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Making an Attorney the Last Resort for Traffic Court

Your Ticket, Pay the Fine or Fight the Ticket in Traffic Court?

OK, so you got a traffic ticket for speeding over the weekend and you have resolved to pay it right after work tomorrow. What’s the sense in bucking the system, it’s like they say, “You can’t fight City Hall, right.” What if I told you that you can, you should, and the results will likely be a lot better than you expected. Certainly, better than if you just pay the fine and the increased insurance premiums for a minimum of three years. In addition, there are other options before or instead of traffic court.

Guilty or Not, Fight the Ticket

Your first course of action should be to Google your ticket’s CA Vehicle Code (CVC) on your citation, then look for leginfo.legislature.ca.gov, which will take you to the actual law (the others are ads, even DMV.org is privately owned), and what elements the state must prove to find you guilty of that infraction.

Say you were speeding 17 miles an hour over the speed limit or the officer said you were anyway. CVC 22349 (a), exceeding 65 mph on the highway or CVC 22350, driving faster than is reasonable or prudent, are the most frequently issued tickets. Although the law states the base fine is if convicted is $70 for 16-25 mph over the speed limit, after all the state and county surcharges, fees, and penalties, you will probably pay between $350 and $490 for that ticket, then you can figure how much your insurance premiums are and add about one-third.

And, what if I told you it doesn’t really matter if you were guilty or not? Legal experts will tell you that your odds of paying a smaller fine, if any, increase significantly when you fight your ticket rather than just pay the fine. Of course, traffic court judges will tell you to just pay the fine because they don’t want you clogging up the system. It is almost a guarantee that if you just pay the fine, you will pay the highest fine possible and the maximum points will be assessed by the DMV. At the very minimum, before you pay the fine, ask a lawyer and if they say pay the fine and go to traffic school, ask the county clerk if there is a discount for first-offenders, you never know until you ask. You are already going to pay the maximum fine if there isn’t a discount.

The county and state needs money for their pet projects and they know that 95 percent of drivers ticketed will never go to traffic court to fight their ticket. Many believe the odds are not in their favor and it will be an inconvenience to fight their ticket. Whereas it is true there will be some inconvenience, what is a little inconvenience and expense compared to $250-500 for a speeding ticket and a likely 30 percent or more increase in your insurance premiums, for most people that’s an additional $900 for the three years. Just losing your “good driver’s” discount will cost you 20 percent, so you should speak to a traffic ticket attorney before you decide.

CA Proposition 103

The State of California passed this Proposition in 1988 that guarantees a good driver’s discount to drivers with one Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) point or less on their driver’s license (DL), which they must have held for a minimum of three years without suspension or interruption. That discount must make your premiums 20 percent less than other drivers in your category, dependent on age, marital status, gender, and many other factors. In CA, the most telling is your driver’s record since it is illegal for insurance companies to use your credit standing as an indicator for auto insurance.

Traffic School

Many motorists are aware that if they pay their fine and accept traffic school, their first traffic ticket will be confidential when they complete traffic school. Why do you think that is? The traffic court system wants you to just pay your fine and accept traffic school because if 95 percent fought their traffic ticket instead of just paying the fine, they would have to build more traffic courts.

What’s more, once you use traffic school to mask a traffic ticket from your insurance company, you cannot do it again for 18 months, so that minor infraction that you paid the fine for and went to school, and which your insurance company likely wouldn’t even have raised your rates for was your only chance for 18 months.

Remember, Proposition 103 says you are still guaranteed the 20 percent with that one NOTS point for a minor infraction that you went to traffic school to hide from your insurance company. The wise choice would be to discuss your circumstances with a traffic ticket attorney.

Bigger & Harman, APC

Bigger & Harman want to save you money and points on your motor vehicle driver’s record. They will provide you with a FREE phone consultation to discuss what action you should take, whether you should pay the fine and accept traffic school. Bigger & Harman represent clients in traffic court in Kern, Inyo, Kings, Mono, Fresno, Tulare, or other courts in Central Valley. Call the expert team of traffic ticket defenders at Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300, or email: attorney@markbigger.com.

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