When you just pay the fine, most times, you will need to wait for the conviction to come off your driving record, but there are better methods. Always discuss your options with a traffic lawyer. Clearing a driving record that has derogatory information should be a concern for every driver. When you have a clear record, it will demonstrate to prospective employers you are diligent in respecting the law. This might also show present employers they can place their trust in you and give you more responsibility. More importantly, it will cost you less for auto insurance by restoring your “good driver’s” discount. Proposition 103 guarantees CA drivers a 20 percent discount to those with a clean driving record.
In 1988, CA voters approved Proposition 103, which is an insurance reform initiative. 103 changed the method insurers used to determine the premium charged and made it impossible to raise rates without an elected insurance commissioner’s approval. This measure requires auto insurance companies to consider three aspects of a driver’s record and give a good driver’s discount of 20 percent after including any other risk factors. The three aspects insurance companies consider are:
- Three years’ continuous experience with no driver’s license (DL) suspension
- No more than one Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points
- Miles drove the previous year
The law also prohibited insurance companies from denying or charging more for premiums when there was no insurance record previously. This inclusion benefitted drivers who were out of the country with the military, in the Peace Corps, or were family members of those groups and for other reasons were overseas. Also, it eliminated their use of credit scores or standings when determining premiums.
Motor Vehicle Driving Record (MVR)
One of your best options to keep a clean driving record, outside of the apparent obeying all traffic laws, is to check your MVR regularly. Many forget it is humans that place records of convictions and at-fault accidents in their MVR.
How many John Smiths are there in CA with similar DL numbers? If another John Smith had a traffic incident and the file got placed in your MVR accidently, you could be paying more than necessary for auto insurance. The average premium in CA is already $1962 per year.
To get a copy of your driving record, go to DMV.CA.gov website. You should do this about two months before your scheduled renewal to allow time to make necessary corrections. Once there, register and apply for a copy of your MVR. It will cost $2.00, but if there are out-of-date records or another driver’s citation in your file, you can get it removed by the DMV through their Safety Offices.
When you receive a Notice of Suspension from the DMV, you can request a DMV Hearing, though you must request it within ten days. Consult with a traffic ticket lawyer before the hearing and take a copy of your MVR. Traffic attorneys are current on traffic law because they spend several days a week in traffic court and hear all the cases. When procedures change, or there is a change to the CA Vehicle Code (CVC), they hear how local judges interpret and rule on those changes. Therefore, they can often get violations for which you may have just paid the fine examined at the hearing.
The Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)
When a law enforcement officer (LEO) investigates an accident, they might find one driver fully at-fault, or partially at-fault. When that happens, they notify the DMV to assess a point or points. The CVC prescribes one point for most infractions, and two points for major infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. However, those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are assessed 50 percent more points when driving their commercial motor vehicle (CMV) than regular drivers.
CVC 12810.5, Issuance and Renewal of Licenses, states, “a person whose driving record shows a violation point count of four or more points in 12 months…shall be prima facie presumed to be a negligent operator of a motor vehicle.” The CVC also prescribes no more than six points within 24-months, or eight points within 36 months. Special consideration may be given CDL holders based on the number of miles driven during those time frames, except those with endorsements for an ambulance, school buses, hazardous material (HAZMAT), and others.
The DMV NOT system has four levels explained below:
Level I: An electronic warning notice sent when the driver reaches two points within a 12-month timeframe, four within 24 months, or six within 36 months.
Level II: An electronic “Notice of the Intention of Suspension” issued for three points within a 12-month time frame, five within 24 months, or seven within 36 months.
Level III: An electronic Probation and Suspension notice issued when four points are reached within a 12-month time frame, six within 24 months, or eight within a 36 month threshold. If you do not request a DMV Hearing, the suspension will go into effect 34 days after issuance. The probation is 12 months and the suspension six months and shall run concurrently.
Level IV: Any further citations or Failures to Appear (FTA), collisions, whether at-fault or not, will automatically lead to an extension of suspension and probation.
Although traffic school will not clear a ticket from your driving record, it can make it confidential and keep it out of public view, including from your insurance carrier. When you do receive a traffic ticket or have reached your limit and face suspension, the best action is to contact Bigger & Harman, Central Valley traffic attorneys. They can provide legal advice regarding your situation. It might be their opinion you should just pay the fine for a minor infraction and accept traffic school.
However, a one-point infraction will not affect your insurance premium. They might recommend saving the money and the eligibility to attend traffic school until a second infraction if it should occur, as you can only use it once in an 18-month time frame for a ticket. The court clerk will add $64 to your ticket in most CA courts for the privilege of attending traffic school, and then you must pay the school. If you do participate, ensure the course is DMV approved, you finish the school on time, and retain a copy of the certificate for your files. Here is the link for DMV-approved traffic schools.
Always consult a traffic lawyer before you decide to pay the fine, there are many situations where a traffic ticket lawyer can get a dismissal or get it reduced to a no-point infraction which could save you a lot of money. In many cases, it is less expensive to hire a lawyer than pay the excessive CA fines. Don’t risk a suspension and higher insurance premiums for a minimum of three years, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, for consultation. Or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the reviews left on their Facebook page and more than 80 on Yelp. Additional sources of legal forums where you can get information about Bigger & Harman are Nolo.com and Avvo, two of the nation’s foremost authorities on legal professionals. When you need legal representation you can trust, use their website contact form.
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