Glossary of Traffic Ticket Terms
AFFIDAVIT – A signed document, which is notarized, that is submitted to the court as your position on a matter. See Letter of Authorization.
ALIVE AT 25 – This is a class that some courts will allow you to take to get fines or points reduced. Also see diversion program. Also see defensive driving class.
APPEAL -The act of removing a case to a higher Court for review and potential revision of the lower Court’s judicial action.
BAIL – The surety or sureties who procure the release of a person under arrest; by becoming responsible for his appearance at the time and place designated. Those persons who become sureties for the appearance of the defendant in Court. To free a person arrested or imprisoned, on security being taken for his appearance on a day and a place certain before the Court, which security is called “bail”; to deliver the defendant to persons who become security for his appearance in Court.
BAIL AMOUNT – Amount of fines and/or fees that must be paid for the traffic infraction, traffic violation or traffic ticket. As required by the court, when using a Trial by Written Declaration, you must pay your bail (the fine of your ticket) up-front when processing your paperwork. When you mail your documents include a check payable to Superior Court for your bail amount. If you do not know the bail amount or if you have not received your courtesy notice from the court, call the court to get the bail amount for your citation. Will you get your bail back if found “not guilty”? Yes. If you are found “not guilty,” the court will return the bail to the person that paid the bail.
BAILIFF – A person that maintains courtroom order, security and jury custody. In Traffic Court, this is the officer who will take any documents needed from you and provide them to the Judge. Don’t approach the Judge when providing documents. Hand the documents to the bailiff.
BOND – In many Traffic Violation Bureau (TVB) cases, the majority of which are traffic tickets in NYC, the Judge will require payment of a $40 cash bond on a ticket. It’s a refundable deposit and, as long as a motorist shows for court on the next hearing date, it will be returned
CALENDAR -The cases set for hearing or trial in a specific department, on a given date and time, are referred to collectively as that department’s calendar.
CALENDARED -A case which has been set for a specific date, time and department, whether for hearing or trial, is said to have been calendared.
CELL PHONE TICKET – Also see Texting Ticket – There are various kinds of cell phone tickets ranging from talking on the phone to texting. You are not supposed to have a cell phone in your hand while behind the wheel of a vehicle. If you do, that is NOT considered “hands free” and you can get a ticket even if the phone is off or if you’re using the cell phone as a GPS.
CITATION -(a) A form of writ issued by a Court commanding the cite to appear in Court in a specific date and time; (b) A reference to a specific code section or case used in support of a legal argument or opinion; (c) A traffic ticket issued to document alleged violation of a Vehicle Code Section.
CONTEMPT -A willful disregard of the authority of a Court or judicial or legislative body, or disobedience to its lawful orders.
COP – Constable On Patrol – A police officer
CORRECTABLE VIOLATION – Something on the vehicle that needs to be repaired or corrected (darkened window next to driver, broken tail light, etc.) There is usually no fine if problem is corrected and checked by police by the deadline. Sometimes the deadline is 24 hours.
COURTESY NOTICE – A paper you might get in the mail after you receive a citation – provides court information.
DEFENSIVE DRIVING CLASS – With defensive driving classes, drivers learn to improve their driving skills by reducing their driving risks by anticipating situations and making safe well-informed decisions. Such decisions are implemented based on road and environmental conditions present when completing a safe driving maneuver. In New York, this can be taken in person or online. It is currently a six hour program. When done, you can often show your class certificate to your insurance agent and receive a ten percent reduction on insurance. Before taking the class, contact your insurance agent, and ask what they need if they offer the discount. The completion of this class can OFFSET up to four points on your license. This is considered an easy class. If you are taking the class to reduce your insurance, you can take it once every thirty six months. If you are taking it to reduce points, you can take it once every eighteen months. Some courts will let you take it again, in less than eighteen months, and still offer you a point reduction in exchange for you attending another class.
DISMISSAL – An order or judgment finally disposing of an action, suit, motion, etc., without a trial of the issues involved.
DIVERSION CLASS – A class that some courts will allow you to attend in order for you to get a better deal on the fines and points on your tickets. These classes are often a few hours in length. There is typically a separate fee to be paid for the class. Some classes have a quiz used as a tool for the class administrators to gauge your understanding of the class topic. There are different kinds of diversion classes. For example, child safety, speeding, cell phone use, etc.
DMV – Department of Motor Vehicles
DMV Abstract – A form which is completed to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles in Sacramento of the disposition of violations of specified sections of the Vehicle Code and some Penal Code sections.
DUI – Driving under the influence.
DWI – Driving while intoxicated – sometimes called driving while impaired.
DWAI – Driving while ability impaired – Generally, it is a lesser charge than DWI
EVIDENCE OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – The paper that proves you have insurance. This is sometimes called proof of insurance or the insurance letter.
FAILURE TO APPEAR – If you (1) skip out on your court date, (2) decide not to show up for court, (3) forget to show up for court, or (4) show up on the wrong day, it is considered Failure to Appear on your court date. When you signed your traffic ticket, you made a promise to either go to court or, in some cases, pay the fine. If you do not go to court or pay your fine, your driver’s license can be suspended. In addition, you may not be able to renew your car’s registration. The judge can also charge you with “failure to pay a fine.” If that happens, the court can charge you with a misdemeanor and issue a warrant for your arrest or add an additional fee (called a “civil assessment”).
FELONY – A very serious crime that could result in going to jail.
FINE – The money you pay as a form of remediation for your ticket transgression. Sometimes called bail.
GPS – Global Positioning System – Used for navigation while driving. Smart Phones have these built into the phone.
INFRACTION – A minor crime, such as a traffic ticket. You pay a fine and there is no risk of going to jail.
LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION – A letter that you sign which gives an attorney the right to communicate with the court, and accept a plea, on your behalf. Some judges will require this document to be notarized.
MISDEMEANOR – A serious crime that could result in going to jail.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT PREVENTION COURSE – See PIRP
PIRP – Point and Insurance Reduction Program – In New York, this is also known as the Defensive Driving Course or Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention Course. It is a comprehensive driver safety course which provides knowledge and techniques for safe and lawful driving. Private companies and organizations all over the state offer the course.
POINTS -Points are what can count against you on your driving record, and could cause your license to be revoked or suspended depending on the number you have received in particular periods of time. If found guilty of your traffic ticket, traffic infraction or traffic violation, after you pay your fine, points can show up on your DMV record Sometimes the court will let you attend a class that can get you a point reduction. Sometimes this can keep points from getting onto your license. Sometimes points can be offset too.
POST A BOND – see BOND
REDUCTION – When you receive a “reduction” this typically means your points (see points) are getting reduced.
SKIPPING OUT ON COURT DATE – If you (1) decide not to show up for court, (2) forget to show up for court, or (3) show up on the wrong day, it is considered skipping out on your court date. When you signed your traffic ticket, you made a promise to either go to court or, in some cases, pay the fine. If you do not go to court or pay your fine, your driver’s license can be suspended. In addition, you may not be able to renew your car’s registration. The judge can also charge you with “contempt of court” or “failure to pay a fine.” If that happens, the court can charge you with a misdemeanor and issue a warrant for your arrest or add an additional fee (called a “civil assessment”) of up to $300.
TRAFFIC FINES – The fees that your state has established for your specific traffic violations.
TRAFFIC SCHOOL -Also see diversion program. If found guilty of your traffic ticket, traffic infraction or traffic violation, after you pay your fine, points may show up on your DMV record unless you can go to traffic school. If the court lets you go to traffic school and you turn in your proof of completion of traffic school to the court before the deadline, the points should not show up on your record. The court can tell you what you need to do to be able to go to traffic school. If this is your first ticket and the court lets you go to traffic school, you might get the points eliminated. There will be a fee for the class.
TRAFFIC TICKET ATTORNEY – A ‘Traffic Ticket Attorney’ is a misleading term. There are plenty of attorneys that will handle your traffic ticket, but they do not necessarily regularly handle traffic ticket matters. If you want a lawyer for a traffic infraction (like speeding or running a red light), you can hire one, but the court will not assign to you an attorney. For some misdemeanors it is a good idea to have retain an attorney. In certain misdemeanor cases, if you cannot afford a lawyer, the court will assign to you a lawyer.
TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS BUREAU (TVB) – A TVB traffic ticket is a ticket for non-criminal moving violations issued in the five boroughs of New York City. You can plead “not guilty” to the ticket and schedule a TVB hearing in the jurisdiction where the ticket was issued. Here you can also pay the fines, fees, and surcharges that resulted from an earlier traffic ticket conviction.
VEHICLE – Something used for transportation. This could be a car, truck, motorcycle, bus, bicycle, etc.
VEHICLE LICENSE NUMBER – The car license plate number
VIN – Vehicle Identification Number – The cars identification number. You see it on the registration paper
WAIVED – Not necessary to pay a fine. Example: The fee was waived
WAIVED (alternative) – Not necessary to show up. Example: His appearance as waived
YOUTH COURT – This is a court that has a special program for youthful drivers that are eighteen years old or less. Often a parent must be involved in youth court programs. You can view a video discussing a youth court program located in Suffolk County, New York at this website: https://ronaldcook.teachable.com
Glossary of Traffic Ticket Terms