Is a traffic ticket considered to be a crime and does it go on some permanent record? Help?

Asked over 5 years ago - Lake Charles, LA

I was going straight down Lake Street and I was not speeding however there was a yellow light and I passed the yellow light going straight. However, a police officer on the opposite road or facing the opposite road which is Prien Lake Street turned and pulled me over and stated that I ran a red light. I told the officer that I went through the yellow light which I did however he stated that the light on Prien Lake Street had already turned green and therefore I ran a red light and was giving a ticket for this. Is that legal? I did go immediate and pay the fine because I have never in my life received a traffic ticket or been in trouble with law period.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Ronald S. Pichlik

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . It's legal now, because you went to court and paid the fine. So any possibility of disputing the officer's allegations are now over; you ran a red light, period. The officer can always write a ticket for a driving infraction that he/she believes that they have observed. It is also very difficult to beat these things in court because it pretty much ends up being your word against the officer. This offense is known as a civil infraction. It is NOT a criminal offense. It carries a few points that go on your driving record. However, over time these points will drop off of your license. One piece of advice, though, unless your car insurance company specifically asks you if you have any points on your license, please do not volunteer the fact that you got a ticket for running a red light to them. Don't lie if asked, but don't volunteer that information either. Points and tickets are used to justify jacking-up car insurance rates.

  2. John M. Kaman


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Generally most traffic tickets are infractions, that is, punishable by fine not by imprisonment. And in many states the fines are civil obligations not criminal. There are important exceptions: DUI, hit and run, vehicular manslaughter, certain speeding violations that may get you a ticket but will also get you into criminal court.

  3. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . An attorney familiar with the policies and procedures of the court will know the likelihood of negotiating such a resolution given the circumstances of your case.

    Check with a lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details.

    Good luck to you.

    God bless.

    NOTE: This answer is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney that practices in the subject practice discipline and with whom you have an attorney client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question.

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