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How Do Insurance Companies Find Out About a Traffic Ticket?

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Insurance companies do not find out about traffic tickets per se, they only find out about convictions, paid fines, which are a guilty plea, and at-fault accidents reported to the DMV. The DMV then assesses Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points as prescribed by CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 12810, Issuance and Renewal of Licenses and 1808, Records of Departments.

Convictions of major infractions, such as speeding 100+ mph are assessed two points, as are misdemeanors, like reckless driving, hit and run with property damage and no injuries, and felonies like hit and runs with injury or death. These stay on your MVR for seven to ten years.

Convictions on a minor infraction will get assessed one NOTS point, as will an at-fault accident. The one point gets assessed regardless of the extent of responsibility. When the investigator determines your actions contributed to the accident, you are more than zero percent responsible and assessed a point by the DMV.

How Traffic Ticket Convictions Affects Your Driving Privileges

The DMV is authorized by the CA Legislature and the Governor to maintain the driver’s motor vehicle driving record (MVR). Every legal action taken against your driving record gets recorded there. Your MVR is a matter of public record available to prospective employers, your auto insurance provider, or just about anyone who asks.

A traffic ticket conviction or accident, while you have a paid policy, will not affect your premium price. Only when your policy comes up for renewal will the premium go up. Say you had a “good driver’s discount” before your traffic ticket conviction. That was good for a 20 percent discount in every risk category such as age, gender, marital status, where you park your car (zip code), how far you drive to and from school or work and others.

That discount will no longer be available with a conviction, and you might get placed in a higher category of risk depending on the severity of the offense. Incidents such as reckless driving or speeding over 100 could double or triple your premiums for the seven to ten years the conviction will stay on your record.

The best defense against substantially increased insurance premiums is to hire a traffic ticket attorney and challenge the alleged offense. Make the state do their job and prove you did whatever they accused you of doing. If not, it’s like you giving them and the insurance company money for nothing. Some see the imposition of a fine as an additional tax.

The Exception to the Rule

The state allows a driver to hide one minor infraction from their insurance company or employer. Basically, if you agree to plead guilty, pay your fine, and attend Traffic Violator’s School (TVS), the DMV will hold that conviction as confidential.

You can only use this device to mask a conviction once within 18 months, you must have a valid CA driver’s license, not have been driving a commercial vehicle, and it must have been a minor infraction that does not have a mandatory court date. Also, you must pay the county a fee to attend, the tuition fee, and complete the course at a DMV approved school before the court-ordered completion date.

Accepting the fine and TVS is not always the prudent choice. Particularly when you have two tickets pending, if you get a traffic ticket for “running a red-light” and a few days or weeks later you get one for speeding, you can only mask one. Does it make sense at this point to waste your time and money to attend? Probably not; however, you should consult a traffic ticket attorney about your specific circumstances.

Let Us Handle Your Traffic Ticket in Fresno County

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, when you receive a traffic ticket on Highway 99 or I-5 in Fresno County. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Particularly when you receive a speeding ticket for 100+, and truckers need us to defend those tickets vigorously. Fresno is a difficult court that many lawyers do not like to practice in, but we have had excellent success here getting dismissals and reduced no-point violations.

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

CVC 12810, Issuance and Renewal of Licenses and 18081 Records of Departments

The DMV NOTS Portal