Signing The Ticket
Anytime a police officer issues you a traffic ticket–not a rare event these days–you are asked to sign the ticket. Signing the ticket constitutes your agreement to either pay the ticket or show up at court at the appointed date to plead guilty or not guilty. (The date on the ticket is your arraignment date where you declare guilty or not guilty, it is not your trial date.)
So what happens if you refuse to sign the ticket? Sometimes nothing happens, you are still required to pay or show up at court. If you don’t show up, you will be found guilty. And if you don’t pay the fine, your license will be suspended.
Or, if Officer Jones has had a bad day, or he is absolutely required to get a violators signature, he does have the option to demand the “bond” (typically the price of the ticket) right there on the spot. If you refuse to pay, or can’t pay, he can take your license and issue you a receipt that you can drive on, temporarily. Your license will be returned when you pay the fine or win in court. In real worst case scenarios, in some jurisdictions, you can be hauled into court and held in custody until you pay the bond.
This is not done at your convenience!
Signing the ticket has no material effect on the final outcome of your trial, or payment of the fine. It is not an admission of guilt. It’s only practical purpose is to insure that you acknowledge your responsibility to pay the fine or contest the ticket in court.