Frequently Asked Questions
The statewide Fine Collection Center is changing the handling of traffic tickets in many counties across the state. Whether your county participates or your clients are passing through such counties, the process for paying or pleading not guilty to a traffic ticket changes. The FCC offers standard fines and a central processing location for certain tickets in the participating counties. To explain how the FCC may affect your practice and clients, here are the most frequently asked questions.
How will I know if the ticket is a FCC ticket?
The ticket will have "FCC" written in the "court" block and "due in 30 days" or similar language in the "court date" block. "FCC" is usually in the "street address" block, and the "court phone number" reads (877) 866-3926, the FCC's toll free customer service number. Additionally, each person receiving a FCC ticket will receive it in an envelope pre-addressed to the Fine Collection Center at P.O. Box 104540, Jefferson City, MO 65110-4540.
What choices do clients have if they receive a FCC ticket?
They have two choices. They must either pay the fine to the FCC or enter a written plea of not guilty to the FCC within 30 days of the ticket date. The FCC quickly returns not guilty pleas to the prosecuting attorney in the county where the offense occurred. A plea of not guilty to the FCC is a request to return the ticket to the prosecuting attorney for processing in the court system. Many offenders do not actually demand a trial but settle their ticket at the court level. After the ticket is returned to the county, the FCC has no further contact with that case. The prosecutor then has the same authority over the ticket that he or she has over any ticket coming to the prosecutor's office.
Can the FCC amend a ticket to a lower charge or agree not to assess points?
No. The FCC can only accept guilty pleas with full payment of the fine and costs or accept pleas of not guilty and transfer the case to the prosecutor. The FCC has no bargaining power on the charge. Persons pleading guilty to a moving violation will receive the standard statutory number of points on their driving records. The Department of Revenue assigns these points upon receipt of the FCC record of conviction. Only the prosecutor can bargain on the charge. If you or your client have questions about current points on a driving record or points that will result from a particular offense, contact the Department of Revenue, (573) 751-4475.
What is the procedure to get a ticket transferred from the FCC to the county prosecutor?
Clients or their attorneys must send a written plea of not guilty to the FCC. It is best to use the not guilty form provided by the law enforcement officer to the client. However, any writing that provides the client's name and ticket number and indicates the desire to plead not guilty will suffice. The plea can be mailed in the return envelope provided with the ticket or faxed to (573) 522-8504. If you contact the prosecutor directly, you still have a legal obligation to send/fax a written plea to the FCC. This contact with the FCC is required in order to transfer the ticket to the county prosecutor and avoid receipt of Failure to Appear/Pay/Other notices from the FCC.
If a client pleads not guilty, how will he or she be notified of the court date?
After the FCC sends the ticket to the prosecutor, who files the ticket with the court, the court clerk notifies you or your client of the court date. This will almost always be a required appearance or arraignment date but not the date of actual trial if the client contests the ticket. Warrants are normally issued if the court date is not met. One may also call the clerk of the court in the county where the offense occurred to inquire about the court date. The time it takes for each court to notify individuals of their court dates varies from county to county.
May an attorney make an entry of appearance with the FCC?
Yes. If an attorney makes an entry of appearance, the FCC will forward copies of that entry to the prosecutor and the court along with the ticket. That entry should include the client's full name and the ticket number which is also the FCC case number. The entry should indicate that the attorney is entering a not guilty plea with FCC on behalf of the client. The attorney does not need to make an entry of appearance with the court after sending an entry to FCC. If the attorney files an entry of appearance with the court before the client has entered a not guilty plea with FCC or before the attorney has submitted an entry to FCC, the court will not have the case and FCC will not know to send the case to the county prosecutor.
What happens if a person fails to respond to the FCC within 30 days after the ticket is issued?
The FCC will mail required warning notices. These include Failure to Appear/Pay Notices for those with Missouri driver's licenses and Nonresident Violator Compact Notices for those with out-of-state licenses. If drivers fail to respond to these warning notices, the FCC will direct the Missouri Department of Revenue to suspend the driver's license of Missouri drivers eligible for suspension or to notify the home states to take appropriate action on out-of-state licenses. Please contact the FCC customer service center toll free at (877) 866-3926 if you need further information.