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A traffic ticket is a notice issued by a law enforcement official to a motorist or other road user, indicating that the user has violated traffic laws. Traffic tickets generally come in two forms, citing a moving violation, such as exceeding the speed limit, or a non-moving violation, such as a parking violation, with the ticket also being referred to as a parking citation, or parking ticket.
In some jurisdictions, a traffic ticket constitutes a notice that a penalty, such as a fine or deduction of points, has been or will be assessed against the driver or owner of a vehicle; failure to pay generally leads to prosecution or to civil recovery proceedings for the fine. In others, the ticket constitutes only a citation and summons to appear at traffic court, with a determination of guilt to be made only in court.
In Australia, traffic laws are made at the state level, usually in their own consolidated Acts of Parliament which have been based upon the Australian Road Rules.
Traffic tickets are known as Traffic infringement notices (TIN's) in NSW. The Roads and Maritime Services (formerly Roads and Traffic Authority) of NSW maintains a database of all registered holders of a driver's licence in NSW, including the driver's traffic history and registered motor vehicles.
The Roads and Maritime Services maintain a number of fixed, and mobile, speed cameras and red light cameras across the State. The State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) manages the processing and issuing of traffic tickets detected and issued by these devices.These tickets are deemed to be 'owner onus' tickets with the vehicles registered owner deemed liable unless they nominate another driver via statutory declaration.
These are generally issued 'on the spot' by a police officer although there are other authorised officers that can issue traffic infringements such as Roads and Maritime Services heavy vehicle inspectors and Traffic Commanders. The infringement notice is written on three carbonised pieces of printed paper, known as Part A, B and C. Part A is the original and is sent to the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) by the issuing officer when they return to the station, Part B stays in the infringement book for accountability and Part C is given to the accused person at the scene or via post. Infringement notices issued by Councils or Commercial Clients by way of electronic handheld devices still have as associated application for details provided on a copy of the Part A, to be made available for perusal if required.
In NSW all Traffic infringement notices (TIN's) and Parking Infringement Notices (PIN's) are part of the Self-Enforcing Infringement Notice Scheme (SEINS). This scheme aims to minimize Court time for people who wish to plead guilty. The accused person can either elect to pay/part pay the infringement by way of a number of online means or through Australia Post, this can be found on the ticket. If the Accused person pays the infringement, they are deemed to have plead guilty and any demerit points will be deducted from their driver's licence. Matters only go to Court if the accused person elects to have the matter heard at Court.
If the accused person wishes to plead not guilty, they fill the reverse side of Part C out and mail it to the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO). Once this is done, a Court date is set for hearing before a Magistrate and the officer is notified. The officer creates a brief of evidence and provides this to the Court and the accused person, this contains a copy of Part A, which includes the facts of the matter i.e. observations and contemporaneous notes, including description of vehicle, and whether or not any photographs of an offending vehicle have been taken. Quite often, an officer will indicate that they have taken only (1) photograph of a vehicle then, when a matter is defended in court and the prosecution provide a brief of evidence with anything up to 4-5 extra photographs this can lead to some of the photographs being excluded as evidence because there is no indication to show on the Part A that they were taken at the time of the offence.
Upon being issued a traffic infringement, or parking infringement notice, (in person or to a vehicle) an accused person will generally receive a penalty reminder notice in the mail approximately 28 days later, if the fine remains unpaid.
Under the Fines Act of 1996 (NSW) Time for service of penalty reminder notices by post, is (7) days unless it is established that it was not served within (7) days. A due date for payment of Penalty Reminder notices under this Act is (21) days after it is served. Generally from the date of an offence approximately (28) days is given, after which time of the due date they will then have approximately an additional 21 days in which to take action, and finalise the matter. This includes (7) to allow for service, and (14) days for action to be taken.
If the fine is not actioned by the due date on the penalty reminder notice, an enforcement order will be issued and additional costs apply. If the enforcement order remains unpaid further enforcement action can follow, which may include suspension of the persons driver licence and/or vehicle registration, restrictions on conducting business with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), garnisheeing of wages, property seizure order or a community service order and additional fees.
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In Canada, most traffic laws are made at the provincial level. However, some serious violations are criminal offences, contrary to the federal Criminal Code. Both levels of government may deal with different aspects of the same misconduct. For example, drinking and driving may be a criminal offence of driving while impaired, or driving with a blood alcohol level greater than .08. At the same time, most provinces have laws specifying administrative penalties for driving with a blood alcohol level which does not exceed the criminal blood alcohol level of .08, in particular for newly licensed drivers.
Each province maintains a database of motorists, including their convicted traffic violations. Upon being ticketed, a motorist has a chance to plead guilty or not guilty with an explanation. The motorist or their representative must attend the court for the town or city in which the violation took place to do so.
If the motorist pleads not guilty, a trial date is set and both the motorist, or a lawyer/paralegal representing the motorist, and the ticketing officer, are required to attend. If the officer fails to attend, the court judge will often find in favour of the motorist and dismiss the charge, although sometimes the trial date is moved to give the officer another chance to attend. In some provinces, officers are now paid time and a half to attend traffic proceedings. The court will also make provisions for the officer or the prosecutor to achieve a deal with the motorist, often in the form of a plea bargain. If no agreement is reached, both motorist and officer, or their respective representatives, formally attempt to prove their case before the judge or Justice of Peace, who then decides the matter.
If the motorist pleads guilty, the outcome is equivalent to conviction after trial. Upon conviction, the motorist is generally fined a monetary amount and, for moving violations, is additionally given demerit points, under each province's point system. Jail time is sometimes sought in more serious cases such as racing or stunt driving.
In the province of Ontario, drivers who are convicted of certain driving related offences result in demerit points recorded onto their driving records. It is commonly misconceived that drivers actually "lose" points due to convictions for certain traffic offences. In fact, a driver begins with zero demerit points and accumulates demerit points for convictions. Demerit points stay on a driver's record for two years from the original offence date. If a driver accumulates enough points, a suspension/loss of licence can occur.
For a fully licensed driver in Ontario, the accumulation of six demerit points results in a “warning” letter. At nine points, the driver is scheduled a mandatory interview to discuss their record and give specific reasonings as to why the licence should not be suspended. If a driver fails to attend this meeting, their licence may be automatically suspended. At 15 or more points, a driver's licence will be suspended for 30 days. Surrendering a licence to the Ministry of Transportation is mandatory at this stage; failure to surrender the licence may result in a suspension/loss for up to two years.
Traffic violations in India are listed out in the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988. The state government has the rights to decide on the officials who are to do traffic rule enforcement and how traffic citations are issued. Generally the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) and Traffic Police (which is part of the general law and order police force) are allowed to book traffic violations. Officers of and above the rank of Asst. Motor Vehicle Inspector (A.MVI) and Sub-Inspector in charge of the Traffic Police wing have the right to levy on-the-spot fines from the violators. This is known as compounding an offence. Fines would be paid on the spot and a Challan (receipt) would be given to the driver. Off late officers on Highway Police duty are also authorised to levy spot fines...
Other officers issue a Vehicle Check report which lists out the violations noticed on the driver or on the vehicle. The notice would contain the relevant sections in which the driver is charged and also a date to appear in court. The accused can plead guilty by sending a Postal Money order (MO) to the court indicating that he is pleading guilty. Otherwise he/she can appear in person in the court and contest the case. The police officers who prepared the check report and charge sheet would be in the court. The court which handles these cases are the Judicial First Class Magistrate Courts and the trial is a summary trial (which means if a person is found guilty, he/she cannot appeal to higher courts).
For drivers who drive under the influence of liquor or other narcotic substance, on-the-spot fine cannot be levied. The driver would be taken to a hospital and a medical report made out. The accused should appear in court. A driver can also insist that he/she would not be paying the fine at the spot and the case have to be heard in the magistrate's court. In such a case the Police officer should issue a notice for appearance in the court.
In the city of Kolkata, certain traffic violations such as breaking a red light results in traffic police sending a ticket to the driver's home address. The ticket has to be paid to a state or central bank.
Indian Police forces do not have mobile credit card readers, so the fine is generally paid in cash.
In the Republic of Ireland, a traffic ticket (which is mailed out to the driver) is in the form of a notice alleging that some crime — traffic offences are all criminal offences — has been committed, but stating that if a payment of a certain amount is made to the Garda Síochána within 28 days, or the amount increased by 50% is paid within 56 days, the driver will not be prosecuted for the alleged offence. Some tickets carry penalty points as well as the fine.
Most of Scandinavia determines some traffic fines based on income. For example, Finland's system for calculating fines starts with an estimate of the amount of spending money a Finn has for one day, and then divides that by two. The resulting number is considered a "reasonable" amount of spending money to deprive the offender of. Then, based on the severity of the crime, the system has rules for how many days the offender must go without that money. For example, driving about 15 mph over the speed limit results in a multiplier of 12 days. Most reckless drivers pay between $30 and $50 per day, for a total of about $400 or $500. In 2002, a Nokia executive was fined the equivalent of $103,000 for driving at 75 km/h (47 mph) in a 50 km/h (31 mph) zone on his motorcycle. Estonia (across the Baltic from Scandinavia) is experimenting with a "time out" in lieu of fines: the motorist waits at the side of the road for 45 minutes or an hour.
In the United States, most traffic laws are codified in a variety of state, county and municipal laws or ordinances, with most minor violations classified as infractions, civil charges or criminal charges. The classification of the charge depends on the violation itself as well as the jurisdiction, with infractions, civil charges and criminal charges relating to different standards of proof, trial rules and punishments.
What constitutes a "minor violation" or infraction varies, examples include non-moving violations, defective or improper vehicle equipment, seat belt and child-restraint safety violations, and insufficient proof of license, insurance or registration. A trend in the late 1970s and early 1980s also saw an increased tendency for jurisdictions to re-classify certain speeding violations as civil infractions.In contrast, for more "serious" violations, traffic violators may be held criminally liable, accused of a misdemeanor or even a felony. Serious violations tend to involve multiple prior offenses, willful disregard of public safety, death or serious bodily injury, or damage to property. A frequently used penalty is a fine, and this is ordinarily a fixed amount of money, instead of being an amount of money determined based on the facts of each individual case.
If the motorist wishes to contest a traffic infraction, a hearing can be set by the court upon proper request.The hearings are before a magistrate or judge depending on the state or city. Hearing dates may potentially be adjourned, and witnesses or police officers may be subpoenaed to appear in court.
At any point after the issuance of a ticket, a motorists may retain an attorney to represent them in a traffic infraction.Retaining or consulting an attorney may be beneficial to the motorist because an attorney would better understand how to contest an infraction in any given state or municipality. Attorneys may offer full representation in court, taking a case from inception to disposal and potentially appeals, although it may be possible for a defendant to retain a lawyer to discuss legal options, identify important defenses, and determine a defense strategy without hiring the lawyer to provide in-court representation.
The motorist may be given the opportunity to schedule a hearing for a time at which the subpoenaed ticketing officer is unable to attend. If the officer or representative fails to attend the trial for a civil infraction, the trial court may adjourn the hearing to a date upon which the officer is able to appear or, particularly if good cause is not shown for the officer's absence, the court judge may dismiss the charge.
Although each judge, state, county or municipality handle contested hearings a little differently, the court may make provisions for the prosecutor to achieve a deal with the motorist, often in the form of a plea bargain that may reduce the impact from that which would be incurred from pleading guilty without attending court.If no agreement is reached, and the prosecutor feels it is worth his time to charge the motorist, both motorist and officer, or their respective representatives, formally attempt to prove their case before the judge, who then decides the matter.
In some states and for criminal traffic violations, the judge may also order a jury trial, in which case a jury will hear arguments from both sides, and then consider the facts in the case and render a verdict.The motorist may, for example, put forward a reason their alleged violation was justified, such as to "get out of the way of an ambulance or avoid a collision with another motorist", and call into doubt the level to which the officer recalls the specific details of the situation among the many tickets they have issued.
In Washington state, there is a local option for courts to permit a decision on written statements, without the officer's live appearance in court.California offers a procedure in which both the officer and the ticketed driver may appear in writing, through a Trial by Written Declaration.
Some states permit challenging a traffic infraction through a written statement instead of appearing in court. For example, California's Vehicle Code Section 40902 permits individuals to obtain a trial by written declaration instead of making an in-court appearance.
Each state's Department of Motor Vehicles or Bureau of Motor Vehicles maintains a database of motorists, including their convicted traffic violations. Upon being ticketed, a motorist is given the option to mail into the local court or the court for the jurisdiction in which the violation is alleged—a plea of guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere within a certain time frame (usually ten to fifteen days, although courts generally provide leniency in this regard). Additionally, the motorist can request a mitigation hearing, which acknowledges that the driver is guilty of a moving violation, but is requesting a hearing with a judge to reduce the fines associated with the ticket.
If the motorist pleads guilty, the outcome is equivalent to a conviction after the hearing. Upon conviction, the motorist is generally fined a monetary amount and, for moving violations, is additionally assessed a penalty under each state's point system. If a motorist is convicted of a violation in a state other than the state in which the motorist is registered, information about the ticket is relayed in accord with state policy and agreements between the two states, including the Non-Resident Violator Compact. If the ticket information is not abstracted to the state in which the motorist is licensed, then the record of the conviction remains local to the state where the violation took place.
The practice of ticket fixing by police officers is a recurring source of controversy in the United States. Police officers in many jurisdictions surreptitiously cancel tickets as a "professional courtesy" to the friends and family of other police officers. This practice is not legal in most jurisdictions, but enforcement is often lax, leading to periodic scandals.
There are many competing claims as to the first speeding ticket ever issued depending whether the claim goes by the first traffic violation or the first paper ticket ever issued. Great Britain may have the earliest claim with the first person to be convicted of speeding, Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent, who on 28 January 1896 was fined for speeding at 8 mph (13 km/h) in a 2 mph (3.2 km/h) zone. He was fined 1 shilling plus costs. A New York City cab driver named Jacob German was arrested for speeding on May 20, 1899 for driving 12 miles per hour on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. In Dayton, Ohio, police issued a paper ticket to Harry Myers for going twelve miles per hour on West Third Street in 1904.
Another early speeding ticket was issued in 1910 to Lady Laurier, the wife of Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, for exceeding the 10 miles per hour speed limit.
The fastest convicted speeder in the UK was Daniel Nicks, convicted of 175 mph (282 km/h) on a Honda Fireblade motorcycle in 2000. He received six weeks in jail and was banned from driving for two full years. The fastest UK speeder in a car was Timothy Brady, caught driving a 3.6-litre Porsche 911 Turbo at 172 mph (277 km/h) on the A420 in Oxfordshire in January 2007 and jailed for 10 weeks and banned from driving for 3 years.
The most expensive speeding ticket ever given is believed to be the one given to Jussi Salonoja in Helsinki, Finland, in 2003. Salonoja, the 27-year-old heir to a company in the meat-industry, was fined 170,000 euros for driving 80 km/h in a 40 km/h zone. The uncommonly large fine was due to Finnish speeding tickets (when excess speed is considerable) being relative to the offender's last known income. Salonoja's speeding ticket was not the first ticket given in Finland reaching six figures.
A moving violation is any violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term "motion" distinguishes it from other motor vehicle violations, such as paperwork violations, parking violations, or equipment violations. Moving violations often increase insurance premiums.
Traffic court is a specialized judicial process for handling traffic ticket cases. In the United States, people who are given a citation by a police officer can plead guilty and pay the indicated fine directly to the court house, by mail, or on the Internet. A person who wishes to plead not guilty or otherwise contest the charges is required to appear in court on the predetermined date on the citation, where they may argue before the judge or negotiate with the prosecutor before being called to appear in front of the judge. Most prosecutors will not negotiate with someone who does not have a lawyer. The person may also request a trial by written declaration in the following states: California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, and Wyoming. In the case of a trial by written declaration, the accused does not have to be present in the court room; they may just explain the reason to defense for the case. The officer will also be required to turn in his or her declaration. The judge will then make a decision based on the declarations and evidence from both sides. At the conclusion of the written trial the accused is allowed to request a new in-person hearing if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the written trial, by filing a trial de novo request.
Mobile phone use while driving is common but it is widely considered dangerous due to its potential for causing distracted driving and crashes. Due to the number of crashes that are related to conducting calls on a phone and texting while driving, some jurisdictions have made the use of calling on a phone while driving illegal. Many jurisdictions have enacted laws to ban handheld mobile phone use. Nevertheless, many jurisdictions allow use of a hands-free device. Driving while using a hands-free device is not safer than using a handheld phone to conduct calls, as concluded by case-crossover studies, epidemiological, simulation, and meta-analysis. In some cases restrictions are directed only at minors, those who are newly qualified license holders, or to drivers in school zones. In addition to voice calling, activities such as texting while driving, web browsing, playing video games, or phone use in general can also increase the risk of a crash.
Causing death by dangerous driving is a statutory offence in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is an aggravated form of dangerous driving. It is currently created by section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Many countries have adopted a penalty point or demerit point system under which a person’s driving license is cancelled or suspended based on the number of points accumulated by them over a period of time because of the traffic offences or infringements committed by them in that period. The demerit points schemes of each jurisdiction varies. These demerit schemes are usually in addition to fines or other penalties which may be imposed for a particular offence or infringement, or after a prescribed number of points have been accumulated.
Decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE) is the name given in the United Kingdom to the civil enforcement of car parking regulations, carried out by civil enforcement officers, operating on behalf of a local authority. The Road Traffic Act 1991 provided for the decriminalisation of parking-related contraventions committed within controlled parking zones (CPZ) administered by local councils across the UK. The CPZs under the control of the local councils are also referred to as yellow routes and they can be easily identified with yellow lines marked on the roads with relevant time plates. Councils employ parking attendants to enforce their CPZs directly.
Nick Freeman is an English solicitor. Freeman is the owner of Manchester-based legal practice Freeman & Co. and is best known as a celebrity defence lawyer, specialising in traffic and speeding offences.
Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113 (1998), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court which ruled that the Fourth Amendment prohibits a police officer from further searching a vehicle which was stopped for a minor traffic offense once the officer has written a citation for the offense.
Motorway Patrol is a New Zealand observational documentary show created by Greenstone Pictures. The show follows the daily lives of police officers patrolling the motorways of New Zealand.
Driving in the United Kingdom is governed by various legal powers and in some cases is subject to the passing of a driving test. The government produces a Highway Code that details the requirements for all road users, including drivers. Unlike most other countries in the world, UK traffic drives on the left.
In India, a driving licence is an official document that authorises its holder to operate various types of motor vehicles on highways and some other roads to which the public have access. In various Indian states, they are administered by the Regional Transport Authorities/Offices (RTA/RTO). A driving licence is required in India by any person driving a vehicle on any highway or other road defined in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) is legislation in Ontario, Canada, which regulates the licensing of vehicles, classification of traffic offences, administration of loads, classification of vehicles and other transport-related issues. First introduced in 1923 to deal with increasing accidents during the early years of motoring in Ontario, and replacing earlier legislation such as the Highway Travel Act, there have been amendments due to changes to driving conditions and new transportation trends. For example, in 2009, the Act was revised to ban the use of cell phones while driving.
In United Kingdom law, dangerous driving is a statutory offence. It is also a term of art used in the definition of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving. It replaces the former offence of reckless driving. Canada's Criminal Code has equivalent provisions covering dangerous driving.
In Brazil, a driver's licence is required in order to drive cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles. Current CNHs can be used as identity cards in all the national territory.
Headlight flashing is the act of either briefly switching on the headlights of a car, or of momentarily switching between a headlight's high beams and low beams, in an effort to communicate with another driver or drivers. The signal is sometimes referred to in car manufacturers' manuals as an optical horn, since it draws the attention of other drivers.
The laws of driving under the influence vary between countries. One difference is the acceptable limit of blood alcohol content before a person is charged with a crime.
Speed limit enforcement is the effort made by appropriately empowered authorities to improve driver compliance with speed limits. Methods used include roadside speed traps set up and operated by the police and automated roadside 'speed camera' systems, which may incorporate the use of an automatic number plate recognition system. Traditionally, police officers used stopwatches to measure the time taken for a vehicle to cover a known distance. More recently, radar guns and automated in-vehicle systems have come into use.
Road speed limit enforcement in the United Kingdom is the action taken by appropriately empowered authorities to attempt to persuade road vehicle users to comply with the speed limits in force on the UK's roads. Methods used include those for detection and prosecution of contraventions such as roadside fixed speed cameras, average speed cameras, and police-operated LIDAR speed guns or older radar speed guns. Vehicle activated signs and Community Speed Watch schemes are used to encourage compliance. Some classes of vehicles are fitted with speed limiters and intelligent speed adaptation is being trialled in some places on a voluntary basis.
In traffic laws, a hit and run or a hit-and-run is the act of causing a traffic accident and not stopping afterwards – fleeing the scene. It is considered a supplemental crime in most jurisdictions.
In Trinidad and Tobago, a citizen can begin the application process for a learner's permitat the age of 17. Licenses to drive are commonly referred to in Trinidad and Tobago as Drivers' Permits. Drivers' Permits are issued by the Licensing Authority, which is governed by the Ministry of Works and Transport. In order to legally operate any motor vehicle in Trinidad and Tobago on public-owned-roads, the operator of the motor vehicle must be in possession of a valid Driver's Permit on their person and is legally endorsed for that class of vehicle. Contravention to the aforementioned can warrant a fine of up to TT$1500 and imprisonment.