Man drinking while driving

Understanding Municipal Violations and Their Consequences

We all make little mistakes sometimes when it comes to following rules. It’s rare that you meet someone who will go out of their way to completely disregard regulations that exist for their own safety.

These small things are called municipal violations. They’re small violations that you’ll often get a ticket that you need to pay or contest in court. They can be small and annoying, but as any bail bondsman in Salisbury, North Carolina might tell you: they can turn into massive headaches if you don’t take care of them immediately or on time.

What happens when I get a ticket?

A municipal violation is what it says on the tin: You’ve either knowingly or unknowingly broken a rule in your area, such as jaywalking, public intoxication, loitering, or littering—all rules that can fall under “common sense” law, but still implemented on paper for the sake of the public record. They aren’t classified as felonies because they’re not that serious, and more or less, you can just get a small hearing or a slap on the wrist in traffic court.

So, once you get a ticket, the issuing officer is required to give you a small briefing about what exactly you violated, the situation in how you did it, the fee, the deadline, and where you need to pay the fine, before giving you the ticket. There are some cases (usually when it comes to traffic and parking violations) where you get the ticket issued either way, but in all other municipal violations, you’re supposed to get a briefing by the issuing officer.

What happens if I don’t pay for the ticket?

If you fail to pay the ticket or show up on time, it can be possible for the issuing court to decide to take you to trial or prison. This is somewhat uncommon, as municipal violators often don’t want to risk something going on their permanent record by not paying something as small as a fine for a municipal violation.

The judicial system does allow certain forms of assistance to people who can’t pay a parking ticket due to making minimum wage or being financially incapable, but these cases are an exception rather than the rule. Due to the possibility of adding several different fees and surcharges to the price of the ticket, it’s recommended to just pay off the ticket as soon as possible.

So what can I do to avoid tickets?

Police officer writing a ticket to driver

Simple answer: constant vigilance! It’s rare that you can get to break a law without being informed about it in advance, as ignorance of the law is a very tricky defense in any court. You’ll need to inform yourself about the municipal rules and regulations surrounding your area.

Knowing things such as where to park, where to avoid loitering after certain hours, and even the location of your nearest garbage disposal unit can help you avoid the most common municipal violations. The best way to avoid a ticket is to constantly be aware that you may be on the verge of getting on when you’re doing something that you’re not sure you should be doing.