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Traffic Violation Law

Traffic Violation Law: Here's What You Need To Know

If you're reading this article, it probably means you've either been cited for a traffic violation or live in fear of getting one. Either way, you are not alone. Getting caught violating traffic laws is a common consequence of being a human who drives around in an automobile. Whether running a red light, speeding, or something slightly less obvious, like failing to signal when changing lanes, most drivers will get ticketed at some point. A traffic violation isn't the end of the world (unless you get caught doing something particularly dangerous and get locked up as a result). Still, it can be quite stressful and scary, regardless. This article covers everything you need to know about traffic violations to keep your stress levels down and avoid future citations as much as possible.


1. What Constitutes a Traffic Violation?


A traffic violation is any action that breaks a particular traffic law. These laws can vary by state, but the most common violations include:

- Driving under the influence

- Driving with a suspended or revoked license

- Driving without insurance

- Driving without a license

- Running a red light

- Running a stop sign

- Speeding

- Driving too slow

- Driving without wearing seat belts

- Failing to yield

- Driving with tinted windows that are too dark

- Driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street

- Parking in a handicap spot without a permit

- Parking in a fire lane

- Parking too close to a crosswalk

- Parking in a loading zone

- Driving without headlights at night

- Driving a vehicle that doesn't pass inspection standards

- Driving a vehicle that doesn't have proper license plates


2. When Can You Get Ticketed for a Traffic Violation?


You can get ticketed for a traffic violation in two ways. One is that a police officer personally cites you for the violation. Another is that a camera catches you breaking a particular traffic law. Suppose you're cited by a police officer. In that case, you'll get a written citation that lists the details of the violation and includes your court date. Suppose an automated camera catches you breaking a traffic law. In that case, you'll typically get a ticket in the mail that lists the acceptable amount.


3. How Much Does a Ticket Cost?


The ticket amount will vary by state and type of violation. For example, if you get ticketed for running a red light, and the fine is $100, that amount will stay consistent in every state. The fine amount will depend on the state if you get a ticket for not wearing a seat belt. In general, speeding tickets cost the most, while not having insurance or failing to wear a seat belt will cost the least (but are important violations to take seriously). Be aware that the good ticket amount is separate from the cost of taking the driving class and/or paying for your traffic lawyer.


4. Penalties for Violating Traffic Laws


Suppose you've been cited for a traffic violation. In that case, one of the first things to consider is if the violation warrants a traffic ticket. Some minor violations, such as not wearing a seat belt, will result in a ticket that carries a small fine but isn't anything to stress about. Other violations, such as driving without insurance or a valid license, can result in much more serious penalties. Driving without insurance is a serious offense in most states. It will result in state-mandated fines, possible impoundment of your vehicle, and a serious mark on your record. Driving without a valid license is even more serious. It can result in fines, impoundment, and even jail time if the violation is serious enough. Penalties vary by state and by the violation, but it's important to remember that even a ticket for a minor violation can cause serious problems down the road.


5. Consequences of Accruing Too Many Tickets


You'll have points added to your driving record if you're cited for a traffic violation. Depending on the state, you may be allowed a certain number of tickets before they result in serious penalties, such as mandated driving courses, suspended licenses, and higher insurance rates. The more tickets you get, the more likely you are to face serious penalties that can seriously impact your life, such as higher car insurance rates for you or your spouse. Another is being unable to renew your car insurance. You or your spouse may get a suspended license. You may be unable to rent a vehicle. There can also be an inability to get a job that requires driving. If you're a high-risk driver (such as if you've been cited for many violations), your car insurance company may refuse to cover you completely, resulting in a serious financial impact on your life. If you find yourself getting many tickets, the best thing you can do is to take steps to avoid them in the future.


6. Don't forget to request a trial by written declaration.


This may not be the first option you think of when you receive a traffic ticket, but it's a good option for certain situations. If you have extenuating circumstances that would make it difficult for you to attend the trial in person, such as a medical condition that makes travel difficult, travel restrictions due to employment, or you simply can't afford to take time off work, a trial by written declaration allows you to fight your ticket without having to leave your home or take any time off work. If you choose this option, you'll need to submit a declaration of facts, a proposed defense, and a proposed finding. Once all this information is submitted by the due date, you'll receive your court date and instructions for proceeding from there.


7. Don't miss your deadline to respond to the ticket and request a trial.


If you receive a ticket, you will likely be given a deadline for responding to it and requesting a trial. This date is important to note and keep track of, especially if you plan to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to help you with your case. If you fail to respond to the ticket on time, you can expect to receive a notice of default, which means that the judge has found you guilty of the traffic violation. This doesn't mean that your ticket is a lost cause, but it does mean that you'll have more work to do to fight your ticket and have a good chance of winning. With these seven mistakes in mind, you'll be better prepared to fight your traffic ticket and avoid increased fines or added charges. Remember that these tickets are issued for a good reason, and following the rules on the road is important for safety. If you face a traffic ticket, don't panic—instead, take some time to prepare your response to the ticket and consider hiring a traffic ticket lawyer to help you.


8. Don't assume that you'll automatically be found guilty.


When you request a trial, you have the right to have a judge or a jury hear your side of the story. However, it's important to remember that the judge or jury members don't automatically assume you're guilty simply because you requested a trial. In fact, they are allowed to use discretion in certain cases and are not required to find you guilty. This is especially important if you have extenuating circumstances that led to your tickets, such as a medical condition or an unsafe vehicle. If you're having trouble explaining your situation, be sure to request a continuance or postpone the trial to give yourself more time to prepare.




Driving is a privilege, and traffic violations are a reminder of that fact. They can be stressful, but if you know what to expect, you can be better prepared for whatever may come your way. The best way to deal with traffic violations is to avoid getting them in the first place. This means following traffic laws carefully, putting safety first, and taking responsibility for your actions behind the wheel.

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