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What Happens When You Get A Warning Ticket?

  • Tips & Trips
  • Renee Martin
  • 4 minutes

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Sometimes, instead of a traffic citation from the police, you may be only told off with a warning ticket. So what is it and how does it differ from a traffic ticket?

Though it seems hard to believe, not every traffic violation you commit needs to end with a ticket! In genuine cases, you may find the police officer is understanding enough to let you off with just a warning ticket.

So is a warning severe enough to go on your record? How is it different from a traffic ticket? We’ve broken it down in this article.

What is a warning ticket?

A warning ticket – also called a paper warning – is a formal way for a police officer to tell someone that they broke the law while driving. Usually, it involves a conversation with the officer, who will explain to the driver why they were pulled over.

warning ticket

A warning ticket can be given when you do something illegal on the road – like speeding, driving recklessly, driving through a red light, or parking illegally.

Warnings can vary based on the officer in question – sometimes it may be a verbal warning or a written warning. Written warnings are often called Warning Tickets – they look like regular tickets but will have “warning” mentioned on top.

Is a warning the same thing as a ticket?

No, a warning is just an informal way of censuring a driver. However, a traffic ticket – also called a traffic citation – is intended to punish a driver for different traffic violations. You can either pay a traffic ticket or contest it in court. A ticket also appears on your driving record and can affect any insurance premiums you have.

On the other hand, a warning does not involve a monetary fine, and neither does it require you to appear in court. It does not go on your record, either.

Also read: 10 ways to get out of a ticket

How does a warning ticket work?

The officer will ask you for your ID and other relevant documents when you get pulled over for a minor violation. If he gets genuine and satisfactory answers to why you violated a traffic law, he may let you off with either a verbal or written warning.

If you’re a first-time offender, it’s more likely that you’ll get off with a warning. Warnings for speeding can only be considered if you were driving 6 mph below the posted speed limit.

Is a warning ticket bad?

No, warning tickets are not necessarily a bad thing – because they do not appear on your driving record.

Warning tickets do not require paying a fine and are not reported to your local DMV. Warnings are used internally by police departments to censure errant drivers and caution them to follow the law.

Do warning tickets affect drivers with commercial licenses?

Yes, Commercial License Holder (CDL) drivers can be affected by written warnings. This is because some written warnings can be recorded on their PSP Records (Pre-employment Screening Program). Employers might take it seriously if you got a warning for a federal violation.

Do warning tickets affect your insurance premiums?

No, since warning tickets do not go on your driving record, they will not affect your auto insurance premiums. However, if you do have previous traffic violations on your record, it could still increase any future premiums you pay. Ensure you compare several insurance offers using a platform like Way.com before signing on for a policy.

warning ticket

Also read: Do speeding tickets affect your auto insurance?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does a warning ticket stay on your record?

No, it is just an informal way of telling a driver that they’ve been caught violating a certain driving law. They do not appear on your record.

Is a citation a ticket or a warning?

A traffic citation is also called a traffic ticket, and it involves a penalty or monetary fine. However, a warning does not require you to pay a fine or appear in court to contest it in any way.


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