Traffic Tickets and Violations


No one enjoys being cited for a violation and being given a ticket, but it does happen. When it does, you'll need to know what to do and how to take care of it. If you don't act on them in a timely manner (or get too many tickets) you are in jeopardy of getting your driver's license suspended or revoked.

  • Parking Tickets: Parking tickets are usually issued by the city or county, although many institutions (college campuses, for example) are authorized to cite drivers who violate the institution's parking policy. Parking tickets are considered a civic matter—not a police matter—and are enforcing city ordinances. In most states, you do not pay parking tickets at the DMV, although your driving record may be affected if you pile up the number of parking tickets you get—or don't bother to pay them.

  • Traffic Tickets: Traffic tickets are issued by police officers, and are considered to be a law enforcement matter as opposed to parking tickets. Drivers can be cited with moving and non-moving violations. Depending on the infraction (and on the state you're in), you will be assigned points to your driving record. In the case of a serious offense, your driver's license may be suspended or revoked. That is also true if you accumulate too many points or get too many tickets within a designated time frame.

    Normally, you will not pay traffic tickets through the DMV. Traffic tickets are usually paid through city or county services, usually through the Clerk of Courts. If you lose your ticket, you will need to call the Clerk of Courts to find the ticket number, payment date and amount of fine.

  • Traffic School: In many states but not all, you can attend traffic school to lower the number of points on your driving record. Many states have now approved online traffic school courses, as well as the traditional classroom settings. Most states limit the number of times you are eligible to attend traffic school within a given length of time, and restrict the total number of times you can attend in a lifetime.

  • Traffic and Safety Laws: Traffic and safety laws are enacted by each state to protect its citizens. The basic traffic and safety laws should be covered in your state's Driver's Handbook. It's best to review the manual periodically, as laws do change. Most states address safety issues such as seat belt use laws, child safety seat requirements, motorcycle helmet use, and the use of cell phones while driving.

  • DUI and DWI: Getting charged with being impaired while driving—whether the cause is alcohol or other drugs, is a serious offense in all states. People used to lump any of those charges together and just call them, drunk driving. That term is no longer used legally; states determine what charges they enforce and what terminology is used. The most commonly used terms are:

    • Driving Under The Influence (DUI)
    • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
    • Operating While Under The Influence (OUI)
    • Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

    The penalties for any of these charges depend both on how many times you have been charged with the same offense, and what your blood alcohol content level (BAC) is measured when arrested. The majority of states have set 0.08% as the legal limit.

    As it is seldom that DUI charges are dismissed, if you are faced with DUI charges, it may be wise to consult an attorney who specializes in DUI/DWI cases. They will know and understand the laws and charges and may be able to help reduce the penalties involved.

  • Personal Injury: Personal injury cases are lawsuits that you file against another party when you believe they have caused you physical, emotional or psychological damage. These cases do not involve property. Personal injury cases can be brought about by car accidents, workplace injuries, and unsafe products.

    There are lawyers who specialize in taking on personal injury cases. They have studied the laws in your state and understand what needs to proved in court for your claim to be supported; they must prove liability, and to do so they must establish negligence on the defendant's part. Consulting a personal injury attorney and working with them is the first step to winning your personal injury suit.

  • Vehicle Codes: Also known as the Motor Vehicle Code, Vehicle Codes are the compilation of all a state's laws that govern safety, driver registration and licensing and driving rules of the road. Each state maintains its own vehicle code; the bank of information is updated as new laws go into effect.

    Drivers may be most interested in state vehicle codes when they are issued a citation. The specific violation will be fully explained by reading the actual Motor Vehicle Code description, using the vehicle code number that was entered on the ticket. Many times that number will be written as: VC xxxxx.

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Traffic Tickets And Violations Information From the Government

Traffic Tickets And Violations - NHTSA

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