.

Faxing and Mailing
Faxing and mailing are not quite as common for online traffic school certificates, as they each require you print out a copy of the certificate. Still, some courts and authorities prefer to have a paper copy of the certificate for their records, and they may require you submit the certificate via fax or mail. In these cases, obtain the online copy of the certificate and print it out on a high quality printer. You can then fax it to the court address that is provided, or mail it to the proper department. Once again, if you have any questions as to where you should submit the certificate within the court system, don't hesitate to contact the court clerk.

It is crucial you submit your certificate to the proper department within the time limit you've been allotted. Failure to do so may invalidate your course or may incur additional penalties and marks on your driving record. For best results, it is a good idea to submit the certificate to the court as soon as you receive it.

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