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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Receiving a traffic ticket is a common occurrence that usually does not cause too much concern. However, you may not realize the extent of the financial repercussions of even a single ticket. An El Paso traffic lawyer may be able to fully explain the potential consequences of traffic tickets and help you explore your options for handling a ticket.
It takes only a single traffic violation to increase your motor vehicle insurance rates, add points to your license, and make you subject to surcharges by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Multiple traffic violations can quickly add up, causing even more financial hardship, and leading to the loss of a license. Working with a qualified defense lawyer may enable you to minimize or avoid some of the economic consequences of traffic tickets.
Options for Handling Traffic Tickets in El Paso
When many people commit a traffic violation, they admit guilt, pay the fine, and move on with their lives without ever having to appear in court. What they may not realize, however, is that admitting guilt to even one traffic violation can have adverse financial repercussions, in the form of increased insurance rates, high fines, and DPS surcharges. For many, these heightened expenses can have a severe impact on their finances.
The other option for handling a traffic violation is to appear in court as scheduled and fight the ticket. In most cases, the accused and the prosecution can work out an agreement to settle the case, which may include pleading guilty to a less severe traffic violation, completion of traffic school, or payment of a fine. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, however, the case will proceed to trial.
There are defenses available in some traffic violation cases that a traffic lawyer in El Paso could use. By getting legal advice from the outset of the case, drivers may be more likely to reach a more acceptable outcome.
Points and Surcharges
Tex. Trans. Code § 708.052 establishes the authority of DPS to assess points to the licenses of drivers who violate traffic or driving-related laws. Most moving violations, such as speeding, failure to stop at a red light, and failure to yield, result in the addition of two points to a license. If the moving violation caused an accident, however, then the DPS assesses three points.
Once drivers accrue six points within three years, they become subject to a $100 annual surcharge for the first six points and $25 for every point after that. Convictions for driving-related criminal offenses also add yearly surcharges. For example, a DUI conviction will result in a $1,000 surcharge every year for three years. However, if the blood alcohol content of the driver was 0.15 or more at the time of the offense, then the surcharge increases to $2,000 per year.
There are two ways to remove points from a license, which can reduce insurance rates over time and help eliminate point-based surcharges. For each year without a traffic violation, drivers can deduct one point from their license. Likewise, some drivers may qualify to complete traffic school once every 12 months, but this relief is limited those with valid licenses who were not driving commercial vehicles or committing certain traffic violations at the time of the most recent offense.
Allow an El Paso Traffic Attorney to Help
When you are facing a traffic violation, you should be aware of the potential consequences and options that may be available to you. An El Paso traffic lawyer may be able to help you make the choices that are best for you.
Too many increased financial obligations, such as insurance rates, fines, and surcharges, may result in you in being unable to drive. In turn, you may lose out on essential employment opportunities and chances to advance your career. By seeking legal advice right away, you may be able to reach a better resolution in your case. Call now for the advice you need.