What Is the Difference Between a Traffic Citation and a Traffic Ticket?


Quick Answer

There is no discernible difference between a traffic citation and a traffic ticket, notes USLegal. The two terms are used interchangeably in the field of traffic law.

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Full Answer

A traffic citation is a summons issued by a law enforcement officer to a person violating a traffic law. Traffic citations describe the violations committed by the driver and can include one or more violations. Examples of violations include illegal lane change, speeding, lack of insurance, no fastened seat belt or a broken taillight, states USLegal.

Most minor traffic violations are classified as infractions. Traffic violations do not involve jail time, and penalties are usually in the form of a fine. Violators can typically send a check through the mail or go to the courthouse and pay in person. While the easiest course of action is to simply pay the fine and resolve the case, fighting a ticket may be worth the time and expense in some circumstances, such as if accruing points would result in a license suspension or if the resulting conviction would result in higher insurance premiums, notes FindLaw.

Although traffic violations are minor enough that they do not usually require legal representation, retaining an attorney is recommended in certain situations. People should consider hiring a lawyer for serious traffic offenses, such as leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving and drunk driving, explains FindLaw.

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