Are you required to sign your traffic ticket?

If I refuse to give a signature, does that mean the ticket is invalid?

Getting a traffic ticket is always horrible event. Not only will that ticket set up back financially, but depending on the infraction, it can also come with several demerit points. Demerit points will be reflected on your driving record, which in turn will cause your automobile insurance provider to raise your rates. It is a vicious cycle that can bring tears to anyone’s eyes. So, if you are given a ticket and the police officer forgets to have you sign the ticket, you might think that you are off the hook – not so. Regardless of whether your signature is on the ticket or not, you are liable for the fine it contains. So, even if the police officer takes off without your signature, do not sink into complacency and think that you can just ignore the ticket – it will come back to haunt you.

As for refusing to sign a ticket – this is never a good idea. By signing a ticket you are not admitting guilt, you are merely stating that you will appear in court on the date appointed if necessary. If you refuse to sign the ticket then you can (and most probably will) be arrested. See, you signature is saying that you will show up to pay for your ticket. If you refuse to sign – they will take you there personally to represent yourself. The worst part about being hauled in for refusal to sign a ticket is that depending on the county, the day and the judge in question you might have to spend the night in jail – and maybe even the weekend. Refusal to sign a ticket is counted as a misdemeanour and do not think that a police officer will hesitate to take you into custody. Naturally, should this happen then your Miranda rights automatically kick in and you can remain silent and request an attorney, but instead of going through so much trouble, it is probably in your best interests to simply pay for the ticket.

Also remember that in certain states judges do not have to follow the traffic law to the letter, so even if you think you have a strong case to contest a ticket due to errors or omissions, you might not be guaranteed to win your case.

No one wants to get a traffic citation, however, getting one and ignoring it because you do not think it is valid is even worse. Unpaid traffic tickets can lead to a suspended or revoked licence and eventually to jail unless you clear up the original ticket and the ensuing penalties, which can add up to a lot. So, remember that a traffic ticket without a signature is just as valid as one with a signature and should be paid within the stipulated deadline.

Traffic Tickets   |  September 8th, 2010    | 

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