Citations or traffic tickets are issued in the State of Oklahoma for various violations of traffic law. Citations generally indicate the statute or code number of the violation, and explain how and when to pay the fine or respond to the ticket. You must respond to a citation, usually by paying a fine or appearing in court, or else a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driving license may be suspended.
TYPES OF VIOLATIONS
Most traffic tickets in Oklahoma are issued for what are sometimes called "strict-liability" offenses. In these cases, the only thing required to convict a person of the offense is proof that they committed the act, regardless of any criminal intent. Examples of strict-liability offenses include:
- Overdue parking meters
- Not using turn signals
- Parking in a handicapped zone without authorization
MOVING VS. NON-MOVING VIOLATIONS
Violations are also classified by whether or not the vehicle was in motion at the type of the incident, and traffic tickets may therefore be for either moving or non-moving violations. Examples of moving violations include:
- Speeding or driving below the minimum speed
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Driving without a seat belt
- Drunk driving (DUI and DWI)
Non-Moving violations include:
- Parking in a handicapped zone or other illegal parking
- Driving with an invalid vehicle registration
- Having expired or missing license plates
- Leaving a vehicle unattended and running
The majority of traffic violations in Oklahoma are classified as infractions, which require paying a fine ranging from $10-$500. More serious offenses carry higher fines and/or imprisonment.
YOUR OPTIONS WHEN YOU RECEIVE A CITATION
Many citations do not require a court appearance, and you may admit guilt by paying the ticket directly. The citation will indicate how and by what date to pay the fine. You can pay by mail if you send a copy of your ticket along with a check/money order (make sure you mention your ticket number at the back of the check/money order) or you can also fill in your credit card information at the back of the ticket and mail it to:
Oklahoma City Municipal Court P.O. Box 26487 Oklahoma City, OK 73126-0487
You can also make payment by phone using your Visa, American Express, Discover or MasterCard. Online payment is also available, and you can pay in person at the Municipal Court Building, 700 Couch Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.
If your insurance was valid when you were issued your ticket, take proof of it to the Public Counter at the court. This should be done within 48 hours of receiving the ticket to have your ticket dismissed without charges. If you do this after 48 hours of receipt, but on or before the arraignment date, your ticket will be dismissed with charges. If you apply for insurance after you receive a ticket, you will be able to pay reduced charges.
If you have received a ticket for equipment violation or illegal tag display and you pay it before or on the scheduled court date, you may be allowed to pay a reduced amount. You will need to pay the fine by mail or in person and present evidence that the equipment or tag is now in compliance.
If you wish to dispute the citation and go to court, you must post a bond before the court date. The cost of the bond will be $35 in addition to the fine you have to pay. You must appear in court personally on the scheduled date, and enter a "not guilty" plea. While you may be able to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney, a trial will be scheduled if no agreement is reached. A trial gives you an opportunity to fight the traffic ticket in front of a judge or jury, and most people prefer to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to defend them in court.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF BEING FOUND GUILTY
When you pay a ticket directly, you are essentially pleading guilty to a traffic offense, which carries the same consequences as being found guilty of the violation in court. Motorists who either plead guilty directly or are found guilty of an offense should be aware of the following possible consequences:
- Certain traffic offenses, including speeding and other moving violations, are automatically reported to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. Oklahoma routinely provides information concerning traffic ticket convictions to other states.
- The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety follows a point system to track violations and their corresponding penalties. Points are added to your driving record which could result in your license being suspended. For more information, see our Point System section.
- Oklahoma drivers that accumulate points on their driving record are often subject to higher car insurance premiums.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT TRAFFIC TICKET CONVICTIONS
One of the best ways to reduce the negative implications of traffic violations is to drive safely and not commit any additional offenses. Points on your Oklahoma license will be reduced, and your driving record may eventually be cleared if you remain free of any additional violations. Smart drivers often choose to take a defensive driving course or traffic school course in order to reduce the points on their license more quickly.
Taking a defensive driving course can also help lower the car insurance premiums of drivers whose rates increased following one or more traffic ticket convictions. Some drivers prefer to obtain a new quote for car insurance following a traffic ticket conviction, since often more competitive rates and coverage may be available.