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How do traffic tickets affect my driving record?

We launched TicketKick.com last July, and have continued to grow since then. Our customers pay us to help them prepare defenses for fighting their traffic citations. We have helped thousands of customers contest their traffic citations, and about 70%of those customers get their cases completely dismissed. A typical speeding ticket in California will result in one point on a DMV driving record. While some insurance companies may not elect to raise rates after a point, others may increase premiums drastically. Insurers can raise rates by 20% or more, depending on the situation, the driver's policy, and other factors. This, in turn, can result in hundreds of dollars of premium payments over the course of 3 years, before the point is removed completely from a driver's record. Conversely to increasing rates, many insurance companies will opt to remove the "good driver discount" from a policy once a point is incurred. While this is technically not a rate increase, but rather a discount removal, the net effect is the same; higher insurance premiums for the driver. Recently we had a customer who's insurance premiums went from $100 to $120 per month because of a ticket that he decided to plead guilty to. $20 per month certainly adds up, and over the next few years he'll pay a whopping $720 more than he would have with a clean driving record. While the speeding ticket brackets do matter matter when it comes to points assigned, other than certain exemptions, it certainly affects the fine amount. Generally, brackets are assigned 1-15 MPH over the speed limit, 16-25 MPH, and 25 MPH and greater. Fines in the slower bracket are between $214 and $300, depending on the driver's previous record, the county, and the courthouse. The next bracket will see fines between $280 and $250, and the final bracket can see fines up to $450. There are a few exceptions the the previous paragraph. Anything 100 MPH or greater can carry a punishment of up to 2 points, and fines in excess of $500. In some situations, drivers can face license suspensions and other harsher punishments that most speeding tickets. In another situation if a driver were caught for traveling say, 95 MPH in a 30 MPH zone, the officer can slap a violation such as reckless driving, exhibition of speed, or another serious offense on, in addition to the speeding violation. Once a driver receives a ticket, there are multiple ways to prevent any point from ever hitting their record. Here are an exhaustive lists of all the options: 1)Attend traffic school: In exchange for taking an 8 hour course on driver's education, the courthouse will dismiss the charge. You'll still have to pay the fine amount, but your record will stay clean. This option can only be used for single point offenses, and can only be taken once every 18 months. Commercial drivers can't take traffic school, even if they were cited in a personal vehicle. 2)Plead to a lesser violation: Some judges will reduce a 1 point offense to a zero point offense, such as "coasting in neutral", or "blocking an intersection". These offenses do not carry a point, so it essentially has the insurance repercussions equivalent to a parking ticket. Expect to still pay the fine amount of the original charge. Not all judges are apt to make a deal like this, though. Many attorneys use this bargaining tactic when defending their clients. 3)Fight the ticket in court: In the American legal system, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Exercise your right to defend yourself by going into court (or having an attorney do it for you) and pleading your case. There are dozens of defenses that can be used whether the violation is speeding, stop sign, red light, lane change, cell phone, etc. Expect to spend a few hours at the courthouse and be well prepared. If you hire an attorney, expect to shell out a bit of cash. If you don't win your case, try for traffic school or a lesser charge. 4)Fight your ticket through the mail:California has a rather unique process called a trial by written declaration, where a driver can elect to fight their ticket without ever appearing in court. California Vehicle Code Section 40902 outlines the procedure for a trial by written declaration. This is, in our opinion, the best thing to do when faced with a traffic ticket. You won't have to go into the courthouse and wait in long lines. Even if you lose, you can still have a court trial, called a Trial De Novo, where you can give it a second chance. The success rates are higher than those in court, partly because the officers are less likely to write in their side of the story, as required, than they are to show up in court. Better yet, TicketKick can prepare all of the paperwork for the driver, so all he or she has to do is sign the paperwork and send it in. Please note that everything aforementioned is specific to California. With that said, though, most states have very similar laws and much of this information can carry over to other jurisdictions. -The TicketKick.com Team (800) 580-1902 www.ticketkick.com Facebook.com/TicketKick
Posted in Beat My Ticket
Sep 30th, 2011