A traffic citation in New York is issued to a driver by a police officer for violating rules regarding the operation of a motor vehicle. There is no discernible difference between a citation and a ticket.

A traffic citation stands as the written document that a person committed one or more traffic violations. The method of resolving most traffic citations is sending in a copy of the paperwork along with applicable fines to the appropriate office. The person receiving the traffic citation can also opt to argue their position in court. These options represent the protocol for offenses like speeding, running a light or failing to yield the right of way when necessary. More serious offenses committed while behind the wheel, like drunk driving, may result in an arrest, fine and jail sentence rather than a citation.

A traffic citation issued by a police officer may detail a single traffic violation or provide a report for multiple actions. Each traffic violation mentioned on a traffic citation will include the reference number assigned to the specific traffic regulation. The traffic citation serves both as the official notification to the person receiving the document and a brief manual of instruction for resolving the citation.

Traffic violations are needed to discourage risky behavior behind the wheel and protect the millions of drivers who use public roads and highways to travel each day. Most traffic codes are pretty straightforward, but this does not mean that the officer writing up a violation and the person receiving a traffic citation cannot disagree on exactly what took place. Individuals who feel that they received a citation for a traffic violation in error may be able to find relief from pending fines or penalties by speaking with an attorney.