Many people are surprised to find out they can have a warrant for their arrest just for a minor traffic violation. But, it's true. A traffic warrant can be issued by the court if a person fails to pay a traffic fine or doesn't appear in court
for a traffic summons. It's easy to forget to pay a speeding ticket or remember a court date due to work, busy schedules or time constraints. If you neglect a traffic violation for any reason you could find yourself with a warrant for your arrest without even knowing it. Most people find out the hard way when they get pulled over for another reason and are arrested for an outstanding warrant. But, by then it's too late.
You can get a warrant for a variety of traffic infractions including but not limited to
making an illegal U-turn, not stopping for a red light or stop sign, speeding, driving
down a one way and more. If you get a traffic violation you have two options. You
can pay the fine or request a trial to present your defense if you think you're innocent
of the charge. Serious traffic infractions, such as driving under the influence of
alcohol or drugs, vehicular homicide, and driving without a license are all considered
misdemeanors. A misdemeanor always requires a court appearance to determine
if you're guilty.
If you fail to pay or appear in court for a traffic violation the result can be a warrant for your arrest. A late fee may also be added to the original fine, along with possible suspension of your driver's license or denied renewal until the fines are paid in full.
If you receive a traffic warrant for not appearing in court for a traffic fine, then the first thing to do is contact the court that issued the warrant. You will likely be given a court date to resolve the issue. Failure to appear this time will result in another warrant for your arrest and two warrants will now exist in your name. So, it's imperative to know if you have a warrant for your arrest since if you get pulled over for any other reason you will be arrested and taken into custody.
A traffic infraction, also known as a moving violation, is defined as any
violation of the law committed by the driver of a motor vehicle while it is
in motion. The term "motion" distinguishes it from other violations such
as an illegally parked or abandoned vehicle. Moving violations are
charged against the actual driver and most are usually classified as
infractions or misdemeanors, meaning they are minor in nature. But,
a hit and run, a dui/dwi, and road rage may be considered felonies
and punishable by more extreme measures. Remember, in addition
to being fined for a moving violation, punitive points may be assessed
to the your driver's license resulting in an increase in your auto insurance
payments for a number of years. The reason for this is that you are
now considered a high risk driver by the state. Also you may be
required to attend driving classes, re-take a driving test, or lose your
license for a specific amount of time.
Examples of moving violations include, but are not limited to: speeding, not stopping for a stop sign, running a red light, failure to yield to another vehicle with the right-of-way, crossing over a center divider or median, not wearing a seat belt, driving on the shoulder or breakdown lane on the highway, failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, failure to stop for a school bus when children are boarding or exiting, and in some states operating a cell phone or other telecommunications device while driving.
Vehicular homicide, also known as vehicular manslaughter, involves a death resulting from negligent operation of a motor vehicle. This is the most serious of traffic violations and carries with it the highest penalties, fines, and possible jail time. All states except Alaska, Montana, and Arizona have vehicular homicide statutes since a vehicle is considered a potentially deadly weapon. In states without such statutes, defendants can still be charged with manslaughter or murder in certain situations.
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