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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
A traffic ticket is not always as minor as you might initially think. While an isolated ticket may be relatively inconsequential, multiple tickets or more serious driving offenses can lead to high costs and even the loss of your driving privileges. If you are facing any traffic violation, you may need to contact an Austin traffic lawyer for assistance.
Working with an adept defense lawyer who can help you build a strong defense strategy may benefit you in many ways. You may be able to work towards the best possible resolution for the specific facts of your case.
Traffic Violations in Austin
Getting a traffic ticket means one of two things, pleading guilty and paying the ticket or going to court to fight it. While many individuals choose to admit guilt to the minor traffic violation and pay the ticket without ever appearing in court, this choice could result in unexpected ramifications. Assessment of fines and points, as well as increased insurance rates, are often the guaranteed outcomes of paying a traffic ticket.
On the other hand, individuals who already have points on their licenses or wish to avoid increased insurance rates for a lengthy period may want to appear in court to contest the ticket. Choosing this option, however, requires an appearance in court on the date and time scheduled or they risk the court issuing a warrant for failure to appear.
Like other criminal charges, driving offenses can proceed to trial or, more commonly, are resolved by plea bargain. Most tickets and minor driving offenses are settled by agreement, which may require drivers to pay fine or complete other requirements.
Points and Surcharges Assessed Due to Offenses
Like many other states, Texas assigns points to drivers’ licenses whenever drivers receive traffic tickets or commit driving offenses. Tex. Trans. Code § 708.052 sets forth the number of points for each offense. Although most moving violations result in the assessment of two points, that amount of points can increase to three if an accident occurs as a result of a moving violation.
An Austin traffic attorney could explain all available options and discuss the consequences of various moving violations and other traffic offenses. Some of the most common moving violations include tickets for:
- Failure to stop at red traffic lights or stop signs
- Failure to yield
- Failure to signal a lane change
Once a driver accrues five points, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will issue warning notices. When someone accumulates six points within three years, DPS will assess a $100 surcharge for the first six points and $25 for each additional point. DPS will continue to evaluate these surcharges for every year that a driver has six or more points. Convictions on certain driving-related criminal offenses may result in additional surcharges as well.
For each year that passes without a traffic violation, a person will have one point removed from their license. Some drivers also may be eligible to complete traffic school once every 12 months, which will result in both dismissals of the ticket and the number of points that would have accrued as a result of the ticket. However, to qualify for traffic school, a driver must have a valid license, not be driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense, and not be accused of committing certain traffic violations, such as passing a school bus, among others.
Consult an Austin Traffic Attorney
Avoiding the financial repercussions of traffic violations can be significant. Failing to keep up with steadily mounting financial obligations related to moving violations and other driving-related offenses can be crucial to maintaining your driving privileges. An Austin traffic lawyer may be able to help you handle traffic violations and related offenses.
Having a legal advocate on your behalf can be essential to protecting your rights and interests while involved in the criminal justice system. Focus on your future by getting the legal counsel that you may need in this situation. Call today to learn more.