When you get a traffic ticket, it often seems far easier to pay it and move on, rather than taking the time and effort to go to court and fight the ticket. Not fighting a ticket, however, could be very costly over the next few years, as your insurance rates may increase and you may accrue points that could result in surcharges. A Fort Worth traffic lawyer may be able to answer your questions, set forth your options, and assist you in choosing how to handle your ticket.
What you may not initially realize is that it is very easy to accrue too many points on your license within a limited period. Even a single traffic ticket can push you over the threshold at which the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will begin to assess surcharges on your license. An experienced defense lawyer may help you understand these potential repercussions and devise the best strategy for dealing with your ticket.
Fighting a Traffic Ticket in Fort Worth
Traffic tickets concern moving violations, or violations of state law or city ordinance that relate to the operation of a motor vehicle on public roadways and constitute a hazard to traffic in general. More serious moving violations result in criminal charges, such as DWI or reckless driving. Other moving violations will result in getting a ticket from a law enforcement officer that assesses a fine for the violation.
One option is always to pay the ticket, accept the points assessed by DPS, and admit guilt to the violation. The other option is to attend the court date as scheduled, but without paying the ticket fine or admitting guilt to a moving violation. In some cases, individuals may be able to negotiate an agreement, enter a pre-trial diversion program, or have the ticket dismissed altogether, although there are no guarantees. However, fighting back against a ticket could eliminate the assessment of points to a person’s license and help them avoid both surcharges and insurance rate increases.
Accrual of Points on Licenses
Tex. Trans. Code § 708.052 gives DPS the authority to assess points when drivers commit moving violations. The number of points assessed depends upon the circumstances surrounding the offense. While most minor traffic offenses, such as speeding, result in the accrual of two points, a speeding offense resulting in an accident results in the accrual of three points.
After drivers accumulate six points, they must begin paying surcharges of $100 for the first six points and $25 for each additional point. Aside from point-related surcharges, DPS also assesses surcharges for committing certain moving violations. Failure to pay surcharge promptly can result in license suspension.
There may be ways for eligible drivers to remove points from their licenses, which can help cut down on surcharges. All drivers receive a reduction of one point for every year that they go without committing a moving violation. Qualified drivers also may be able to complete traffic school once a year to avoid having points from a ticket assessed to their driving records.
Meet with a Fort Worth Traffic Attorney for Legal Advice
While it is tempting to ignore the potential consequences and pay your ticket, you could regret that decision in the future. Making an informed decision may be a wiser path to following under these circumstances. Discussing your options and situation with a Fort Worth traffic lawyer may help you make the decisions about your traffic ticket that are right for you.
No matter how you decide to handle your traffic ticket, understanding your options before choosing your course can be useful. Avoid costly mistakes that can impact your future by consulting an attorney today.