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Difference Between A Citation And A Ticket

Driving gives us such an incredible sense of freedom. One that we sometimes take a bit for granted. We’re driving down the highway of life, singing along loudly to our favorite tunes, and not realizing exactly how fast we’re going. Next thing you know there are red and blue lights in your rearview mirror, and you’re being pulled over. What happens next can affect your driving record for a long time, so it’s good to have information on your side.

Know that if you do get a citation or ticket, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll have options to possibly rectify the situation, or have it altered to be a smaller infraction in the eyes of the law, possibly keeping it off your record as well. Keep your chin up, because this article will help you understand how these two things can affect you, and what the differences are.

Will a Citation or Ticket Affect My Car Insurance Premiums?

This is a question best answered in multiple parts. The first part is going to involve you looking up the citation or ticket with your local DMV website to see what penalties are incurred to your driving record according to the statutes around the offense. Penalties for individual driving infractions can, and will, change from state to state. Any citations, or tickets, for nonmoving violations, shouldn’t go on your permanent driving record. This could also include missing, or not up to date, brake tags, a broken light, not wearing your seatbelt, etc. If you do receive a citation or ticket for speeding, or any sort of reckless endangerment, you will have to go to court to plead the ticket/citation down to a lesser infraction for it not to go on your permanent driving record. There are usually time limitations on most infractions staying on your permanent record, but it’s best to avoid them all together, because they will affect your car insurance premiums. When traveling look up local laws for the states you’ll be passing through, and check the speed limits of highways you’ll be traveling. Taking a few precautions will help you avoid any increase in your insurance premiums.

Different Definitions for Citations and Tickets

It’s a commonly asked question. A question that no one wants to be able to answer, because that means they’ve already had one, or both. Thankfully you’ve come here, so you’ll know the difference before it ever happens, or we’ll answer the question for you in case you’re wondering what you’re holding.

Let’s start with a citation. A citation is a legally binding document given to someone violating a traffic law, by a traffic official. Citations can go onto an individual’s driving record, and therefore influence their insurance premiums in the future. The individual given the citation will need to show up in a court of law by the date mandated on the citation. Failure to show up at court on the given date, could allow for much larger penalties, and possibly even a warrant for the negligent party’s arrest. You should never take citations lightly, because they are a legal summons that needs to be decided in a court. Don’t assume you will be proven guilty. Look up the traffic law you are accused of violating, and see if you can argue against the citation. At the least, you may be able to get it mediated to a lesser charge that won’t go on your driving record.

The terms “citation” and “ticket” are commonly interchanged by people, which leads to a bit more confusion as to what the differences are. Whereas citations are a mandatory court summons, stating that you definitely need to show up at traffic court, tickets can often just be paid. Tickets can also be given for parking infractions, and other minor traffic violations, just requiring you to pay a fine. It should be noted, that speeding tickets can go on your record and affect your insurance premiums. It may be very worth your time to show up at traffic court to dispute your ticket, and if you’re driving record is in good standing, they may just lower the charge to a nonmoving violation. Having a violation downgraded can keep it off of your record, and possibly save you a lot of money in the future. Because of the interchangeable nature of the terms “citation” and “ticket”, always make sure to actually read the document handed to you and see what is asked of you. Try never to assume that the right term is being used, and also remember that it’s up to you to show up once you’ve received either. Every state will have different penalties attached to each infraction, so it’s worth looking at the DMV website local to where you received the ticket.

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