Wondering what is a traffic summons?
You received a court summons for speeding or traffic violation laws and are looking to find out what it entails.
What’s a summons from a police and what’s the consequence?
In this article, we go over the traffic summons in detail so you know all there is to know about it.
Let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
What is a traffic summons
A traffic summons is a summons issued by the police or a peace officer compelling someone to appear in court so his guilt or innocence can be determined on a charge.
If you received a traffic summons, your court presence is mandatory.
It also means that the traffic offense for which you are summoned to court is of relative importance requiring you to appear in court and defend your case in front of a judge.
You cannot just ignore the traffic summons, you need to make sure you appear in court.
What’s a summons from a police
Summons or citations are issued by the police when there is a traffic violation or behaviour that can constitute a crime.
When someone is caught in violation of the traffic laws or criminal laws while driving, the police will write a citation against the person to appear in court.
Often, the citation is issued directly on the scene at the moment the police noticed and apprehended you for traffic violations.
What is a court summons for speeding
A speeding summons is a traffic summons issued as a result of a speeding offense.
If a speeding summons has been issued to someone, they will need to appear in court and answer to the speeding charges outlined in the speeding ticket summons.
If the court finds the person innocent, the speeding summons will be dismissed.
If the court finds the person guilty of the speeding offense, then the court will define the appropriate penalty and sanctions to issue to the person charged with speeding.
Therefore, a court summons for speeding ticket is issued only when speeding was at issue and required that you appear in court.
Types of traffic tickets
Depending on your jurisdiction, you may have different types of summons for traffic violations.
You can get any of the following:
- Parking infraction notice
- Offense notice
Parking infraction notice
A parking infraction notice is generally not that serious and you’ve probably got many of them.
With the parking infraction notice, the owner of a car is informed that they parked in a prohibited place.
By paying the parking ticket, you are essentially pleading guilty and resolving the ticket.
You can also contest the parking ticket and ask for a trial date to dispute the ticket.
When you get an offense notice, this means that you have been in violation of traffic laws going from minor severity to major one.
You can receive an offense notice for speeding, missing a stop sign or driving through a red light.
A summons is issued for serious offenses with criminal consequences.
When you are issued a traffic summons, you are asked to appear in court to answer to the accusations made against you.
You can face sanctions such as the suspension of your driver’s license, fine and even jail.
You must make sure you give the summons issued to you all the importance it deserves as you can end up with a criminal record.
What is contained in the traffic summons
If you have received a citation to appear from a police officer, it must contain some important information.
You should have the name of the court where you are asked to appear along with the court’s address.
You should also find an indication as to when is your initial court appearance date and time.
Generally, you should also find some information about the offense you’ve been charged with as well.
Are you guilty when the traffic summons is issued
It’s important to note that you are not necessarily guilty because of the fact that a traffic summons was issued to you.
A police officer who issued the summons to you had reasons to believe that you committed a violation of the traffic laws or criminal laws.
The police provided you with the summons so you have the opportunity to answer the charges laid against you before a judge.
When the court will ultimately hear your case, the judge will make the final decision on your level of guilt.
The judge can either dismiss the traffic charges or find you guilty.
Consequences of ignoring a court summons for speeding
A speeding summons, just like any other type of summons, is an important legal document.
You are asked to present yourself to court so it can be determined if you should be held responsible for the traffic violation or not.
Remember, some traffic violations can result in criminal penalties such as:
- Careless driving
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Crash causing material or bodily harm
- Street racing
If you do not show up to court on the date required, the court may issue an arrest warrant against you.
The warrant for your arrest is a mandate given to the police to find you and detain you until you appear in front of a judge to answer the charges laid against you.
This also called a “bench summons” as the judge sitting on the bench issues the summons commanding the police to find and arrest the offender.
Not respecting a traffic summons can be significant.
A parking summons, or a non-moving violation, does not force you to appear in court unless you elect to contest the traffic ticket.
If your parking ticket has a parking summons date, you can fully resolve it by paying the ticket before the court appearance date.
In some jurisdictions, the parking ticket will not have a traffic fine summons and will rather ask you to either pay the ticket, and acknowledge you were guilty, or send a written request to contest it.
If you send a written request, then you’ll receive a summons to appear in court and contest the traffic ticket.
You received a summons for a traffic ticket and now you must appear in court.
How serious is this?
The summons to court for speeding, traffic law violation or even the violation of the criminal laws can be serious.
You should read the traffic summons carefully to understand when you are asked to appear in court and what are the charges laid against you.
The mere issuance of a court summons does not mean that you are guilty of the charges outlined in it.
You have the opportunity to go to court and contest the charges.
If you are not sure how deal with the summons, you should contact a lawyer experienced in the field to give you guidance.
We hope this article helped you better understand what is a traffic summons.
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