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Traffic Ticket Myths Debunked: Separating Fact from Fiction

April 10, 2024

Receiving a traffic ticket might seem like a significant event. And there are a ton of myths and theories floating around about what you can and cannot do about it. So that you are fully aware of the differences, let’s dispel a few of those misconceptions with simple facts.

Understanding Traffic Tickets

Following the law is crucial for everyone’s safety while driving. However, sometimes, errors occur or circumstances emerge that result in a motorist being issued a traffic citation. Let’s understand traffic tickets in more detail, as well as the kinds of penalties you may get and the consequences of getting one.

A traffic ticket is what you get when a police officer thinks you broke a road rule. This could be for speeding, not stopping at a stop sign, or parking where you shouldn’t. Some tickets are just for small things, but others can be more serious.

Traffic Ticket Types

When we talk about traffic rules being broken, we’re really diving into two main buckets: parking and moving violations. Each plays by its own set of rules and dings you differently if you’re caught.

  • Parking Violations: Think of this as the “you can’t leave your car here” category. Whether it’s squeezing into a spot where your car should never be (like those tempting no-parking zones), overstaying your welcome in a spot with a clear time limit, or blocking essential urban infrastructure (hello, fire hydrant), these are the moves that get you a parking ticket.
  • Moving Violations: Violations that take place while the car is moving are known as moving violations. Speeding, failing to stop for pedestrians, disobeying red lights or stop signs, making unauthorized turns, and several other violations are among them. Because moving violations endanger public safety, they are usually seen as more severe than parking violations.

The Consequences of Traffic Tickets

Getting a traffic citation has more consequences than simply having to pay the money. Some possible outcomes are as follows:

  • Fees & Fines: A financial penalty is often imposed for most tickets. Depending on the jurisdiction and the infraction, the sum might vary significantly.
  • Points on Your Driving Record: To monitor driver conduct, certain areas use a point system. Too many points may result in increased insurance costs and, in some situations, license suspension.
  • Increased Insurance Rates: Because drivers with recent traffic violations are seen to be at greater risk, insurance companies often hike their rates.
  • Possibility of Driving Privileges Suspension: Drivers who commit major violations or earn an excessive number of points may have their license suspended or canceled.

Depending on the regulations in your area, choosing to attend traffic school may help you avoid receiving points on your record. This method often entails enrolling in and paying for a traffic school.

Now let’s check myths about traffic tickets. 

Myth 1: There’s No Big Deal About Traffic Tickets

Some people think getting a ticket isn’t a big deal. But it can be. It might cost you money, affect your driver’s license, and make your car insurance more expensive. And if the ticket is for something serious, it could even mean trouble with the law.

Myth 2: You Have to Pay Every Ticket

A lot of people believe that paying the ticket and moving on is their only option. It’s not always the case, however. By paying, you acknowledge that you made a mistake. Sometimes, you can go to a special driving class instead of paying, or you can ask a judge to look at your case if you think you didn’t do anything wrong.

Myth 3: Driving School Fixes Everything

Going to traffic school doesn’t erase your ticket. But it can stop bad points from getting added to your driving record. That’s good because too many points can make your insurance cost more or cause other problems.

Myth 4: Lawyers Can Make Any Ticket Disappear

It is sometimes quite beneficial to speak with an experienced traffic ticket lawyer. While they have expertise in highway traffic law, they can’t make every ticket go away. There are no magic techniques, but they may help you understand your alternatives and perhaps even improve your situation.

If your case goes to trial, a legal professional’s skill in presenting arguments and understanding court procedures can be crucial. However, their ability to influence your case’s outcome depends on the specifics of the situation and the evidence at hand.

Myth 5: All Canadian Tickets Are the Same

Traffic tickets and fines in Canada can change depending on where you are. The idea that all provinces in Canada handle speeding and traffic laws the same way is a myth. While every province does regulate speed and enforce fines for exceeding limits, the specifics vary. The amount you’re fined and how many demerit points you get can differ significantly from one province to another. These differences affect how quickly fines escalate with speed and at what point your license might be suspended. So, it’s important to know that while the goal of road safety is consistent, the rules and consequences for speeding are not uniform across Canada.

What If You Don’t Agree with the Ticket?

If you think the ticket was a mistake, you can ask a higher court to look at it again.

Myth 6: Appeals Are Easy and Often Win

Appealing a traffic ticket isn’t simple, it involves complex legal processes and there’s no guarantee of success. An appeal requires you to argue that the original decision had legal errors, which can be challenging to prove. Given these complexities, having a lawyer’s help is often crucial. They can guide you on whether to appeal, help prepare your case, and represent you, making the process more manageable and increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.

Legal Professionals: Your Allies

Legal professionals with a focus on traffic law are essential when facing traffic violations. They can offer clarity on traffic violations and criminal charges, assist with appealing a traffic court decision, and provide representation if needed. Their expertise simplifies the legal process, improves your chances of a favourable outcome, and reduces the stress of navigating the legal system. Whether it’s advice or court representation you need, a traffic law expert can significantly impact the resolution of your case.

Remember that your greatest defense against traffic penalties is having accurate knowledge of the situation. Need legal support? Subscribe to LawVo.

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