Do Police Issue Citations for Car Accidents?

Question:  Do police officers have to issue a citation to the person at fault in a car accident?

Robert’s Answer:  No, they do not.  Most of the time a citation is not issued.  It is purely at the discretion of the police officer investigating the accident.  If a citation is issued, and the person is found guilty or pleads guilty, then that can be very helpful in the car wreck case.  For instance, if the driver is issued a citation for running a red light, and is found or pleads guilty, then the citation is admissible in the civil case and his fault is conclusively established as a latter of law.  But that rarely happens because most people plead “not guilty” or “no contest.”  In those situations, the citation is not admissible in your civil case.

However, just because a citation is not issued does not mean that the other driver is not at fault.  You can still pursue a claim for personal injuries and the damages to your car so long as you can prove fault based up the circumstances surrounding the accident.

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