My question involves a driver's license issued by the State of: California.

I received a speeding ticket last year and failed to pay it because I forgot about it. I was pulled over in January for one of my tail lights being burned out, and both the Officer and I were shocked to discover (ok, maybe me more so than the Officer) I had a suspended license. He had the car towed. I paid the ticket and the fine, got my license reinstated by the DMV and brought it back to the police station, and the Officer kindly allowed me to retrieve my car after a week, I paid those fines, and scheduled a court date for my misdemeanor license suspension case.

The Officer told me to just bring my license with me and show my contrition (this is a first time thing for me, both with the tickets and the license suspension), and the judge would likely dismiss the case with a $10 processing fee.

My court date is today. I planned to go dressed professionally and be polite and contrite. But I started googling license suspension and I'm starting to get nervous- there are a lot of websites suggesting I will likely go to jail and face fines in the range of thousands of dollars. I have a 10 year clean driving record and no prior record.

My question is this: when I see the judge, should I plead guilty (as I planned to, because I WAS driving on a suspended license)? Or should I directly ask them to dismiss charges? Can the judge still choose to dismiss charges if I plead guilty?

Thank you for any help you could provide.