IMPORTANT NOTE: Traffic / driving / insurance laws and court
procedures can vary greatly from state to state. For more info, consult
a lawyer or other knowledgable source experienced with your state's
laws. -- Staff
DRIVING RECORD AND INSURANCE
Insurance companies check the driving records for every potential client
to determine what rate to charge them. If the person has one or more
convictions of any type, the insurance company will often charge a
higher premium for insurance. On the other hand, some insurance
companies offer discounts for drivers with clear records. In order to
keep your insurance rates down, it is important to keep your driving
record as clean as possible.
It is recommended that you shop around for the best rates, and coverage
which will best serve your needs. Remember, your license can be
suspended if it is found that you don't have proper liability insurance
or financial responsibility for your automobile.
WHAT ARE POINTS?
A counting system known as points is used by some states to keep track
of the number and severity of moving violations of which an individual
may be convicted. Upon conviction, the court is required to send a
record to the state's department of motor vehicles. Depending on the
charge, the person will receive a certain number of points on his or her
driving record. The number of points assessed for moving violations
varies. For example, a speeding ticket may carry a penalty of two
points, while driving with a suspended license could result in a penalty
of twelve points. If a person accumulates a set number of points, he or
she may lose the right to drive by a license suspension or revocation.
Insurance companies also check the number of points on an individual's
record and may raise his or her rates if there is a high number of
You may wish to consult with an attorney about points assessed for a
particular moving violation or how to fight a traffic ticket to avoid
points on your record.
FIGHTING A TRAFFIC TICKET
Before making a decision to fight a traffic ticket, first consider the
evidence you have to support your version of the facts. For example,
the testimony of a witness can help your case; however, the judge will
consider the reliability of the witness, based on who the witness is.
The judge will probably put more faith in a stranger's story than if
your witness is your best friend or your spouse.
Some people decide to fight a ticket simply in the hope that the police
officer won't appear. While this is more likely to happen on a parking
ticket rather than a moving violation, if it does happen, oppose any
request for a continuance that the prosecution makes, and ask for an
immediate dismissal of all charges.
Although you have the option to appear alone before the judge to dispute
a traffic ticket, you may wish to seek the advice of an attorney for
A license suspension can occur in several different ways. The most
common way to lose a driver's license is by accumulating traffic tickets
for moving violations. The effect of this accumulation can result in a
license suspension of thirty, sixty, or ninety days. Any additional
moving violations may result in a one year suspension of the privilege
to drive. License suspensions may also occur because of failure to have
liability insurance, driving with blood alcohol levels in excess of the
legal limits, refusing to take a breathalyzer test, or outstanding
Driving with a suspended license is a serious offense which could result
in arrest, jail time, fines, or having your license revoked. If your
license is suspended, your insurance rates could be raised. It is
strongly suggested that you make every effort to maintain a valid
driver's license. If you think you are at risk of losing your driver's
license, you may wish to consult an attorney about proper proceedings to
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
If you receive a traffic ticket, you normally have the option to plead
guilty or no contest and accept the consequences, or plead not guilty
and fight the ticket in court. Some courts allow you to mail the fine
and court costs without appearing before a judge. However, paying a
traffic ticket by mail may result in a violation on your driving record.
This could increase your insurance premiums or affect your right to
You have the option to appear before a judge in traffic court to dispute
a ticket; however, this can be a complex proceeding in which a good case
may be lost. A valid defense must be presented in the proper legal
form; therefore, you may wish to seek legal counsel.
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