Moving violations are traffic offenses committed when a vehicle is in motion. Examples of common moving violations include running a red light, texting while driving and driving through a stop sign.
Even though many moving violations do not result in jail time or a hearing before a judge, there are good reasons for taking a moving violation seriously.
Moving Violation Definition
Moving violations are generally covered by state legal codes, and the definition of a moving violation differs slightly from one jurisdiction to another.
Most moving violations are infractions, but some are punishable as misdemeanors. The most serious moving violations are felonies and include repeat driving under the influence (DUI) charges, leaving the scene of an accident, and reckless driving.
Moving Violation Examples
Common moving violations include:
• exceeding the posted speed limit or safe driving speed for road conditions
• running a red light or stop sign
• failing to use turning signals when required
• failing to keep the Assured Clear Distance Ahead (ACDA) distance to the car ahead
• driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• failing to yield right-of-way
• violation of seat belt and child safety seat laws
• not stopping for a pedestrian as required
• texting or using a phone while driving
• driving without a valid license
If the violation is an infraction, a court appearance is not needed, unless you are challenging the charge. Depending on previous moving violations, you may be eligible for traffic school to prevent points on your driving record or increases in insurance costs.
What Happens When You Get a Moving Violation?
When you are pulled over for a moving violation, you are asked for your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. The officer checks your information and writes a citation.
The citation includes vehicle information, information about where and when the offense occurred, a verbal description of the offense, and the specific vehicle code in violation.
The officer writes his or her name and asks you to sign the ticket. Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt, and you can challenge the citation in court. Signing is an acknowledgment of receiving the citation and a promise to follow up. Not signing as requested can lead to immediate arrest.
In most locations, you receive a notice in the mail reminding you to take action on the ticket. However, you are responsible for following through, even if the offense happened in another state and even if you do not receive a notice in the mail. Failing to take action on a moving violation can result in an arrest warrant being issued against you.
If you are eligible for traffic school, the court will notify you and give you a list of eligible schools to attend online or in-person.
If you contest the ticket or have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor charge, hiring an attorney is usually advisable.
Consequences of a Moving Violation Conviction
Felony and misdemeanor moving violations can result in incarceration and/or substantial fines. If you fail to take care of any moving violation, you face:
• loss of your driver’s license
• increased fines and penalties
• loss of access to traffic school