Traffic offenses are something that nearly every driver will have to deal
with in their life. Maybe you weren’t paying attention to your speed
and got going a little too fast, or your meter ran out while you were
busy and you came back to discover a ticket on your windshield. Even though
you didn’t intend to break the law, you were still issued a citation.
If this is your first ticket, you may be unsure how to proceed.
Citations are issued for various violations of Kansas traffic law. They
will typically include a statute or code number of the violation as well
as an explanation of how to pay the fine or respond to the ticket. When
you receive a citation, you must respond, by paying the fine, or by appearing
in court. If you do not respond, a warrant may be issued for your arrest
and your license could be suspended.
The Differences Between Traffic Offenses
Moving and Non-Moving Violations
Traffic citations are divided into two categories, based on the reason
the ticket was issued. Your ticket will be classified as either a moving
or non-moving violation.
Moving violations occur when the vehicle is in motion. These include: speeding, driving
under the influence (DUI), or operating a vehicle without a valid license
or insurance, failure to signal, or texting while driving.
Non-moving violations are violations involving paperwork, equipment, or parking. These include:
parking violations, illegal window tint, missing or expired license plates,
or defective lights.
Classifying Traffic Offenses
Traffic offenses fall into three categories: infraction, misdemeanor, and
felony. Infractions, also known as violations, come with the least consequences,
and usually only require a fine. The most severe offenses are classified
as felonies, and often carry sentences of prison time. The severity of
the offense is determined by the amount of danger posed to others, or
the amount of damage incurred. An infraction is commonly issued for driving
a few miles per hour over the limit, driving with taillights that don’t
work, or a similar offense. A misdemeanor can be driving without a valid
license or insurance, a DUI, or reckless driving. A felony will likely
involve injury or extensive damage, leaving the scene of an accident or
vehicular manslaughter or homicide.
What Can You Do?
If you receive a traffic citation, you have several options. Lesser citations
do not require you to appear in court, and you can admit guilt by paying
your fine. The back of the citation will have information on how to pay.
Depending on the county, you may be able to pay your ticket online. If
you choose to pay your fine by mail, include the citation number on the
check or money order. In many jurisdictions, paying a traffic ticket is
considered an admission of guilt. For smaller tickets, it may be worth
paying the fine to avoid court and the associated costs that come with
it. For more severe tickets that can have lasting consequences or cost
you thousands of dollars in fines, you may wish to connect with a traffic
lawyer to help you fight the ticket.
If you decide to appear in court to dispute your ticket, you must arrive
on your scheduled date and enter a plea of “not guilty.” You
may be able to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney, but if no agreement
is reached, a trial will be scheduled to fight the ticket in front of
a judge or jury. If you are required to appear in court, you must appear.
If you do not, a warrant will be issued for your immediate arrest and
your license can be suspended. It is important to contact an experienced
traffic lawyer if this happens, as a traffic attorney will be able to
fight even the most serious charges in court.
What to Do After a Traffic Conviction
Maintaining a good driving record for several years can help clear your
record of former traffic convictions, so you should be sure to drive safely
and obey all traffic laws. You can take a defensive driving course or
traffic school course to clear your record more quickly. If your insurance
premiums were raised because of your conviction, you should ask your insurer
if a defensive driving or traffic school course can help you lower your
Did you receive a traffic ticket? Olathe DUI attorneys at Martin and Wallentine,
LLC can help you fight it. Contact us to learn what we can do to keep
your driving record clear.