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Traffic tickets

A traffic ticket or citation is a document written by a police officer that alleges the driver (operator) of a motor vehicle committed a violation of state or local traffic laws while the motor vehicle was moving (also known as a moving violation).

A ticket or citation issued to the owner of a motor vehicle for violation of a state or local law that is alleged to have occurred while the vehicle was not moving (such as a parking violation)—and tickets or citations issued to pedestrians or operators of bikes, skateboards, or other non-motor vehicles for illegal use of streets, sidewalks, and other driveways—are known as nonmoving violations. A ticket or citation for illegal parking or another nonmoving violation usually requires the person to pay a fine by a certain date or appear in court to contest the charge.

A traffic ticket or citation usually requires the driver to pay a fine by a certain date or appear in court to contest the charge. In some states traffic violations are low-level misdemeanor criminal offenses—but in other states traffic tickets are classified as infractions or civil offenses. If a ticket or citation is classified as a criminal offense the driver's guilt or innocence will be determined by a jury or judge. But if a ticket or citation is classified as a civil infraction, violation, or offense the driver will be determined (adjudged) to be responsible or not responsible.

In Texas, traffic tickets or citations for moving violations are issued by police officers when a driver is suspected of breaking traffic laws, such as speeding or running a red light. These violations typically result in the driver being required to pay a fine by a specified date or to appear in court to contest the charge. Nonmoving violations, such as parking infractions, also require payment of a fine or a court appearance to dispute the ticket. In Texas, most traffic violations are classified as Class C misdemeanors, which are criminal offenses; however, they are generally handled through the traffic court system rather than the higher criminal courts. If a traffic ticket is contested, the case may be decided by a judge or a jury, depending on the circumstances and the preferences of the defendant. It's important to note that accumulating traffic violations can lead to points on a driver's license, potential license suspension, and increased insurance rates.

Legal articles related to this topic

Are Traffic Tickets Criminal or Civil? Understanding Moving Violation Laws
At some point in our driving lives, most of us will face the unpleasant surprise of being handed a traffic ticket. Whether it's for speeding, running a red light, or another minor traffic infraction, it's natural to wonder about your legal status.