Traffic Violations, Citations or Tickets Explained

Civil Citations will generally notify the individual of the violation committed, and the date and time he or she must appear in court or direct the individual to contact the court personally within a specified amount of time in order to obtain a date to formally appear at the court. Criminal citations attach a more stringent process because the individual will be required to appear at court. Civil citations are usually found and written when an individual has committed some sort of traffic violation or infraction. Many traffic violations will attach drivers license points to an individuals drivers license. Some of those infractions can and will be misdemeanors that not only attach points to the license, but also enter onto an individual’s criminal record.

The handling of a traffic violation varies depending upon whether the matter is a misdemeanor or a simple infraction. It is never advisable to simply attempt to pay the ticket or citation without first contacting a traffic defense lawyer. It is important to note that the time between the citation being issued and when you must appear in court can and may be a long time apart—the reason for this is that the police and prosecutor are waiting for lab reports or other evidence to be submitted. It is essential to stay in contact with the court or your attorney if you believe that you will be charged with a criminal misdemeanor (or felony) so that you do not receive an outstanding bench warrant. 

For simple civil infractions, i.e. speeding or parking tickets, you will have one of two options. The first will be to simply pay the applicable fine for the particular infraction(s) committed. The second option will be to request one of two types of hearings (an informal or formal hearing). The formal hearing will be with the officer, and the informal will be with the prosecutor. If you choose to set the matter for a hearing you must do so within the specified number of days listed on the ticket or indicated by the court. When the matter is a misdemeanor traffic violation the process becomes more complex and lengthy because you will be required to appear in court regardless of if you have representation or not. Civil infractions can generally be handled by your attorney without your presence. Misdemeanors are not like this.

Whenever you are cited with a ticket, make the right choice and hire counsel. He or she will be able to assist you along the way, inform you of the possible consequences, and attempt to limit the impact it has on you. Josh Jones provides free initial consultations and is available for you 7-days a week.