Traffic Tickets Understanding Information Found on Traffic Tickets

Traffic tickets contain certain information that is important for you to understand and identify after you have been cited for a traffic law violation. What appears on each ticket will depend on the jurisdiction you're in but, in general, most will contain the same or similar items. Additional information such as the amount of your fine and whether you are eligible for traffic school will be typically sent in the mail along with the summons requiring you to appear in court. The kind of information found on a ticket will probably include most if not all of the following:

The Time and Place of the Traffic Violation

The date, time and the location you were stopped for the alleged traffic violation will appear on the ticket. Any mistakes that are made on a traffic ticket by the police officer may be challenged. However, errors do not automatically result in the ticket being dismissed. If the mistake concerns a material element of the ticket, such as the wrong date of the offense or a completely different location, the case against you might be dismissed.

Motor Vehicle Information

When the police officer who stops you is writing out the traffic ticket, he or she will put the make, model, color, registration information and license plate number of your vehicle on the ticket. The officer will also ask you for your driver's license. In addition to identification purposes, a police officer may use this information to perform a search to determine whether there are any outstanding warrants for your arrest.

A Description of the Traffic Infraction

The police officer giving you the ticket will write down a specific traffic offense that you are accused of violating, such as failing to stop at a stop sign or failure to obey a traffic signal (for example, a red light.) You should perform some research to obtain a full description of the law so as to determine and plan any defenses that you may have. The amount of fine will also appear and that should be confirmed as well.

Identification of the Police Officer

The name, badge number and signature of the police officer issuing the ticket will be included on the traffic ticket. In the event that you contest the traffic violation in court, the officer who wrote the ticket will be summoned to appear and affirm the validity of the offense.

Procedure to Contest the Ticket

Information as to how a traffic ticket may be defended will typically be included, such as by mail or with a hearing in traffic court. A court date may be mailed later along with a summons. The exact procedure will vary according to the jurisdiction.

Should you decide to contest a traffic ticket, consulting with an experienced traffic ticket attorney can be most helpful and potentially your best course of action. An attorney will be able to explain more about the process, the offense, the relevant defenses you may have and what your chances are of having the ticket penalties reduced or the ticket dismissed entirely. And showing up in court with an attorney may result in a more favorable outcome, especially if your goal is to reduce the points you may face for the traffic infraction.
About author
Michael Wechsler
Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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Michael Wechsler
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