Many people receive traffic tickets throughout the state every day and pay them without a second thought. Even a single traffic ticket can result in expensive fines, increased insurance rates, points on your license, and high surcharges. If a police officer has given you a traffic ticket, you may want to look to a Collin County traffic lawyer for advice.
While a minor traffic ticket certainly seems less severe than a criminal arrest, the future consequences can be quite severe. Accruing too many points on your license eventually might lead to impossible fees and even the suspension of your license. An adept defense attorney may be able to help you develop the defense strategy that is likely to be most effective in your case.
Differences Between Traffic Tickets and Criminal Offenses
Texas Administrative Code § 15.89 lists more than 200 traffic offenses that qualify as moving violations. Moving violations are acts prohibited by state law or city ordinance that are related to the operations of a motor vehicle on public roadways and that constitute traffic hazards. Some of these violations are criminal offenses under the Texas Penal Code that can result in jail time, while others are merely traffic tickets, which are classified as Class C misdemeanors and involve only the payment of a fine. These could include:
- Failing to stop at a stop sign or stoplight
- Making an illegal turn
- Failing to yield
Police officers issue these traffic violations on a ticket that gives the amount of the fine and how to pay it, or how to appear in court and contest the ticket. While there are no criminal penalties that arise from traffic tickets, they still may result in increased insurance rates and the accrual of points on a license.
Alternatively, some moving violations result in criminal charges, which may be either misdemeanor or felonies, depending on the nature of the violation and the circumstances surrounding the violation. One of the most common examples is DWI or driving while intoxicated. For a first-time offense, a DWI charge is normally a Class B misdemeanor. Individuals are recommended to contact a Collin County traffic attorney for help with fighting any criminal road offenses or traffic tickets.
Accumulating Points on Licenses in Collin County
Under Tex. Trans. Code § 708.052, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) assesses points to the licenses of drivers who commit moving violations. Most violations result in the assessment of two points, but if a traffic violation causes an accident, DPS assesses three points.
Once drivers accumulate five points, DPS sends them a warning notice. At the six-point level, DPS assesses a surcharge of $100 for the first six points and $25 for each additional point. With the surcharges assessed due to points, DPS also assesses surcharges for committing DWIs and certain other moving violations that are also criminal offenses. This practice can result in thousands of dollars of surcharges for three years, which is the length of time that the surcharges remain in effect.
Drivers may be able to remove points from their licenses, which might help eliminate or reduce surcharges. For each year that passes in which drivers do not have a traffic violation, one point will drop off their licenses. Additionally, qualified drivers may be able to complete traffic school once each year to have a ticket, and its accompanying point value dismissed and removed from their driving records. A Collin County traffic lawyer may be able to explain how traffic violation points might impact a person’s driving rights.
Rely on a Collin County Traffic Attorney for Legal Advice
Given the long list of moving violations that can lead to points added to your license, you may want to contact a Collin County traffic lawyer for advice. Increased insurance rates, yearly surcharges, and expensive fines all can combine to create a heavy financial burden for you and your family.
Having legal representation is always wise when you are facing consequences that may have a significant impact on your future. Safeguard your driving record and avoid costly financial burdens by getting legal advice when you need it most. Call today to learn more.