Ticket Fines and Penalties in Utah
Judges go by a state-issued fine schedule to help them determine traffic ticket sentences; these include fines and surcharges. So getting a traffic ticket for running a red light in Salt Lake County might cost differently than one in Weber County. The schedule gives these judges a minimum base from which to start. From there, they take into account aggravating and or mitigating circumstances (such as violations that cause a wreck).
Your traffic ticket should list the fine amount; if you've misplaced the citation, refer to our page on lost traffic tickets. Failure to pay this fine or contest the ticket in court by the deadline on our ticket results in bail increase in the form of surcharges. Plus, the court could issue a warrant for your arrest.
So many factors go into the total amount due. Fortunately, Utah's Uniform Fine/Bail Forfeiture Schedule offers a clear starting point by unique violation. It also offers details on surcharges―which can range from an additional 35 to 90% of the base fine.
Traffic ticket fines also vary by the type of violation committed. These include:
- Turning, lane change and signaling violations
- Faulty equipment violations
- Traffic violations
Of course, if your violation resulted in an auto accident, you can bank on an increase in fees. That's because a court might consider the wreck an aggravating circumstance.
- Pay the fine online or in court
- Option to plea bargain penalties
- Incur points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation)
- Possibly incur increase on auto insurance rates
- Option to take defensive driving course
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Paying your Traffic Ticket »
Traffic ticket penalties are uniform throughout the state. They range from points on your driving record to restricted driving privileges― or worse, jail time. However, just like with traffic ticket fines, a judge can adjust your sentence. For example, a judge can vary your points up or down by 10% for any traffic violation that isn't a speeding ticket. Plus, these penalties can vary by driver. In other words, someone who holds a CDL is penalized differently than a teen with a learner's permit. Scroll down for specifics on these two groups of drivers.
Utah Point System
Utah enlists a point system as part if its Driver Improvement Program. If you are older than 21 years old and accumulate more than 200 points on your driving record within a 3 year period, the state will ask you to appear for a hearing. Depending on how it goes, you could face probation, be asked to take a state-approved defensive driving course, or have your driver’s license suspended. For more on penalties for drivers younger than 21 years old, scroll down.
Usually following conviction or fine payment, traffic offenses get reported to the Utah Driver License Division. This means the following points will make their way to your driving record:
- Reckless driving―80 points
- Speeding (depending on severity}―37-75 points
- Failure to yield right-of-way―60 points
- Tailgating/following too closely―60 points
- Wrong side of the road―60 points
- Wrong way on one-way street―60 points
- Red light―50 points
- Stop sign―50 points
- Improper lookout―50 points
- Improper passing―50 points
- Negligent collision―50 points
- Other moving violations―40 points
Any points for moving traffic violations and suspensions will stay on your driving record for 3 years. For more on moving violations and the points that come with them, refer to the Utah Driver Handbook or our page on the Utah Point System.
UT Driver's License Suspension and Revocation
Not all convictions result in a suspended or revoked driver's license, but it's worth getting the facts so you know where you and your driving privileges stand. The difference between the two is:
License Suspension―The temporary withdrawal of a driver license or driving privilege for a definite period of time.
License Revocation―The termination of a driver license or driving privilege for an indefinite period of time. May be restored when all requirements for the revocation have been satisfied.
The following result in license suspension:
- Conviction of sufficient traffic violations to be subject to the Division Point System.
- As a Utah driver, failing to appear in court for a traffic violation when it occurred within the state or in a Non-Resident Violator Compact member state, or that you failed to satisfy fees, fines, or restitution to the court on any criminal charge.
- Conviction for a violation related to approaching an emergency vehicle, and have failed to complete a live classroom course on driving safety offered by an approved entity.
- Causing or contributing to a crash in which someone was injured or killed or which resulted in serious property damage by reckless or unlawful conduct.
- Being arrested for DUI or having been found guilty of any drug offense.
- Operating a vehicle or allowing a vehicle registered to you to be operated without required insurance or proof of financial responsibility.
The following result in license revocation:
- Failure to stop and give aid if you are involved in a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death of, or personal injury to another.
- Two charges of reckless driving or impaired driving in one year.
- Attempting to flee or refusing to stop after receiving a visual or audible signal from a police officer.
- By reckless or unlawful conduct, you have caused
or contributed to a crash in which someone was injured or killed or which resulted in serious property damage.
- Driving with a measurable or detectable amount of alcohol in your system when you have an alcohol- restricted status.
If caught driving with a denied, suspended or revoked driver's license you might be sentenced to jail for 90 days and get slapped with a fine. Plus, the state will extend the duration your license denial, suspension or revocation by the original amount of time. For example, a 3 month suspension could get an additional 3 months tacked on.
Penalties for Drivers Younger than 21
Drivers younger than 21 years old face a stricter point system in Utah. While the same number of points per violation listed above still apply, if you accumulate 70 or more within a 3 year period, you could be looking at:
- A hearing and subsequent suspension
- Denial of driving privileges from 30 days to 1 year
Keep in mind a judge can vary these points can plus or minus 10% for traffic violations; the only exception is for speeding tickets. Any points for moving traffic violations and suspensions will stay on your driving record for three years.
Penalties for Utah Commercial Drivers
Following a moving traffic violation conviction, the state will send your driving record to the Commercial Driver License Information System; any record of license suspensions and revocations will also go to the National Driver Register.
Holding a UT CDL also comes with stricter penalties when driving your personal vehicle. For example, if you driving privilege to operate your own car is revoked, canceled or suspended due to traffic control law violations, you'll also lose your privileges to operate a commercial motor vehicle. For a full list of penalties―while operating your own car or a CMV―consult the Utah Commercial Vehicle Driver Handbook.
The following lists of violations are just a sampling of the many ways you could to lose your CDL:
Committing 2 serious traffic violations within three years while using or operating a commercial motor vehicle will cause you to lose your CDL for at least 60 days. Conviction of a third within that time period increases the loss of license to 120 days.