Most jurisdictions classify traffic offenses (also called “infractions”) as either “moving” or “nonmoving” violations. Generally, a motorist commits a moving violation by breaking a traffic law directly related to the vehicle being in motion. Speeding and running a red light are examples of moving violations.
A nonmoving traffic violation, on the other hand, generally occurs when a motorist violates a traffic law that’s unrelated to the vehicle being in motion. A nonmoving violation can occur when a vehicle is stationary or in motion, but the violation itself usually isn’t related to driving behavior or the operation of the vehicle.
Nonmoving violations are generally offenses related to parking, illegal or defective equipment on the vehicle, or license and registration requirements. Common examples of nonmoving violations include:
In some states, violations of seat belt and distracted driving offenses are also nonmoving violations.
A nonmoving violation is generally a minor offense resulting in a minimal fine. However, delinquent fines usually lead to more serious penalties. For example, unpaid parking fines can sometimes result in vehicle immobilization, garnishment of wages, placement of liens against property, non-renewal of the vehicle owner’s license and registration, and additional fines and fees.
In some jurisdictions, certain nonmoving violations are correctable (also referred to as “fix-it tickets”). Offenses involving registration, license, and equipment requirements are generally correctable violations.
Fix-it tickets typically require the motorist to correct the violation and provide proof of the correction within a certain time period (usually five to 60 days). Once the driver shows proof of the correction and pays a fee, the court will dismiss the citation. However, in some states, violating a promise to correct the violation can result in serious penalties, including fines, jail, probation, vehicle impoundment, demerit points added to the offender’s record, and subsequent citations for the same issue.
Whether the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) or other licensing authority records nonmoving traffic violations on a motorist’s driving record depends on the jurisdiction and the particular violation.
In most states, only moving violations will appear on a driver’s record. However, in some states, all traffic violations, including nonmoving violations go on a person’s driving record. In other jurisdictions, only moving and specifically designated nonmoving violations go on a driver’s record.
In states that use traffic violation demerit point systems, a driver generally won’t accumulate any points for a nonmoving violation conviction.
Nonmoving violations typically don’t affect a motorist’s insurance premiums. In fact, some state laws specifically prohibit insurance companies from increasing the insured’s premiums due to convictions of certain nonmoving violations.