Going to Court

Understanding traffic cases

A traffic violation is not a civil matter—that is, a legal dispute between you and another person or business. So, it’s not the kind of issue we help with in depth on this site. But we can direct you to the kind of information you need to move forward.

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

We don't deal with traffic-related legal issues in depth on this site. But we can direct you to the kind of information you need to move forward.

If you're facing a serious traffic violation that could send you to jail, contact a lawyer. If you are low income, you should ask for or apply for a public defender to represent you. A public defender is a lawyer who is paid by the government to work on criminal cases.

Learn more about criminal cases here. 

Most traffic violations (sometimes called moving violations) result in fines or points. A fine is the amount of money you will be required to pay for your violation. Points can have a longer-term effect. Points are marks against your driving record, which the state tracks by your driver's license number. The number of points you get for each driving offense depends on how serious it is. If you get enough points, you can lose your driver's license.

In general, the seriousness of driving offenses fall into three categories: 

  • Minor misdemeanors like speeding tickets, which cost you a fine and points
  • First-degree misdemeanors like driving drunk or under the influence of drugs, which can result in suspension of your driver’s license and jail time
  • Criminal offenses that caused death or injury to another person, which can result in jail time

Again, if you are facing risk of jail time, contact a lawyer. It might also be worth talking to a lawyer if you're in danger of losing your license. They might be able to help you with options to get some of the  points on your record removed. 

Forms and Letters

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Local Government and Community Resources

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