Some people believe that you can’t get a traffic ticket in a parking lot, especially if that parking lot is privately owned, such as by a mall or a church. Each state determines their own laws on when moving violations can be cited, but there are certain hard and fast rules that apply to both publicly owned and privately owned parking lots. First, you can certainly get parking tickets, though some people class these as separate from traffic tickets, and you can even have your car towed if you park illegally or in spaces designated for the disabled when you don’t have the appropriate tags.
Second, you can almost always get a traffic ticket in a parking lot, and be cited for other crimes if you are driving intoxicated. You may also get a ticket if you hit another car and try to escape. This is hit and run, or at minimum “leaving the scene of an accident,” and if you cause an accident in a parking lot and leave the scene, you have violated that law.
Usually, most highway patrol officers won’t give you a traffic ticket in a parking lot for failing to signal when you turn, or ignoring a stop sign. Officers don’t tend to sit in parking lots waiting for people to make moving violations. On the other hand, parking lots represent pretty intense driving, where you should drive slowly and safely to avoid hitting other people and cars, and you should be sure to obey stop signs, signal your intent to turn and the like, so that you don’t get hit by someone else. Even if your state does not have specific laws that apply to driving in private lots, it makes good sense to protect yourself and others by obeying the laws set by the private lot.
Some states clearly spell out safe driving practices on private parking lots. Virginia for example has state code that pertains to not allowing “reckless driving” on any “driveway, or premises of a church, school, recreational facility or business property open to the public” and, “on the premises of any industrial establishment providing parking space for customers, patrons, or employees.” This definition makes it pretty clear that driving that endangers others will mean you’ll earn a traffic ticket in a parking lot if your driving is noticed.
Not all parking lots are private property. If you commit any kind of moving violation in a publicly owned parking lot, such as a public school or in front of building belonging to the state, these are likely to be treated as moving violations that occur on public roads. In any case, whether laws exist in your state or not that define safe driving in parking lots, keeping the safety of yourself and others at mind when you drive in any parking lot is good sense. Observing the rules of the road, no matter where you drive, will help you avoid the possibility of getting a traffic ticket in a parking lot or anywhere else.
Can You Get a Traffic Ticket for Speeding in a Work Zone?
Not only can you get a traffic ticket for speeding in a work zone, but you could also be facing double the penalty for doing so. Many jurisdictions double the fines for speeding in work zones due to the restricted flow of traffic and the presence of work crews who may be put in danger by any reckless driving.
There are laws about speeding inside work zones in every state and the District of Columbia. These laws are especially stringent to avoid accidents involving large, slow-moving equipment or the people who are operating that equipment.
Crews are often working in tight spaces to try and keep roadways open during road work. When you speed through work zones, you’re decreasing the control you have over your vehicle and shortening your reaction times to sudden situations that endanger the lives of others.
Does Traffic School Remove Ticket From Record?
Whether traffic school removes a ticket from your driving record depends on what state you’re in. In some states, attending traffic school will eliminate the ticket from your record, and you may or may not still have to pay the associated fines.
In other states, traffic school will eliminate the points against your license, but the ticket will stay on your record.
In a few states, traffic school doesn’t exist; you’re stuck with your ticket, fines, and points.
Traffic school may also have an impact on whether your auto insurance rates will increase. Again, this varies from company to company.
It might be useful to know if your company will raise your rates if you’re found guilty of a moving violation. Don’t just call and ask them — you could tip them off that you’ve been ticketed. Call anonymously and say you’re considering switching insurance companies and want to know their policy on increasing rates due to moving violation tickets.
How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Stay On Your Record?
This answer also depends on what state you’re in. The shortest amount of time a traffic ticket stays on your record is one year.
In some states, the conviction never leaves your record, but the points against your license will be removed in one to three years.
Is There a Downside To Just Paying Your Fine?
Yes, there’s a definite downside. You’d be admitting guilt, and the conviction would go on your record for the number of years your state requires.
You’ll also have points assessed against your license. If you collect too many points, your driver’s license may be suspended.
Additionally, you could see your insurance rates go up. It’s almost always worth at least trying to fight your ticket in court.
What if I Can’t Afford To Pay My Fine?
The first thing you should not do is ignore your ticket. It’s not going to go away on its own, and you could be charged with failure to appear if you don’t go to court. Not paying your fine could add late fees to the amount you owe, putting the payment even further out of reach.
If you live in a jurisdiction where traffic school can cancel out a fine, you could ask the judge to allow you to attend in lieu of a conviction and fine.
You could also ask the judge for a lower fine, a payment plan, or community service to avoid having to pay a large lump sum all at once.
How Can I Get to Work on a Suspended License?
You may be able to ask the judge for a restricted license or hardship license that would allow you to drive from home to work and back. The same could apply if you’re in school.
If you don’t get a hardship license, it’s best if you either avail yourself of public transportation or get rides with friends. If you are caught driving on a suspended license, you could be facing more severe charges, with higher fines, a longer suspension of your license, and even jail time.
What if Someone Else Was Driving My Car but I Received a Ticket?
Don’t ignore tickets like this. You could wind up dealing with late fees, heavier fines, or even a collection agency hounding you for payment.
You should contact the agency that issued the ticket to see if there’s any way they could let it go. This may work if you have a clean record and a compelling case to be made that you couldn’t possibly have been driving your car at the time the moving violation occurred.
In some jurisdictions, for some offenses, it doesn’t matter who was actually driving your car. For example, if a red light camera captures your license plate as your car runs a red light, you will receive the ticket.