Many drivers get busy with school or work, and when they get a traffic ticket, they have no time for traffic court. Therefore, they think their only affordable option is to pay the fine. The best option is to consult a traffic attorney before deciding to pay the fine.
The sad truth is that when you consider the price of the fine and the increased auto insurance caused by increased risk, the average California driver will pay an additional $2,000 during the three years that minor infractions will stay on their motor vehicle driving record.
Does that shock you? It should. That’s one of the most significant reasons the California voters approved Proposition 103.
Proposition 103 & California Insurance Law
Proposition 103 was one of the most comprehensive money-savers for CA drivers. This piece of legislation made insurance companies in CA roll back their rates by 20 percent. It also approved a measure to elect officials to oversee and regulate the insurance industry.
Plus, it requires an insurance company to consider a driver's good driving record. After considering other risk categories, it gives the driver a 20 percent “good driver” discount if they had only one minor incident in the previous three years.
The average California driver pays $1960 per year for auto insurance. Of course, younger drivers and those parents who have teen drivers on their policy pay a lot more. However, that 20 percent typically means you pay nearly $400 per year less than some drivers with just one ticket.
Can you see why it is so essential that a driver with a traffic ticket consult a traffic attorney before paying their fine?
Did you know that a camera-enforced red-light ticket is nearly $500? Add that to the $400 for three years that ticket will remain on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR), and you see where we get the figure of nearly $2,000.
DMV Traffic Violators School (TVS)
Many CA drivers believe that TVS attendance will get their traffic tickets dismissed. This is far from true. TVS attendance and completion before the traffic court-ordered completion date will allow the DMV to mark it as confidential. That means it is not visible to the public, such as your auto insurance company, and will not affect your premiums.
Another benefit is that employers and administrators will not see it and hold it against you when you have applied for a job or to college. Many might consider a traffic ticket conviction irresponsible. Your best bet is to consult an attorney before you decide to accept TVS.
Take, for example, if you have two tickets pending, TVS attendance might not be beneficial as you can only use it once to hide a traffic ticket during an 18-month period.
Other reasons you might not be eligible to attend:
- You do not have a valid CA driver’s license
- You were ticketed in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
- Your offense was alcohol or drug-related
- Your traffic crime is a misdemeanor or felony
- You have a mandatory court appearance (speeding 100+ mph)
Attendance will not benefit the driver for a non-moving offense, such as no license or proof of insurance in possession, or an equipment problem like a loud muffler.
When you accept TVS, you must first plead guilty, pay the fine, pay the county the attendance fee of around $65, and pay the tuition fee. If you don’t complete it on time, your conviction becomes public knowledge, which when your insurance company sees it, they will take your “good driver’s discount” and add the associated risk. That typically raises your premium between $400 and $500 per year for three years. Check the DMV-approved list to find a TVS near you.
A traffic attorney can assist you with traffic tickets for speeding, running a stop sign, wrong way on a one-way street, unsafe lane change, and many others. Consult a traffic attorney before you decide to pay the fine or dispute the ticket in traffic court.
Bigger & Harman Are Traffic Attorneys Who Can Resolve Your Ticket in Traffic Court
Call Bigger & Harman, APC, when you have a traffic ticket or scheduled appearance on a traffic violation in Tulare County Traffic Court in Porterville or Visalia, at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The Bigger & Harman law firm can also assist you with a DMV NOTS hearing.
The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdf
CVC Section 40518, Release Upon Promise to Appear
The DMV Portal