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What Does it Mean to Expunge a Traffic Ticket?

What does it mean to “expunge” a traffic ticket? According to Nolo at Cornell.edu Law Dictionary, the definition is, “Expunge. To intentionally destroy, obliterate, or strike out records or information in files, computers, and other depositories.” However, getting a traffic ticket expunged is mostly about keeping your insurance company from charging you a higher premium because of a traffic ticket conviction. If you just paid the fine, it is the same as a conviction and that made you a higher risk in the eyes of your insurance company.

There are several things to consider when discussing a ticket and keeping it from the eyes of your insurance adjuster. Let’s look at some of those before you just pay your fine, take traffic school, and admit guilt.

The Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administers a program of letters and notification to warn drivers with convictions and at-fault accidents about the status of their assessed points. After a conviction or at-fault accident the DMV assesses points and at certain levels sends a notification to the driver. If a driver receives four points within a one-year period, a suspension is a likely result, but it may be avoided if you consult with a traffic ticket attorney and schedule a DMV Hearing.

Level 1: The system generates a warning notification after two points have accumulated within a one-year timeframe, four points within a two-year timeframe, or six points within a three-year timeframe, plus after all convictions of major infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies will also prompt a warning notice.

Level 2: The system generates a notice of an “Intent to Suspend” after three points have accumulated within a one-year timeframe, five points within a two-year timeframe, or seven points within a three-year timeframe.

Level 3: The system generates the suspension notice along with a concurrent probation after you reach a four-point threshold within a one-year timeframe, six points within a two-year timeframe, eight points within a three-year timeframe when no rebuttal request for hearing has been received at DMV within the 10-day timeframe after notification. The six-month suspension and the 12-month probationary period will run simultaneously.

Level 4: The system generates an increased suspension notice and probation timeframe when traffic convictions occur, or if an FTA occurs during the timeframe of the DL suspension or period of probation.

To access a full list of CVC violations and the points assessed for each, check DMV.CA.GOV.

The “Good Drivers” Discount or Proposition 103 & Traffic School

Proposition 103 was passed in CA in 1988 and guarantees a 20 percent discount from the rate of premium that a driver without a discount in the same class would pay after all other considerations are calculated. These are the only two conditions for the discount:

· Continuous 36-month period of licensing without a lapse or suspension

· One NOTS point or less assessed on your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR)

Therefore, if you meet those two conditions all insurance companies are required by law to give you the discount. If you lose it due to a ticket, it will likely cost you $400 to $800 dollars per year more in auto insurance premiums. Additionally, traffic school is not always an option. Discuss it with your attorney, even if it is an option it may not be wise to use it. If it is, make sure it is state-approved. To find a state-approved course close to you check the DMV website at ca.gov.

Non-Moving Violations

A non-moving violation is not assessed points and will not affect your insurance premium. Even when your citation states traffic school is authorized, it is a waste of your money, time, and could keep you from using it again for 18 months and what if you get a moving violation before that time elapses?

Minor Infractions

Violations such as running a stop sign, red light, speeding under 100 mph, and even tailgating are minor infractions, which are assessed one NOTS point by the DMV after conviction. Once again, when you get one of these, your insurance company should not take your good drivers discount, nor raise your rate. A second ticket for a minor infraction is when you might want to use traffic school. However, you should always consult with a local Central Valley traffic ticket attorney, such as Bigger & Harman before making a final decision.

Major Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies

Traffic tickets such as over 100 MPH, reckless driving (with or without a DUI), hit and run (which could be a misdemeanor with damage or a felony with injuries), and are major infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies, which are assessed two NOTS points by the DMV after conviction and stay on your MVR for seven to ten years, but can only affect your insurance premium for seven. However, if you are applying to a new insurance company, they can choose not to accept the risk even after 7 years.

Your MVR

You can request a copy of your MVR anytime from DMV for $2.00, here. This is an unofficial copy, to get an official copy, you must register and submit an INF 1125, which is also available on the DMV site. If you discover discrepancies or convictions that should have been removed, you can request to have them removed by mail or by requesting a DMV Hearing.

The DMV Hearing

You can request a DMV Hearing if you have received a notice of suspension, but your time is limited. You can email, write, or call the Safety Branch of the DMV nearest you. It would be advisable to consult with an attorney before your scheduled hearing.

Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyers

When you have questions about your MVR or notification of suspension, need legal assistance In Kern, Kings, or Fresno County, or you have an arraignment in traffic court in Bakersfield, Delano, Tulare, Visalia, Fresno, or any court in the Central Valley call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300. Or email: attorney@markbigger.com and arrange for your FREE phone consultation or office visit.

En español, llame al 661-349-9755.