The meaning of Citations and Moving Violations…April 8, 2011 | in Defensive Driving Tips
Getting pulled over is never fun. Being stopped by a police officer can be intimidating and sometimes confusing if you are unfamiliar with the different types of tickets.
The DefensiveDriving.com team recommends getting acquainted with the definitions and consequences of terms related to driving faux pas. Being well versed in matters of the road may help drivers more confidently interact with police officers in any situation.
A traffic ticket (also known as a citation) is a notice issued to a driver by a police officer accusing him or her of violating a traffic law(s). Examples include:
• driving with a suspended license or without a license;
• driving without insurance or with insufficient insurance;
• driving with expired registration or without proper registration;
• making an illegal U-turn;
• reckless driving;
• running a red light or stop sign;
• leaving the scene of an accident (e.g. hit-and-run incidents); or
Any law that is broken while a car is in motion is referred to as a moving violation. But citations also come in the form of parking violations, which may be issued for illegally parking in a handicapped spot or parking in a no-parking zone, among other things.
All tickets may result in a penalty, such as a monetary fine or points on your driver’s license. In Texas, a moving violation is worth 2 points on your driver’s license; and a moving violation that results in an accident is worth 3. If you acquire 6 or more points on your license, you probably will be faced with annual fees known as a surcharge.
Surchargeable violations usually are those that constitute a crime, such as driving without a license, driving without insurance or driving while intoxicated. In addition to paying the fine for the original ticket, annual fees can range from $100 per year to $2,000 per year for three years. If you’ve racked up 6+ points on your license, the surcharge fee is $100 per year for the first six points and $25 per year for each additional point for three years.
Once you receive a ticket, you have 10 days to decide how to proceed. It is the driver’s responsibility to contact the court. You may either pay the fine or choose to appear in traffic court to contest the charges.
Drivers also may have a traffic ticket dismissed by taking a defensive driving course, most conveniently done online through a course such as DefensiveDriving.com. In most states, completing a driver’s education course will dismiss a traffic ticket if the moving violation was not criminal.
Upon completion of the program, the results will be entered on your driving record and your ticket points automatically will be reduced. You then will need to submit your certificate of completion to the court for final dismissal of the ticket.
Not only does taking a defensive driving course allow you to have a traffic ticket dismissed, it also gives you the opportunity to reduce your insurance rates and/or have points removed from your license. You do not have to have received a ticket to take a defensive driving class.
Parking tickets, however, may not be dismissed through defensive driving. To contest a parking ticket, you will need to submit a dismissal request letter to the court. Websites such as ParkingTicket.com make it easy and convenient for you to write an appropriate letter; and if the court declines your request for a dismissal, ParkingTicket.com will create an appeal letter for you at no charge.
So remember: It’s up to you to determine your course of action after you receive a ticket. Whether you pay the fine, contest the charges in traffic court or enroll in a defensive driving course, take into consideration how your decision may affect your driving record.
~B. Waldman← Work Zone Safety Awareness Week | How To Dismiss Your Ticket! →