What Is a Citation Ticket?


Quick Answer

In the context of traffic violations, the terms "ticket" and "citation" have the same meaning, according to FindLaw. These terms are often used interchangeably but usually not together. "Traffic ticket" and "traffic citation" are both correct.

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Full Answer

In North America, a citation is a type of summons, according to Oxford Dictionaries. Defined in this way, the term "citation" can refer to a document that requires a person to appear in court. A traffic ticket does not have this connotation. A ticket is a document that requires a person to pay a fee rather than appear in court.

Most traffic tickets, or citations, are given for infractions, which are less serious than misdemeanors and felonies, states FindLaw. Officers write traffic citations for driving errors such as illegal parking, exceeding the speed limit, disobeying traffic lights, making a U-turn where it is prohibited, driving without a valid driver's license and failing to heed traffic signs. Infractions typically don't appear on criminal records. Traffic violators typically are not required to appear in court unless they wish to contest the ticket.

Convictions for cited traffic violations can lead to increased insurance premiums, according to FindLaw. Some traffic violations lead to the assessment of "points" to the driver's license, and an accumulation of a certain number of points can lead to suspension of the license.

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