A traffic ticket is a type of notice given by a law enforcement official to a motorist (and other road users) indicating a violation of traffic laws. Traffic tickets exist in two forms: moving violation, such as driving past the set speed limit; or a non-moving violation, like parking violation (parking ticket or parking citation).
Non-moving violations, child-restraint and seatbelt/road safety violations, improper or defective vehicle equipment, driving without registration or insurance, and having an invalid/suspended license are some of the traffic violations classified under infraction or minor violation. Traffic violators are charged with either a felony or misdemeanor charge for committing severe violations. These violations involve several prior offenses like damage to property, threats to public safety, serious bodily injury, and even death. Imposing fines is frequently used as a penalty, and the amount is commonly fixed by the courts depending on the relevant state laws.
A hearing may be set upon request if the traffic violator wishes to challenge the traffic infraction. A judge or magistrate presides the hearing. After the ticket is issued, a motorist or road user can seek an attorney as their representative in the traffic infraction case.
Obtaining the services of an attorney is recommended since a lawyer fully understands the processes related to traffic infractions and traffic laws in a given municipality or state. Attorneys can represent the traffic violator in the court. The law allows the accused to choose his/her lawyer to identify defense strategies and discuss possible legal options.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in each state maintains databases, including motorists’ convictions on traffic violations. The motorist is given the option to be heard in a local court or court’s jurisdiction after receiving the ticket to prove his claim of “not guilty” within a specific time frame. On the other hand, a motorist may request for a mitigation hearing acknowledging his or her guilt of the moving violation and request a hearing to decrease the amount of fine included with the ticket.
If the motorist is found guilty, he will receive a conviction. The conviction report will be locally filed in the state where the violation occurred.
In some jurisdictions, a traffic ticket constitutes a penalty notice with a deduction or fine. Failure to remit payments leads to recovery of the fine through civil recovery or prosecution. In other jurisdictions, the ticket comprises of summons and citations to make an appearance in the traffic court.