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What to do when you get a
By Lana Elliott
Elliott Law Group, PLLC
Traffic tickets may not seem like a significant matter, but a single ticket can
end up costing you a lot of money. Traffic tickets can be for a wide variety
of infractions, everything from speeding to negligent driving. A single ticket
can lead to you having higher insurance rates, make it difficult to get certain
jobs, and if you get multiple tickets you can lose your driver’s license.
Traffic infractions include everything from speeding and improper lane use
to speed too fast for conditions and negligent driving, fines can range from
$100.00 to almost $1,000.00.
As of July 23, 2017, a new law is in effect that makes cell phone use, or
driving dangerously distracted an infraction. It is stricter than the previous
laws and makes holding or using your cell phone or doing any activity not
related to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes
with the safe operation of such vehicle on any road. These activities include
eating, drinking, grooming, or any other distracting activity. The only
exception to this is that you can use minimal figure use to activate or
deactivate a function of your phone, such as a single swipe to answer or
end a call, while using a handsfree device.
If you are unfortunate enough to receive a traffic ticket, you must respond
quickly. It is critical that you timely respond to your traffic ticket by selecting
one of the options discussed below. If you do not respond within deadline,
judgment will be entered against you and you will have to pay the full
amount of the ticket. When responding to your ticket you have the following
three options. First, pay the ticket, this is the worst option; it does you no
good, and leads to multiple negative impacts. Second, request a mitigation
hearing, which means that you admit that you committed the infraction, but
want to explain to the judge the circumstances of why you committed the
infraction and request a reduced fine. This is also a bad option that will
have all of the same negative effects as just paying the ticket. Third, you
have the option to request a contested hearing. This is the best option, it
gives you the option to fight the infraction and the opportunity to take
advantage all other options such as a deferral, traffic school, reduce the
ticket to a non-moving violation that won’t negatively impact your insurance,
or possibly even get the ticket dismissed.
After responding by requesting a contested hearing, you will be given a
court date. At the court date, you can have several different options
depending on your traffic history, it can be overwhelming to know what
option is right for you. One of the options can be traffic school or the Alive
at 25 class, depending on your age and where you received your citation.
This option can cost you some money and a significant amount of time
having to attend the class. The Alive at 25 class is only available one time,
and depending on the jurisdiction you can only do traffic school one time
every 18 months to 2 years, and your infraction has to be eligible. A second
possible option to resolve your case is the deferral program. The deferral
program puts your ticket on hold for up to a year, and if you meet certain
conditions, leads to your ticket being dismissed. However, you can only use
this option one time every 7 years.
Another possible option is to reduce your ticket, depending on what the
prosecutor is offering this can be a good option. The results of this option
can vary widely and depends on the specific of your case and what traffic
history you have. If none of these options work for you, you can take it to
your ticket to a contested hearing and try to prove that you did not commit
the infraction that you were cited for.
It is important to note that if you hold a commercial driver’s license you are
ineligible for the deferral program and you cannot do traffic school.
Commercial driver’s licenses are treated differently than standard licenses
and infractions in your personal vehicle or in your commercial vehicle can
significantly raise your insurance and multiple tickets may suspend your
commercial driver’s license.
It can be daunting to try to deal with a ticket yourself. It takes time, can be
inconvenient, and can be overwhelming to know which option is right for
you. That is where Elliott Law Group, PLLC comes in. We can represent
you throughout the entire process or dealing with your traffic ticket. We
handle everything from responding to your ticket to appearing in court on
your behalf. We help you understand all of your options in dealing with your
ticket and advise you on what option can be best for you. It is worth it to
fight a traffic ticket and can save you a lot of money in the long run. Contact
Elliott Law Group, PLLC today for assistance with your traffic ticket.