Difference Between Citation and Ticket

Citation vs Ticket

Traffic rules are made by authorities, to maintain order and to keep the traffic running smoothly, avoiding accidents. Violation of traffic rules can result in the issuance of tickets to the violators. There is another term citation used in certain cases, and that confuses many people. There are many who think a ticket is same as a citation and that the two terms can be used interchangeably. Let us take a closer look.


A citation is a formal notice handed over by a traffic official to a person who has violated traffic rules. This notice is in reality official summon that requires a person to appear in a court of law, to contest the charges of violation of traffic rules. A citation has the ability to affect the insurance premium of a person as it allows the violation to be placed on the driving record of the individual that is in the know of the insurance company. Receiving a citation requires action on the part of an individual as he needs to present himself in the law court mentioned by the due date. Failure to be present on time in the designated court can bring in more legal trouble for the offender. Citation or legal notice can be issued for many different violations.


Ticket is the fine or penalty that is handed over by a traffic official to a person when he violates traffic rules. Ticket is actually a piece of paper that clearly mentions the violation committed by an individual. The ticket could be issued for over speeding or it could be because of illegal parking.

What is the difference between Citation and Ticket?

• A citation is perceived as a legal notice that requires summons to a court of law while ticket is perceived as a fine or penalty that mentions the violation of a traffic rule.

• In general, there is no difference between a citation or a ticket as both are issued for the same acts of violations of traffic rules and have similar implications for the violators.

• A citation is for a specific violation of a traffic rule while a ticket can have several violations listed in it.

• A citation makes it mandatory for the recipient to appear in the designated law court whereas ticket can be paid and does not require appearance in person in a court of law.