What Are the Different Types of Traffic Tickets?

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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 07 March 2020
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All traffic tickets fall into one of two categories: moving and non-moving. A moving violation is a traffic offense committed while in a moving vehicle. For example, running a red traffic light or hitting another vehicle is a moving violation. Non-moving violations are usually the opposite: violations when the vehicle is parked. Sometimes a law enforcement officer issues a non-moving violation for offenses unlikely to cause an accident, like tinting the car windows an illegal shade or installing illegal lights. In general, moving violations are considered more dangerous and therefore generally receive tickets with stiffer penalties.

A speeding traffic ticket is among the most common tickets issued to drivers. The severity of this kind of moving violation depends on how fast the driver was going and on the jurisdiction. For example, traveling one to 10 miles (1.5 to 16 kilometers) per hour over the legal speed limit might result in a fine, but depending on the judge, the fine and ticket severity can usually be reduced — sometimes to nothing. On the other hand, traveling at double that speed or more might lead a severe fine and the suspension of the driver’s license. While it is still possible to reduce the penalty of a severe crime, especially if the driver hires a lawyer, it is unlikely for the ticket to be dismissed.


In some places, seat belts are required by law and the driver is responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers under 16 years of age. Seat belt violations are often inexpensive for one person, but add up if more than one child is found without a safety restraint. Depending on the jurisdiction, a seat belt might also be mandatory for adults sitting in the front seat. This law was implemented in some regions to decrease the amount of fatal injuries in car crashes, and it has been largely successful.

The vast majority of traffic tickets can be dismissed or reduced in court if the violator opts to hire a lawyer or at least defend him or herself by showing up and stating the other side of the story. A fine is common for reduced tickets, though, and people still must usually pay court costs if the ticket comes before a judge. For traffic tickets that result in heavy fines and even jail, traffic school is sometimes mandated by the court, but can also be an option to lower insurance rates. Occasionally, a court makes the decision to suspend someone’s license because he or she is a danger to others, but this is typically reserved for repeat offenders. Repeat offenders are also less likely to have traffic tickets reduced.



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