In most areas, traffic violations fall into one of two categories: major or minor. Serious, or major, offenses can include driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), and reckless driving. Major violations frequently involve a risk of personal injury or property damage. On the other hand, common examples of a minor traffic violation include speeding and failure to yield or stop. In general, a minor traffic offense will not result in the offender being arrested or sent to jail. He or she typically receives a citation that requires the payment of a fine, an appearance in court, or both. Some consequences of being found guilty of a small traffic violation can include negative marks on one’s driving record, as well as potentially higher auto insurance premiums.
Citations, or tickets, are usually issued for either a moving violation or a non-moving violation. As the term implies, a moving violation occurs when the vehicle is in motion. Speeding and other infringements of driving rules are usually among these. Non-moving violations often refer to situations like parking in a prohibited area. Other examples of non-moving offenses can include having defective equipment, such as broken headlights, on or in the car, or violating a child safety restraint or seat belt requirement.
While laws vary by jurisdiction, a person is not usually arrested for a minor traffic violation. The officer will issue a citation that involves paying a fine and sometimes making a court appearance. One can pay the fine, basically admitting responsibility, and sometimes that will be the end of his or her legal obligation. Otherwise, to contest the citation, the person must appear in traffic court. Some people choose to represent themselves, while those with complicated cases might hire an attorney to accompany them to court.
One may face several possible consequences for being found guilty of a minor traffic violation. United States laws vary from state to state. In some cases, the court may require the offender to attend traffic school and take a safe driving course. Fulfilling this obligation might help the driver avoid paying fines, incurring penalties on his or her license, or facing an increase in insurance rates.
In some situations, paying the stated fines will expunge the violation from the person’s record. Typically, the outcome will also depend on whether the incident is the driver’s first offense. After committing a minor traffic violation, it is usually in the person’s best interest to consult the traffic laws for his or her place of residence, to determine the best course of action.