A traffic ticket is a notice issued by a law enforcement official to a motorist or other road user accusing violation of traffic laws. A traffic ticket, also known as an infraction or citation, can be imposed for offenses such as speeding, running a red light, failing to obey a traffic control sign or signal, careless driving, or driving while driving impaired.

A person who receives a traffic ticket can elect a plea of either guilty (admitting guilt) or not guilty (the charge is disputed), or the driver can elect to take no action.

Although it seems like everything and everyone is online these days, the motor vehicle code continues to be an essential resource for those dealing with traffic infractions due to the extensive rules, regulations, and penalties with which drivers must contend. Those rules cover a wide variety of subjects, such as moving violations like drunk driving and speeding, as well as violations based on the condition or status of a vehicle, such as expired registration.

Suppose you were stopped by a police officer for speeding or other traffic violations or received a traffic ticket in some different manner; the location of the traffic stop should be clearly stated on the citation you received. Each local law enforcement agency (city police department, county sheriff's office, state highway patrol) has the authority to issue citations in a specific geographical area, though these areas overlap.

If a police officer stopped you for speeding or other traffic violations, the citation should state the location and name of that agency. If you were pulled over by a law enforcement officer or cited for an offense on private property, such as a gas station, it might refer to "Calhoun County Sheriff's Department."

Suppose you were given a citation while driving on public property, such as a roadway or sidewalk. In that case, it might refer to "Highway Patrol," "City Police Officer," or the name of the police department for the city in which it was issued. If you were given a citation while on private property, the source will state, "Calhoun County Sheriff's Department."

Being caught speeding in the United States results in a citation from an officer. The ticket itself serves as the official public notice that the driver is violating the basic rules of the road.

While simply paying the fine associated with the ticket is a more uncomplicated course of action, a driver may choose to challenge the ticket. This may result in the access being changed to a more straightforward charge, such as a reduced number of miles per hour over the limit, non-moving violation, or some other less costly infraction.

The charge of driving under the influence (DUI) is serious business. California defines a DUI as any instance of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. Drinking alcohol reduces coordination, impairs judgment, alters mood, and slows reaction time.

Minimum License Suspension

The following offenses have a minimum 90-day license suspension.
Reckless Driving:
  • Reckless driving occurs when another traffic offense causes serious bodily injury or death to another person.
  • Endangering Another Person is committed when someone knows or has reason to know that the other person is in residence. A residence can be inhabited or unoccupied.
  • Passing a School Bus is committed when a person passes or attempts to pass a bus that is stopped while loading or unloading children or a person standing or approaching the bus.
  • Driving with broken equipment, such as broken headlights or taillights, is a traffic violation. The seriousness of the violation typically reflects the potential harm that can result from the activity.
For example, if a vehicle with a broken taillight is encountered at night, it may be impossible for a police officer to see the taillight from a reasonable distance. This prevents the officer from identifying the vehicle quickly and inconveniences the police officer.

This can also place other drivers and pedestrians at risk, but doing so creates an even worse situation. So, driving with broken headlights or taillights is usually punished with a warning or a small ticket that merely requires the equipment to be repaired.

Driving under the influence (DUI) and going while impaired (DWI) are both traffic offenses in which a driver is caught operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, including prescription or over-the-counter medicines. Even taking a new medication prescribed by your physician while driving could lead to a DUI charge if an officer suspects the drug is impairing your ability to operate a vehicle safely.