I've done some first page of Google research on signing vs refusing to sign a traffic ticket. I understand that it's technically illegal not to sign, though one can still refuse in any case. I also understand that not signing means one can be taken into custody rather than be released on their own recognizance with a promise to appear in court or settle the ticket in the alotted time.

So knowing all this, is it ever OK, or beneficial to still refuse to sign a ticket?

This question was prompted by watching a YouTube video, where an off duty police captain claimed he witnessed a violation, for which he had another officer pull the driver over and issue them a citation, which they refused to sign, because the issuing officer was not a witness, and the violation itself was contested by the driver.

  • Where is this? In Minnesota, I was not asked to sign a ticket, just to pay it (I could theoretically have contested it, but it would have been futile). Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 16:22

2 Answers 2


The details do of course depend on where you are. Generally, though, if you are "required" to sign a citation, you are only acknowledging that you have been cited and must appear in court or else pay the fine. You can refuse to sign, meaning, you can refuse to promise to appear or pay, in which case you can and perhaps much be arrested on the spot. For instance, Cal. Vehicle Code 40302 mandates arrest for non-felony violations of the vehicle code if e.g. you fail to present ID, or "(b) When the person arrested refuses to give his or her written promise to appear in court". That's the significance of signing – it's not a coerced confession (which would be inadmissible).

  • That's all good info, but its elaboration on what was already established in the question. My question was about whether there are any benefits of not signing. For instance, would it expedite your hearing/trial? Would it strengthen a case, where there is a counter-suit for wrongful citation in the first place? Especially if refusing to sign meant they were arrested, roughed up, and taken to jail for refusing to sign a ticket they were wrongfully cited? When is not signing a ticket beneficial?
    – Bango
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 19:55

When you are in Australia - only the police officer signs the ticket.

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