Refusing to Sign a Citation - Pittsburgh Traffic Lawyers

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Can I Refuse to Sign a Traffic Ticket in Pennsylvania?

Everyone gets a little nervous when they’re pulled over for a traffic violation. This is a normal reaction even if you have done nothing wrong. Unfortunately, many people get especially anxious about dealing with the police even regarding simple traffic violations.

If you are issued a ticket in Pittsburgh, you can deal with it the right way by contacting a criminal defense attorney at our firm. Call (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation. This could be the difference in paying an expensive fine and keeping points off your license.


Nobody wants to incriminate himself or herself. For this reason, many people try to avoid signing traffic tickets. This is not necessary, though.

Signing a traffic citation is not an admission of guilt. It simply acknowledges that you have received the citation and know that you must appear in court and deal with the ticket or face serious penalties.

Generally, if a police officer asks you to sign a traffic citation, they will tell you that you are required by law to sign it. This is true.

It is a misdemeanor to refuse to sign a traffic citation. Although very rare, you can be subject to criminal charges for refusing to sign. Furthermore, if you are belligerent about refusing to sign the ticket, you could face further charges, like obstruction of justice or resisting arrest.

What happens you refuse to sign a traffic ticket?

If you refuse to sign a traffic citation, you can be arrested and subjected to the criminal process.

When you arrive at the station, you will still get the traffic citation and compelled to sign. You could even be arrested and put in jail, though this is not common.

For civil or administrative traffic offenses, the common approach is for the officer to simply issue you the ticket and mark it “Refused.” Contrary to some traffic myths, this does not invalidate the ticket. You still must pay any fines or appear in court on the assigned date.

Case law in Pennsylvania shows that judges do not dismiss charges simply because a person has refused to sign a ticket. Sometimes this is viewed more harshly, as it can be considered an indication that you may have been acting in a reckless or confrontational manner. Usually, nothing is gained by not signing. You may even get yourself arrested or face other penalties. Even if you are sure of your innocence, it is better to sign your citation and contest it in court.

Hire a Pittsburgh Traffic Lawyer

The best way to avoid increased insurance premiums, points on your license, possible license suspension, and fines is to work with a lawyer who knows the PA traffic code, and how it can be used for your benefit. Refusing to sign a ticket is typically more trouble than it’s worth.

If you have been issued a Pittsburgh traffic ticket or you refused to sign a citation, contact a Pittsburgh traffic ticket lawyer at Worgul, Sarna, and Ness for a free consultation.

We are available 24/7 when you call (412) 281-2146.