Getting a traffic ticket can be a frustrating and stressful experience. Whether the citation is for running a red light or speeding, a ticket can have serious consequences. The first and most obvious consequence of a traffic citation is the fine associated with the vehicle code violation. The fines and penalties for traffic citations vary with the charge and range in the hundreds of dollars.
The more significant problems that come with a traffic citation are the potential points on your driver’s license. This is because specific vehicle code violations such as running a red light are considered “moving violations” and will add “points” to your license if you are found guilty of the offense.
Per DMV rules, some or all of your driving privileges can be revoked if you have a certain number of points on your license. Specifically, your license can be endangered if you receive 4 points or more within 12 months, or if you receive 6 points or more with 24 months, or if you receive 8 points or more within 36 months.
The easiest way to help avoid points on your license if you are found guilty is to request traffic school. You are eligible to attend traffic school if you have not attended traffic school for a previous violation in the past 18 months prior to being found guilty of a new violation.
Additionally, your motor vehicle insurance rates can go up significantly if you are found guilty of specific vehicle code violations. This increase in your rates can end up significantly increasing the total financial penalties you incur as a result of a traffic citation in the long run.
The good news is that you always have the right to a contest a traffic ticket. There are several benefits to hiring an experienced traffic ticket attorney to assist you in fighting your traffic citation. First, an attorney can appear on your behalf in court which saves you valuable time that you can spend working or with the people you care about rather than hours over multiple days in a courthouse. Second, an experienced traffic attorney can help negotiate with the citing officer to see if he or she is willing to amend the original citation they gave you to a more beneficial citation. For example, if you were cited for running a red light, you are facing a hefty fine and points on your license. However, if the officer can be convinced to amend the violation to a “non-point violation” or a ticket that will NOT add points to your license. Then your insurance rates and your license are much better off. Finally, if necessary, an experienced traffic attorney can take your case to a “court trial” in front of the judge wherein the attorney will cross-examine the officer regarding why he or she thought you deserved to be given a citation in the first place and argue for the judge to find you not guilty.
Ultimately, in a court trial, the traffic court judge decides whether or not you are guilty based upon the evidence and arguments presented. An attorney can either argue the entire trial on your behalf without your presence or help prepare you to testify and hone your testimony to provide the most succinct and concise argument for your case.
If you have a traffic citation and would like to speak to an experienced traffic ticket attorney about your case, please call the Law Office of Gustavo Magaña for a free consultation at (408)430-0411.