It is helpful to know what kind of information is included on a traffic ticket when you have been cited for a traffic violation. Traffic tickets vary by jurisdiction, but generally contain the same basic items. Extra information, such as the amount of your fine and eligibility for traffic school, often is sent in the mail with your court summons.
The following is an overview of the types of information you are likely to find on your traffic ticket. See FindLaw's Traffic Tickets subsection for additional articles and resources, including Traffic Tickets -- Basics and State Traffic Laws.
The officer will write down the make/model, color, license plate number, and registration number of your automobile. Then he or she will call in this information, in addition to your driver's license, to check for outstanding warrants.
This includes the date, time, and exact location of the alleged offense. Although it is possible to raise a defense based on mistakes made by an officer with the information on a ticket, it is important to note that mistaken information on a ticket does not automatically result in a ticket being dismissed.
Usually, a ticket will provide a description of the offense (for instance, "failure to stop at a red light") in addition to the vehicle code section that was violated. This gives you an opportunity to do some online research into common defenses and/or fine amounts before the summons and courtesy reminder arrives in the mail. In many jurisdictions, it is the motorist's responsibility to take care of a traffic ticket, even if the court is late mailing the fine notice and summons.
Although it often is not made available until the mailed notice and summons arrive, information on a traffic ticket may include a notice of whether or not you may contest the ticket in a court hearing.
The officer who wrote the ticket must indicate his or her name and badge number, along with a signature. If you decide to contest the ticket, the officer also will have the opportunity to assert the integrity of the charges and other information included on the traffic ticket.
Consider meeting with a traffic ticket lawyer if you wish to contest the charges on a traffic citation. See Deciding if Fighting Traffic Tickets is a Good Idea and How to Fight Traffic Tickets -- Five Strategies that Work for more details.