Every driver hates the idea of being pulled over and given a ticket for a traffic violation. While “ticket” is the common term for a document for speeding and parking violations, “citation” can be used to refer to the legal terminology. Whether or not you have had this experience, it is always wise to know what to do when you get a citation and how this affects your driving record and auto insurance cost.
Citation vs. ticket
What is a Citation? A citation is a written record that outlines what you did while driving your vehicle or when it was parked. A citation is also known as a “ticket”, but it is a more informal term. A citation and ticket are the same thing. This is typically a written document issued by a police officer. If you are not following traffic laws, a speed camera might notify the police and issue a ticket. You will be fined and may even have to appear in court depending on the severity.
What is a Citation?
A traffic citation (also known as an auto citation or ticket) is a written notice you receive from law enforcement officers. The citation will explain what you did wrong, including whether it was speeding or disregarding a stop sign.
A traffic citation is issued to you if you are found violating traffic laws. This is written evidence of your violation. It will usually include information about how to correct the situation such as paying a fine or appearing in court at a specific date.
Speeding tickets explained
We have now clarified the difference between a ticket and a citation. Let’s talk about some of the most common auto tickets, such as speeding tickets.
Parking tickets are one example of a non-moving violation. This is because the vehicle was not moving at the time the incident occurred. You can be cited for moving violations while your car is being operated. The following are some of the most commonly issued tickets for moving violations:
- Speeding tickets: A warning may be issued if you go a few miles above the speed limit. This will not appear on any driving records. You may be issued a traffic ticket or citation for more serious speeding offenses. This could result in a fine. You will be able to see this on your driving record. It may also affect your insurance premium.
- Failure to stop at a red light/stop sign is a serious offense. Penalties vary by state and other factors, like whether or not you caused an accident.
- Driving while under the influence (DUI/DWI): This traffic ticket carries severe penalties. These include a large fine, license suspension, and lengthy jail time. The ticket will be on your motor vehicle record for at most three years. However, in certain states, it could remain on your record for up to 10 years, which means you may pay much more for auto insurance for the next decade.
- You could be charged with a petty movement violation for failing to signal. This offense could result in a citation and points on your license.
A citation is issued to you if you are pulled over and charged with a crime. For example, a speeding ticket officer might have taken your speed using a handheld speed gun.
After the officer has explained why you were charged with an infraction, the ticket will be given to you. You are not agreeing to the ticket, but you will pay it or appear in court to contest it.
What to do when you are given a speeding or citation?
It is crucial to know how to respond to law enforcement if you are stopped for speeding or other moving violations.
Keep calm and polite. You’ll most likely be asked for your driver’s licence, registration, and proof of insurance. When an officer asks questions, be polite and tell the truth. You may be asked questions by the officer about speed or other violations. It is not a good idea to deny that you have committed the act.
You might need to appear before the court in some cases. If you receive a ticket for excessive speed, reckless driving, or are involved in an accident, you might be scheduled for a court hearing. It is important to be clear about the actions you must take after you receive a citation. Failure to appear in court could result in a misdemeanor being filed against you, as well as a large fine or jail sentence. You may have to pay an additional amount (a penalty) even if you pay your fine late.
Note down everything that you remember. Include the date, time, weather conditions and surroundings. If there were speed limit signs, make sure to note them. This can be useful if you are still fresh from the citation.
Resolve your citation: This could mean going to court or paying the ticket. It may also increase your auto insurance rates. You can dispute the ticket in court if you feel that the officer wrongly ticketed your.
What is the best way to negotiate a speeding ticket
There are many ways to contest a speeding ticket.
- If you’re pulled over, be calm and polite. You can explain your reasons for not being issued a ticket. Do this before the officer issues the ticket.
- You may be able request a “mitigation” negotiation prior to your court date. This will allow you to admit to the violation and explain to the judge why you should be granted leniency. While you will still need to pay the ticket in full, it may not have any impact on your motor vehicle record. You might also be asked to attend an online or in-person driving class instead. You may be eligible for a reduction in the fine.
- In court: You have the option to contest the ticket and state why you think you are innocent. Or, you can plead your case before the judge and apologize.
It may be a smart decision to hire an attorney to assist you in rectifying a traffic ticket. An attorney who specializes in traffic court can better help you understand the process and determine the best course.
What does a ticket do to your car insurance rates?
Depending on your auto insurance company and your driving history, your car insurance rate could increase if you receive a traffic citation.
First-time auto citation
Your premiums may not be increased by some insurers for the first time you are cited for auto violations. You may want to ask your auto insurer if they have a ticket forgiveness program for first-time offenders.
Your average annual auto insurance premium can rise up to several hundred dollars depending on what type of offense you were cited for. The following table indicates the average premium and percentage of rate increases after a speeding ticket in the top three states for the most car accidents. As you can see, a single speeding ticket can have serious financial consequences.
Repetition traffic citations
A lot of motor vehicle violations, especially if your driver’s licence is revoked, suspended or canceled, can lead to significant premium increases and even the loss of your insurance coverage. This can happen in one of two ways.
- Your auto insurer may send you a policy notice if you have been convicted of a few offenses but your driver’s licence is still valid. This notice will give you advance warning that your auto insurance policy won’t be renewed with the company.
- Your auto insurance may send you a notice cancelling your policy if your license was suspended. You can get a notice of cancellation from your auto insurer at any point during the term.
A ticket can also lead to points on your driving record. Multiple violations could result in your license being revoked from your state’s motor vehicle agency. The surcharge could be applied to your next policy renewal if you are cited for a traffic violation. You should also be aware that different policy terms are shorter than others. For example, a 6-month policy could result in a premium increase faster than an annual policy.
Questions frequently asked
What is the cost of a speeding ticket?
The average cost of a speeding ticket varies by state. For first offenses, the national average cost of a speeding ticket is around $150. However, repeat offenses can result in a higher price tag of up to $500. A speeding ticket can have a direct impact on your insurance premiums. The average rate rise is in the double digits.
Is it possible to lower my insurance rates by attending traffic school?
Your premiums could not drop if you have traffic violations on the motor vehicle record. While taking an approved driving course may help reduce your rates and remove a citation from you record, it has limited impact. Overall, it helps to maintain a clean driving record for several years to best ensure affordable car insurance rates. Even minor speeding tickets can result in loss of savings if auto insurance policies include good driver discounts.
Is a citation a ticket, or a warning?
A citation, another name for a ticket, is something you should take seriously. These terms refer to documents issued by state or local law enforcement stating that you have been accused of speeding. You could face more serious consequences if you fail to address your citation. A warning, which is usually a verbal notice by a police officer and considered a minor offense, will most likely not be added to your motor vehicle record.
What length of time does a citation stay on your driving record?
Most states keep a record of any traffic offense for three years on average for the first offense. Repeat offenses may remain on your driving record for up to 10 years. Some states have zero tolerance and some can be permanent.
What if I get a speeding ticket? Can I still save money on my car insurance?
After a speeding ticket, your auto insurance premiums may increase for up to three years or until the violation is expunged from your motor vehicle record. If you have a clean driving record, your auto insurance premiums may decrease. To further reduce the cost, you may be eligible for discounts for being a good driver.