The Differences Between Moving And Non-Moving Violations

Motion is the deciding factor in moving vs. non-moving violations. Violations are actions that result in a ticket from the police. Some violation notices don’t require police to be present when you receive the notice.

What is a Moving Violation?

A moving violation is one of several legal infractions involving the safe operation of a vehicle that law enforcement deems unsuitable. They are things that a patrol officer observes and stops you for – because the actions are immediately hazardous to yourself and others on the road. Moving violations are enumerated in state laws.

What is a Moving Traffic Violation?

A moving traffic violation is the same as a moving violation. These are penalties for illegal operation of a motor vehicle, such as speeding, operating erratically, or driving without a license.

These violations come with a double penalty: both a fine and, likely, “points” on your driver’s license, which usually result in an increase in insurance premiums. Even two points can translate to a 30 percent increase. You can check the number of points on your license by looking up your driving records on your state DMV website.

The 15 states that don’t use the “points” system may list drivers on the Problem Driver Pointer system, which tracks drivers with moving violations and allows the information to be shared with law enforcement around the country.

Some states share information on moving violations. That means if you live in Florida and get a speeding ticket in Alabama, the ticket will be reported to Florida and will be added to the points on your license. States that do not participate in this Driver License Agreement non-resident violator compact are Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, and Wisconsin.

Moving Violation Examples

If you’re curious about what a moving violation is in Florida vs. Texas, moving violations are determined by individual states, but there is general uniformity across the country. Moving violation examples include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving to endanger
  • Causing an accident
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Failure to stop for a police officer
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Driving an unregistered vehicle


Speeding is not only exceeding the posted speed limit but also driving too fast for the conditions (ice/snow/fog) or driving too fast for specific circumstances, such as zipping through a work zone or school zone which may or may not be posted.

Some speeding tickets are left to the discretion of the police officer on the scene. If they learn that you’re rushing to the hospital or to get your elderly parent to an appointment, you may be excused. However, speeding at 100 m.p.h. through rush hour, traffic may be deemed a particular hazard for which the officer could levy the maximum fine.

Running a Red Light

Sometimes, what a moving violation is doesn’t seem to make sense. Is it a violation if there are no “victims”? Much is left to the discretion of authorities who interpret the situation. Alone in the middle of empty farmland, running a red light can be a non-issue, but tailgating another car to make it through a yellow traffic light that will turn red before you clear the intersection can be a big issue. Since this is a hazard not only to yourself but to others, police who witness this (or who have a remote camera at the intersection) are likely to issue a moving violation.

moving and non-moving violations

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving alleges that a motorist was disobeying more than one driving law. This can be a combination of speeding and talking on a cell phone, not staying inside the travel lane due to a distraction inside the car, or allowing passengers to ride without safety belts while speeding. Reckless driving can contribute to accidents, such as swerving, that make another car drive off the road.

Failure to Stop for a Police Officer

When a police officer is working at a road construction site, their directions to drivers must be obeyed. If an officer waves at a vehicle to stop and they don’t, the officer may write a ticket. In more serious situations a person who is pursued by police with lights flashing and siren wailing must stop their vehicle quickly. Driving for many miles to evade police (a chase) can result in a ticket or even arrest -- even if the driver was not exceeding the speed limit or driving erratically.

Moving Violations Consequences

As you can see from the moving violations examples, there are many ways to get into trouble if you’re not a careful driver. Moving violations carry a fine and the potential for increasing the driver’s insurance rate through “points.” Points are determined by your insurance company. If you accumulate an excessive number of points your license may be suspended.

Some states use their own Safe Driver plans, like Massachusetts, where the state has established a system for assigning points for moving violations. Texas has a similar points-based Driver Responsibility program.

Each state sets thresholds for moving violations and establishes a slate of penalties. For instance, Florida sets a schedule of speeding fines based on how much the driver exceeds the speed limit. If you exceed the speed limit by 10 miles per hour or more, you receive a $100 fine there.

What is a Non-Moving Violation?

Non-moving violations are vehicle infractions that merit a ticket left on the windshield of the car. These can include parking in a no-parking zone, blocking a crosswalk, or violations of vehicle regulations such as not having a proper license plate, displaying an expired inspection sticker, or illegal parts (extra-dark window tint, a lift kit, oversized wheels).

Non-Moving Violation Examples

Non-moving violations are traffic offenses that occur when a vehicle is not in motion. These infractions typically pertain to issues related to the condition, registration, or parking of a vehicle. Unlike moving violations, which involve unsafe driving behavior, non-moving violations generally do not affect your driving record or insurance rates. Below are some common examples of non-moving violations:

Broken Headlights

In New Jersey, drivers can be cited for driving with broken headlights and fined for failure to drive with headlights on in the rain. These are just a couple of the many non-moving violation examples that carry $55 non-moving violation fines. Others include broken headlights, improperly installed headlights, or headlights of the wrong brightness. Many of these infractions are decided by the officer writing the ticket.

Expired Registration

Forgetting to renew your vehicle registration can result in a fine. Law enforcement organizations use license plate lookup scanners at intersections and in vehicles on highways, filtering other cars by their license plate status and/or driver warrants. A past due registration will also be clear to police if they stop the vehicle for another reason, such as speeding or failure to stop for an emergency vehicle.

In California, if a registration is not renewed within 30 days of expiration the fine can be 20 percent of the registration fee. What is a non-moving violation going to look like on license plate scanners? Not to worry, it’s unlikely that a few parking tickets will result in police stopping you on the highway.

Parking Violations

Parking can be difficult in New York, where some parts of the state are clogged with vehicle traffic. But parking in the wrong place can get you in real trouble. The state allows law enforcement to fine drivers $115 for parking in an improper location. If you’re caught parking in a space designated for vehicles with handicap permits, you may receive a $180 fine. Some non-moving violations may be specific to an urban area, such as higher parking fines in Manhattan, Miami, Los Angeles, or Chicago.

moving and non-moving violations

Non-Moving Violations Consequences

Non-moving violations carry fines, but whether they result in “points” on your license is up to your insurance company (it’s unlikely). However, if the fines aren’t paid quickly, they can be compounded. In some cities, parking tickets that start at $30 can double if they’re not paid in 30 days. If you accrue many tickets and do not pay them, a city may tow your vehicle or put a “boot” on it, so it can’t be driven until the fines are paid.

Key Differences Between Moving and Non-Moving Violations

What is a non-moving violation vs. a moving violation? The latter are more serious than non-moving violations. Infractions like speeding, driving to endanger, and DUI have serious consequences, starting with fines and elevated insurance premiums (due to points). When a driver receives a certain number of points on their license (whether through insurance or a state system), it will be suspended. If the person continues to drive on a suspended license, the penalties can escalate to license revocation and jail time.

Among the most serious moving violations is driving while intoxicated, which can be described in different ways. To clarify, DUI vs. DWI is Driving Under the Influence, which can be any substance (liquor, drugs), while Driving While Intoxicated indicates alcohol only.

Nature of The Offense

The difference between moving violations and non-moving violation examples is the nature of the offense. Non-moving violations are often simple negligence and not an immediate threat to anyone’s safety. Moving violations are more serious because conduct like driving under the influence or speeding can threaten the safety of everyone in the area.

Safety Implications

Safety implications are the key differences between moving and non-moving traffic violations. If a car is parked negligently and is causing a public safety issue (such as blocking a street), police may ticket the vehicle and have it towed away as well. Likewise, if a person is stopped for DUI, it’s more serious than a speeding ticket, so the person is taken into custody either to protect the safety of the public or to appear in court (if it’s not the driver’s first offense).

Legal Consequences

There are fewer legal consequences for non-moving traffic violations than moving violations. Non-moving traffic violations carry enough of a financial “ding” to remind the driver not to repeat the action. And unpaid fines can follow you: if you haven’t paid your tolls or parking tickets the state can deny your vehicle registration renewal.

However, the addition of insurance points or being on the list of “Problem Driver Pointer System” violators is a more serious wake-up call. Ignoring this status or any accumulation of tickets or points can be expensive and ultimately damaging.

Drivers may appeal moving violations in an attempt to stop a license suspension. This may require hiring an attorney. In California, the driver must fill out and submit a form for appeal which results in a hearing date. Other states have similar processes. In some states, like Florida, a driver may take a class to have points removed from their record.

Judges may require drivers to attend safe driving classes as part of a fine. Losing driving privileges can be devastating to people who operate vehicles as part of their jobs, so it must be taken seriously.

Keeping tabs on your driver’s license status is an important part of driving that isn’t taught in Driver’s Ed classes. If you are stopped for speeding or reckless driving a few times, it can be financially punishing. Be aware that most states share information, so getting a ticket in one state will impact your driving record at home as well as your insurance premiums. Having your license suspended can spiral quickly into unemployment if transportation is part of your occupation. Collecting a pile of parking tickets can also add up as fines multiply. Even non-moving violations must be taken seriously.


How Much is a Non-Moving Violation?

Parking tickets are set by local jurisdiction, often $15 to $30, but accumulating several tickets can result in steep fines as unpaid balances multiply quickly. Other non-moving violations range from $55 in New Jersey for parking in a no-parking zone to a $90 ticket for parking in a bus lane in Chicago.

How Often Does the Court Notify the DMV of a Moving Violation?

Each time a driver has a moving violation it is transmitted to the state DMV and entered on the driver’s record. A judge will examine the driver’s entire record when deciding an appeal or a license suspension/revocation.

How Long Does a Moving Violation Stay on Your Record?

Moving violations stay on your record for between one and ten years. California keeps records of crashes on your license for three years, but records of DUI last for ten years. Florida keeps records of moving violations between 3 and 7 years.

Do Non Moving Violations Affect Insurance?

Non-moving violations generally do not affect your insurance rates. These infractions, such as parking tickets or expired registration, do not reflect on your driving behavior or risk level, so insurance companies typically do not consider them when determining premiums.

Do Non Moving Violations Go on Your Record?

Non-moving violations usually do not go on your driving record. These violations, including issues like broken headlights or parking infractions, are considered minor offenses and are not typically recorded on your driving history, thus not impacting your record or license points.