Traffic Citations and Traffic Tickets

Traffic Citations and Traffic Tickets are similar. A Traffic Citation is an official summons, a traffic ticket is a legal summons for a traffic violation.

Citations usually call for a court appearance connection to the citation. Either may be challenged if the receiver believes it was received in error or not warranted. Learn more about challenging a ticket, paying a ticket, penalties and fines, DMV Driving record points, and much more in the sections below.

Challenging a Ticket

Challenging a traffic ticket or citation requires several steps. First, in some states paying the ticket admits guilt and points or demerits will be assessed to your license and cannot be reversed. Knowing that, if you want to plead not guilty, you must notify the court you want to have a court date. At court, you will plea “not guilty” to the violation. Take any evidence you have or witnesses that you can bring with you to swear on your behalf that they saw for themselves, you did not act in the manner which you were served the ticket for, to a judge. You have the option of hiring an attorney who will handle all the interaction with the court for you if you like. If you are successful, no traffic fines will be levied. If you are not, you will pay the fine plus court costs and if you hired a lawyer, the cost of the lawyer as well. Traffic tickets are often handled successfully with online traffic ticket lawyers with minimal involvement from the ticket holder.

Paying the Ticket

Alternatively, you can choose to pay for the ticket and avoid court. Traffic tickets and citations can be paid in person, by mail or online. The payment information will be noted on the ticket. There is a due date to pay or plea by. Do not let that date go by without taking care of the payment or plea. Penalties and fines will grow to leave you with additional headaches. If you go long enough, your license will be suspended.

Losing Tickets – What to do?

Losing your traffic ticket isn’t the end of the world but it will cause a bit of work for you to either find the information online or go to the DMV and stand in line for what may end up being a very long wait to get a copy. In most cases, with your license tag registration or your driver’s license information, you will find the history of your infraction online. The local courthouse of the county or city your ticket was issued is another source to research your citation at. In order to contest or pay the ticket, you must have the citation number, date issued and date due to take care of the details.

Penalties and Fines

Fines and penalties vary by a traffic violation. Cities and states also set fee schedules as necessary, to their budgets. Missed court dates, late payments and other details will tack on additional fees. As mentioned before, license suspensions are also part of the punishment if traffic tickets are ignored. Vehicles can also be booted or towed for excess parking fines. Before you ignore any citation, keep all that in mind. Get a lawyer if you find yourself in deep.

DMV Driving Record Points

Paying a fine without challenging it acknowledges you are guilty of the infraction. Whatever point value or demerit that the county or state places on that violation, will be applied to your driver’s license history. Points adding up may get so high that you may find yourself with a suspension. Points adding up on your license are posted to insurance companies as well. Insurance companies raise rates and even cancel policies for habitual infractions.

If you are given the chance, when you get a traffic citation or ticket, find out from the court, if attending traffic school or a certified class will clear points for you. If so, it will clear the points from your license, but insurance is still notified. The only way to keep your insurance company out of the communications is to be found not guilty in court.

How Do Tickets Affect a Driver’s License?

Traffic citations or tickets will have an adverse effect on your driver’s license. Aside from the points or demerits assessed we discussed above, many tickets in a short period of time could cause your license to be suspended or revoked. Each state has its own yearly limit for ticket points to accrue before the suspension may happen. Suspensions will happen for non-moving violations whereas revocations are usually reserved for major violations like driving under the influence or reckless driving.

Car Insurance after Fines and Violations

We covered this earlier in the section above. It is worth repeating. Every traffic ticket other than a parking ticket when pleading guilty and paying a fine will be reported to your insurance company. Insurance companies view that information as a risk. The risk adds up and will increase your insurance rates.