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Citation Definition

A citation is a piece of paper given to an individual by a law enforcement officer listing their various traffic violations. It is possible to have several different offenses listed on the same citation depending on the violations that the driver committed and what the law enforcement officer has decided to list on the citation.

What Are the Different Kinds of Citations?

There are several different kinds of citations that are listed below:

Moving Violations

Moving violations are violations that have occurred related to the driving and operation of a motor vehicle. The possible penalties for moving violations could potentially include proof of correction, attendance to a traffic violator school, a fine, posting bail, entering a plea of not guilty or requesting a court trial.

Correctable Violations (The Fix-It Ticket)

In the United States, there are several requirements for vehicles to be able to drive on the road legally. The following is required of each vehicle to avoid citations:

  • Smog Inspection
  • Vehicle Registration
  • No Major Safety Issues 
  • Car Insurance 

Smog Inspection: one requirement is that the vehicle must pass a smog inspection once it has originally been imported into the United States. One the vehicle has passed, smog registration tags are put on the license plate that must be renewed in accordance with the guidelines that vary in each state.

Vehicle Registration: another requirement in the United States is to register your vehicle. Having a vehicle registration will help protect your vehicle if it has been stolen. If you are pulled over by a police officer and do not have valid vehicle registration, you may be liable to pay a fine.

No Major Safety Issues: if you have one of your bumpers practically on the ground or you don't have your tail lights working, a law enforcement officer has the legal right to stop you and give you a citation to fix the safety issues with your car. The tail lights issue is a common one because if other drivers can't see when you are braking, then they are more apt to run into you and cause car accidents.

Car Insurance: most states require that each driver is insured. The reason for this is to cover damages to other drivers or public property from car accidents. In some states, law enforcement officers will charge you a fine related to lack of car insurance and a citation to fix the problem and obtain car insurance.

What Is Traffic School?

Traffic School is a requirement for some tickets where it is a full one or two-day class where drivers have to learn the rules of the road again. Traffic school is issued to force some form of educational process to avoid having further driving issues in the future. If an individual is assigned traffic school and does not complete the requirement, they will have to pay a fine and, in some cases, they could even lose their driver’s license.

What About Drivers Under the Age of 18?

Juvenile drivers are not immune to receiving traffic citations. In fact, they are amongst some of the most common offenders. In some states, it is illegal for new drivers to drive with their friends until they have been driving for at least six months. If a police officer catches them, they can be issued a citation, be required to pay a fine, and have to attend traffic school. Juvenile drivers have a great deal of risk when they get citations because if they get too many, they could lose their license or have far higher premiums on car insurance policies. It is essential to be very careful when you are a juvenile driver to gain experience and not get into trouble with law enforcement officers.

What If I Have Obtained Multiple Citations?

Multiple citations are not something to take lightly. A law enforcement officer will be able to research your driving record to see if you have any recent offenses. If you have several, you may have a more substantial fine or even have your license suspended or revoked depending on the severity of your traffic violations.

Citation Glossary Definition

A citation is given to an individual for violating a traffic law within the United States. Citations are more commonly known as traffic tickets. Traffic citations and their many penalties can vary within the United States depending on the severity of the violation and the state in which the violation occurred. It is important to follow the requirements of citations to avoid having larger fines or your license suspended.