Attend Traffic Violators School (TVS) if Eligible
Many of you have been thinking, why would I pay the fine when I could get my ticket dismissed by attending TVS? Well, that’s not exactly how it works. You must plead guilty, you must pay the fine, you will pay the county for the privilege of attending TVS, you must attend a DMV-approved course, and you must complete it before the court-ordered date, or it won’t count.
Just a couple of more things:
- Your ticket must have been for an infraction
- You must have a valid CA driver’s license
- Your ticket must not have been issued while you were driving a CMV
- Your ticket must not have been for an alcohol or drug-related offense
- You must not have used TVS within the last 18 months for another ticket
- Your ticket cannot have been for speeding 100+ mph, a misdemeanor, or felony
So, you might be thinking is TVS worth it. What does it do for me? Attendance at an approved TVS will give you a “confidential conviction,” which means your car insurance will not go up because of the infraction.
You should always discuss attendance at a TVS with a traffic attorney because there are instances where you will waste your time, money, and effort by attending. One that comes to mind immediately is if you have two tickets pending. Say, you get a speeding ticket and a few weeks or a month later get a red-light ticket in the mail. Keeping one of those confidential will not keep your car insurance down.
Get a Higher Deductible or Reduce Car Insurance Coverage
This is particularly helpful with older cars and trucks. What’s the sense of carrying full coverage on a ten or fifteen-year-old car? Likewise, unless it is a classic, a car over ten years old probably does not need a high deductible because you can use used parts for repairs. Many motorists do not even carry collision on a vehicle over ten-years-old.
One thing you probably do not want to skimp on is medical coverage. Medical costs can run into the hundreds of thousands after an accident, and in some cases, more than a million. Just because you have car insurance does not mean you are covered against all liability. If you have the minimum 15/30/5 and the person you hit has a hospital bill of $45,000, you could be legally responsible for the other $30,000 that your insurance will not pay. Read your policy carefully.
Combine Coverage for Home & Car Insurance
This is an excellent way to save money even if you haven’t had a ticket. Combining coverage with the same company can usually save you money.
Shop Around for Car Insurance
The price of car insurance varies significantly from company to company in CA. Full coverage with one company might cost around $1,500, while another is over $3,000. There are dozens of “risk factors” that go into determining your insurance premium. Everything from age to where you park your car can make a substantial difference.
Challenge the Ticket or Get the Ticket Expunged
Too many drivers, somewhere in the mid-90 percentile, do not challenge their ticket. Guilty or innocent, they go to the court clerk and fork over the money as if they owed it. They treat it like a tax, which is what it becomes. It goes into the state and county treasury to do many wonderful things for everyone. Except, you just paid an unwarranted tax.
The burden of proof resides with the state. Whether you were speeding or not, whether or not you ran a red-light… innocent or guilty, you gave part of your hard-earned money to ensure the state has an option for night court, whether your local county actually has one or not, there is a provision built into your fine to pay for it.
There are a total of 10 state and county penalties added to your base fine for speeding 1-15 mph over the limit, which brings your $35 fine up to $238.
What’s more, if you just paid the fine and later realize that it will cost you $500 to $600 more per year for car insurance for one ticket, and it will stay high for three years, you could try to get it expunged. There are a lot of different rules that affect whether or not you can get a ticket expunged so ask an attorney about the specifics. To save you a lot of money and hassle, consult a traffic attorney before you decide to pay the fine.
Consult a Traffic Ticket Attorney Who Handles Tulare County
When you get issued a ticket for any traffic violation, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We handle traffic tickets, failure to appear, failure to pay, and DMV NOTS Hearing in Kings County.
The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdfThe Insurance Information Institute (III) article, Nine ways to lower your auto insurance costs