In most jurisdictions, with this fact pattern, a driver would be eligible for: 1) traffic violator school; and 2) alternative sentencing options.
If you think you cannot win a trial, you can ask the court for a traffic school referral, and for community service, or sheriff's work program to pay off the financial penalty.
If you think you can win the trial, demand a trial date, show up on time prepared and try to win.
If you are not a commercial driver, an attorney may not be cost effective. This would be especially true if you are eligible for a traffic school referral that might protect your driving record.
But if your job depends on avoiding drivers license points, you should hire an attorney to try everything he/she can think of.
An attorney can go to court for you. Thant may be important if you have to go to work, not court.
The court will always give you time to pay a fine if you show up to court on time, and are only charged with a traffic infraction.
The #1 thing not to do is - do not miss that court date. Show up on time, or hire an attorney to go for you.
If this were my case, I'd be thinking my #1 goal is protecting the driving record if possible. #2 goal would be making a payment arrangement that I can work with. I would feel confident the court will give me time to pay as long as I ask for it in person, on time.
Normally, traffic court defendants are not required to pay anything right away. Installment plans, community service, and/or 30 or 60 days to pay are common results.
Ask the judge for what you want clearly. You will find it is easier than you think.
Unless you miss your court date!
Let me know if you have relevant follow up questions.