There are generally two types of traffic violations: minor and major. Minor violations include non-moving violations such as parking offenses, and some moving violations, such as speeding or failure to obey a stop sign. In most minor violations, you'll be given a traffic ticket and the opportunity to simply pay the fine indicated or to contest the charge in court. If you pay the stipulated fine, you're effectively pleading guilty to the charge, and the violation will be added to your driving record. If there's a violation points system in your state, the appropriate number of points will be added to your accumulated total. If you choose to contest the charge in court, you should follow the instructions provided on the traffic ticket concerning when and where to report. If your driving record is less than perfect, which can affect your insurance premium among other things, you may consider seeking the advice of an attorney before pleading guilty to a traffic violation by simply paying the fine. In cases involving a serious violation, which may be punishable by imprisonment, you're not generally given the option of paying a fine and avoiding a court appearance. In these cases, the police officer will either take you into custody directly or obtain sufficient identity information so that a summons to appear in court can be sent to you. If you receive such a summons, you must appear in court at the time stipulated, or the court may issue a warrant for your arrest. If you're accused of a serious traffic violation, you should consider contacting an attorney.