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First Traffic Ticket in a While? Do This Now

undefinedMaybe you got a late start this morning and weren’t paying attention. You went past your exit on the Five, so when you realized it, you quickly made a U-turn. The only problem with that is it was an illegal U-turn in an unauthorized spot. Now you have your first traffic ticket in more than three years.

In fact, your last traffic ticket recently came off your motor vehicle driving record (MVR), and you got your “good driver’s discount” back. What’s more, your premium renewal comes up in three months, and you already have plans for nearly $1500 in increased premiums you would save over the next three years. 

Now, if you don’t fight this, you could lose out on that discount. You could take traffic violator’s school (TVS), but is that the best choice?

The Unforeseen Issues with TVS 

Many mistakenly believe that TVS is a “get out of jail free card.” It does not forgive your traffic ticket. If you plead guilty, pay your fine, tuition fees, and the county’s administrative fee to permit you to take TVS, and complete the course within the court-ordered timeframe for the DMV to receive your completion certificate from the school, your traffic ticket will be confidential. That means it will not be visible to the public, as your insurance company. But for Commercial Drivers in their private vehicles, traffic school will not prevent insurance and employers from seeing the conviction. 

An offense in your commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is not eligible for TVS. Surprised? Guess what? There are several other reasons your attendance at TVS is not all it’s cracked up to be. If you have two tickets pending, don’t waste your time and money. It will only keep one ticket confidential within 18 months. 

If you had a misdemeanor or felony offense, you are not eligible. That includes alcohol and drug-related violations. If you have a mandatory court appearance, you are not eligible. You must have a valid driver’s license in CA. 

If you are eligible and you complete the course on time, it’s an excellent deal. So, you should always consult a traffic ticket attorney before you decide to plead guilty, pay the fine, and attend TVS. If a traffic attorney recommends TVS, make sure you commit to finishing before the completion date, and keep a copy of your certificate in case it doesn’t get to DMV.

In many cases, there are technicalities that could make your traffic ticket “winnable” in Traffic court. When that is the case, you should hire a traffic attorney because once your ticket gets dismissed or reduced to a no-point conviction, you no longer have to worry about increased insurance premiums.   

Don’t Pay the Fine Without Discussing Your Traffic Ticket with a Traffic Attorney

Too many drivers look at the fine amount, and if they can afford it, they pay. However, when you pay the fine, you already have pled guilty, and if your driver’s license gets suspended, you will need to hire an attorney to represent you at a DMV NOTS hearing to try to get some points removed from your MVR. Plus, the NOTS points will stay on your MVR for three years.

You will lose your good driver’s discount of 20 percent, and then your insurance company will put you in a higher risk based on the paid traffic ticket. That’s usually 10-15 percent, depending on the offense. Most minor offenses like an illegal U-turn will cost you close to $1,800 with the fine and increased insurance over three years. It would be much cheaper, in the long run, to challenge your ticket in traffic court.

Consult a Traffic Attorney Before You Pay a Fine or Accept TVS for a Traffic Ticket

When you are issued a traffic ticket or citation on I-5 or another roadway in Kings County or Central Valley in California, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We assist CA drivers with traffic tickets and help to get tickets removed from your MVR at a DMV NOTS hearing when a suspension is pending.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com

References:

The 2021 CA Driver Handbook English y Español

The DMV.CA.GOV NOTS Hearing Portal