Just a single traffic conviction may result in the revocation of a driver's license and a substantial increase in insurance premiums. Because of this heavy burden, a decision to resolve a traffic case should be an informed one. An experienced attorney can outline the probabilities of a good result and the cost effectiveness of the effort to obtain that result.
Our first result about a traffic citation is its potential effect on the driver's license. Most drivers are on a 12 point system: this means that if a driver accumulates more than 12 points in three years, the license will be revoked. Points assigned for violations include the following:
Passing Stopped School Bus 5 Illegal Passing 4
Reckless Driving 4 Speeding in Excess of 55 3
Following Too Close 4 No Driver's License 3
Not Stopping at a Stop Sign 4 Running a Red Light 3
Speeding in a School Zone 3 All other Moving Violations 2
In order to avoid either 'instant revocation' of a drivers license it is important to avoid conviction for any of the following:
Exceeding by more than 15 miles per hour the speed limit, if the person was also driving at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour at the time of the offense.
Driving at a speed in excess of 80 miles per hour at the time of the offense.
Two convictions of reckless driving committed within 12 months.
Driving While Impaired
This can be accomplished most often through reduction of the charge.
Several factors affect a prosecutor's decision to reduce a charge to a level where the license will not be in jeopardy:
- Severity of the offense.
- Motorist's prior driving record.
- Motorist's attitude toward the officer.
- Any speedometer error reflected by a speedometer test.
If the prosecutor will not reduce the charged speed, he or she might permit a plea to an alternate charge that will not jeopardize the license. Of course, a finding of not guilty at all alleviates the problem.
Our second concern about a traffic citation is its potential effect on insurance. Your insurance rates are based, in part, upon the number of insurance points accumulated by a driver. Points are assigned because of an at-fault accident or for moving traffic violations. Premium increases are:
Five 120% A single conviction for speeding in excess of 55 mph could
Six 150% result in a 45% increase in your insurance premiums.
There are several techniques to help avoid insurance points:
- A conviction of speeding 10 mph or less over the speed limit where there is the first conviction of a moving violation in three years.
- Each family can get a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) once in 3 years.
- A plea to a non-moving violation, such as improper equipment.
- A finding of not guilty following a trial.
I hope this information will be helpful to you and your family. One point that I would again like to emphasize is to treat the officer with courtesy and respect. Most officers make notes of a motorist's attitude and freely share those notes with the prosecutor. An officer who believe he has been treated poorly will inevitably convince the prosecutor to have no mercy.
We have over 20 years of experience in helping our clients avoid the pitfalls of the criminal justice system.
Please allow us to help you from accumulating insurance and DMV points that will increase your insurance premiums and may result in the loss of your license.