Common Myths About Traffic Tickets: Separating Fact from Fiction

Traffic tickets – nearly every driver has faced one at some point. Yet, despite their prevalence, a number of myths and misconceptions surround them. These myths can lead drivers astray, making them take incorrect or even harmful actions. In today's post, we'll debunk some of these common myths, setting the record straight once and for all.

1. Myth: If the officer doesn’t show up in court, your ticket is automatically dismissed.

Fact: While it's true that many courts may dismiss your ticket if the officer doesn't appear, it's not a guarantee. Some courts may reschedule the hearing, especially if the officer has a valid reason for the absence.

2. Myth: A minor error on your ticket (like a misspelled name) means it's invalid.

Fact: Small clerical errors generally won’t invalidate a ticket. However, if the mistake pertains to critical information, like the wrong statute or incorrect location, it might affect the ticket's validity.

3. Myth: You can't get a ticket in a parking lot because it's private property.

Fact: While many traffic laws apply to public roads, reckless driving or DUIs in a parking lot can still land you a ticket or an arrest, depending on the state or jurisdiction.

4. Myth: Traffic tickets from other states won't affect your driving record.

Fact: Many states participate in the Driver License Compact, which means they share information about traffic violations. A ticket received out-of-state can potentially impact your driving record and insurance rates.

5. Myth: Red cars get pulled over more often.

Fact: There's no empirical evidence supporting the notion that red cars are ticketed more frequently. Tickets are given based on violations, not car colors.

6. Myth: If you don’t sign your ticket, it's not valid.

Fact: Refusing to sign a ticket doesn’t make it go away. In fact, in some jurisdictions, refusing to sign might lead to further complications, such as an arrest.

7. Myth: You can avoid a speed ticket by driving just a few miles over the speed limit.

Fact: Technically, driving even 1 mph over the speed limit is a violation. While many officers might allow a small buffer, they're within their rights to ticket you for any amount over the posted limit.

8. Myth: Out-of-country traffic tickets won’t follow you home.

Fact: With the interconnectedness of today's world, some countries share traffic violation data. An unpaid ticket from a vacation overseas could find its way back to haunt you.

9. Myth: Paying a ticket is the same as admitting guilt.

Fact: While paying a ticket might be seen as an admission of guilt, it essentially means you’re opting not to contest the charge. It’s often simpler, but if you believe the ticket was unjust, consult with a traffic attorney.

10. Myth: Traffic tickets will always increase your insurance rates.

Fact: While many violations do lead to increased premiums, it's not a guarantee. The impact on your rates often depends on your overall driving record, the severity of the violation, and your insurance provider.


Traffic tickets, while common, are surrounded by myths that can misguide drivers. By understanding the truth behind these myths, you can make informed decisions about how to handle any tickets you might receive. If in doubt, always consult with a legal expert to ensure you're making the right choices for your unique situation. Safe driving!