Traffic Tickets

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AVOID POINTS BY HIRING A TRAFFIC LAWYER

              The last time you got a speeding ticket, a friend probably said avoid points and hire a traffic lawyer St. Peters.  If you didn’t, you may have noticed a few months later that your insurance rates went up.

Why would that happen?

Well, points affect drivers in two ways.  First, moving violations such as speeding and careless driving St. Peters carry points if you plead guilty.  Acquire too many points and your license can be suspended.  But second, acquiring appoints also affects your insurance rates, because insurance companies have access to your driving records.  Someone who has plead guilty to speeding is (arguably) a riskier driver to insure.  When that driver’s rates are eventually re-calculated, they’ll go up if there is a points conviction.

Take a look at just how much your insurance can be raised for certain violations, according to insurance.com :

  • reckless driving — 73 percent
  • speeding — 20 percent
  • illegal turn — 20 percent
  • DUI — 79 percent
  • failure to stop — 19 percent
  • at-fault bodily injury accident — 32 percent
  • at-fault property damage accident — 29 percent

Imagine your insurance is $1,200 per year.  That’s $120 per month.  But an increase of 73% means your insurance would cost $2,076 per year, or $173 per month.  Ouch!

So what’s the solution?  Hire a traffic lawyer St. Peters.  A traffic lawyer can usually get the violations carrying points amended to violations that do not carry points.  You’ll still have to pay a fine, but you won’t take the points and therefore you won’t have your insurance rates skyrocket.

The other benefit is that in most cases, you won’t even have to appear in court.  That will save time and remember, often municipal court dockets are at night.  Who wants to go to court at night?

Often we get calls from clients who have been received a speeding ticket St. Peters in which they were 30 miles per hour or higher over the speed limit.  Depending on which court has that ticket, our office can usually work with prosecutors to save points.  Often a driver will have to complete a Driver Improvement Program (DIP) in addition to paying a fine.  Missouri’s DIP is an online course that assists driver’s to improve their defensive driving skills while reviewing traffic laws.

It should be pointed out that the St. Louis Metropolitan Area is very unique in terms of allowing drivers to plead to amended charges for things like speeding, in exchange for a fine.  In more rural parts of the state it can much more difficult to achieve an amended traffic ticket without points.  Again, always call a traffic lawyer to see how they can help.

 

Traffic Ticket Center is located at 4215 S. Old Highway 94 in St. Charles, Missouri.  We are right next to the DMV in Harvester.  We assist clients with traffic tickets of all kinds, including speeding, careless driving, commercial driving violations, suspended licenses, marijuana charges and DWI / DUI.   Call us today for a free consultation.  (636) 486-2669.

 

 

 

FIVE MYTHS ABOUT TRAFFIC TICKETS

As a traffic ticket lawyer St. Peters, I work with clients to resolve their traffic tickets in the best way possible.  Over the years, as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, I have noticed several myths about traffic tickets.

Here are five:

  1. “IF THE COP WRITES THE DATE WRONG ON THE TICKET OR MISSPELLS MY NAME, THE TICKET IS INVALID.”

This is a common myth that the officer giving you the speeding ticket O’Fallon must write all the information perfectly or it’s not valid.  This is untrue.  Here is why:  no one is perfect and if there was ever a trial over the prosecutor can call the officer as a witness and have him clarify the incorrect information.  In other words, you don’t get a traffic ticket thrown out for ticky tack errors by the officer.

  1. “THE OFFICER SAID HE CAUGHT ME SPEEDING USING RADAR BUT HE REFUSED TO SHOW ME THE READ OUT SO THE TICKET IS INVALID.”

A couple of times a year we get people calling claiming they want the ticket thrown out because they were never shown the radar readout when they requested it at the time they were pulled over.  An officer does not have to show your speed on the radar device for the ticket to be valid.

Now, if there was a trial, the prosecutor will have to question the officer on the stand about calibration and training on the device.  However, that doesn’t usually result in a non-conviction for a traffic ticket St. Peters.

  1. ”THE OFFICER FOLLOWED ME INTO ANOTHER TOWN RIGHT BEFORE I PULLED OVER…SINCE THEY DON’T HAVE JURISDICTION WHERE I WAS ACTUALLY PULLED OVER, THE SPEEDING TICKET SHOULD BE THROWN OUT.”

If only this were true.  Missouri, similar to most states, have statutes that allow officers to complete a traffic stop for an event that happened in one town, even if the actual place that the car was pulled over is in another town.

Now, that doesn’t mean a traffic ticket can be given by a St. Peters officer in say O’Fallon if the site of the violation was in O’Fallon.  Officers in one town don’t have original jurisdiction in towns other than the town for which they serve.

  1. “I GOT A SPEEDING TICKET IN ALABAMA ON MY WAY TO FLORIDA. I’M NOT GOING TO PAY IT SINCE I LIVE IN MISSOURI.”

Missouri participates in what is known as the Interstate Compact, which is an agreement between almost all of the states to share DMV information.  So if you get a ticket in Alabama but ignore it, you could up with a Missouri suspended license until you resolve the ticket in Alabama.

Worse, if you ignore it but the following year get pulled over in Alabama on your way to Florida, you’ll probably be arrested and forced to post bond.  Not a good way to start a vacation.

One other quick point on this issue:  I often get calls from people that live near out traffic ticket office in St. Peters who want me to resolve out of state tickets.  I can’t do it because I am not admitted to practice law in those states.  Best thing to do is contact an attorney in the county or city where you were pulled over and see if they can help.

  1. “I WASN’T SPEEDING AND WANT TO TAKE THE MATTER TO TRIAL.”

So it’s not a myth that you can contest a speeding ticket O’Fallon and have a trial.  Practically speaking, however, there are two problems:  First, many lawyers will not take a speeding ticket case to trial.  Second, that’s because it’s generally not financially feasible for clients.  The fine for some tickets is under $150.00.  You can usually have an attorney get your speeding ticket near reduced to a no point violation (i.e. muffler violation, etc.) by a traffic lawyer St. Peters for under $150.

Trials are expensive and even if you win, you’re going to spend probably double or triple the amount of the ticket.

CONCLUSION

Like death and taxes, traffic tickets are a part of life.  The municipal court system in and around St. Louis is unique in that citizens can get their tickets amended to no point violations and doing so is highly competitive for lawyers so it’s extremely affordable.

 

Traffic Ticket Center is located at 4215 S. Old Highway 94 in St. Charles, Missouri.  We are right next to the DMV in Harvester.  We assist clients with traffic tickets of all kinds, including speeding, careless driving, commercial driving violations, suspended licenses, marijuana charges and DWI / DUI.   Call us today for a free consultation.  (636) 486-2669.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traffic Tickets 101:  Municipal Court versus Circuit Court…

Traffic Tickets 101: Municipal Court versus Circuit Court…

TRAFFIC TICKETS 101:  MUNICIPAL COURT V. CIRCUIT COURT

                If you are pulled over in Missouri for a traffic ticket, your case could be heard either in a Missouri municipal court or a Missouri circuit court.

What’s the difference?  A municipal court is the court where a town or city enforces their own municipal ordinances.  A circuit court is where the state of Missouri enforces its own statutes.

At the bottom of every ticket where the officer can state select whether the violation is of a local ordinance or state law.

When a person speeds say in O’Fallon, Missouri, that speeding ticket is both a violation of a local O’Fallon ordinance prohibiting speeding and of Missouri state law.  However, revenue from fines and court costs goes to O’Fallon if it is charged as an ordinance violation and to the state of Missouri if charged as a state law violation.

If you are caught speeding on the highway by a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer or in an unincorporated part of a county by a sheriff’s deputy, both of those tickets are codes as state law violations to be heard at the circuit court in the county where the violation occurred.

If you have a prior offense like a DWI, it likely will be heard in circuit court because of the level of seriousness.  That is another factor in determining which court will hear your case.

Generally speaking, it is better to be in municipal court than state circuit court.  Municipal prosecutors are much more likely to amend a ticket in exchange for a fine.  That can happen at the circuit court too, but often prosecutors are much more reluctant to amend charges or to not attach some period of probation if the charge is serious enough.

Traffic Ticket Center is your traffic ticket lawyer for violations in St. Peters, O’Fallon, Wentzville, Cottleville and St. Charles.  We can help you understand how your particular circumstances might differ if you are charged in state circuit court versus a local municipal court.

Remember, you should always hire a traffic ticket lawyer to help you avoid rising insurance premiums and points on your license.  Pleading guilty to moving violations can lead to both and affect your ability to drive and to drive affordably.

Missouri Abuse and Lose

Missouri Abuse and Lose

Missouri Abuse and Lose

                 Missouri has strong laws regarding alcohol and other serious traffic offenses.  If you’re under 21, Missouri’s “Abuse and Lose” laws apply.

The statute is Section 577.500.1 and consists of two sections:

Under the first section, the Abuse and Lose law authorizes suspension or revocation of driving privileges if a person under 21 has committed any alcohol related traffic offense, any offense involving possession or use of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, any offense involving possession of a controlled substance (drugs) or any offense involving the alteration, modification or misrepresentation of a license to operate a motor vehicle.

The length of suspension or revocation varies depending on whether it was a first offense or not.  For a first offense, the period of suspension is 90 days.  An arrest for a second or subsequent offense results in a one year loss of license privileges.

Under the second suspension, a person under 21 can have their license suspended or revoked for any offense involving the purchase, attempted purchase or possession of an intoxicating liquor by a minor or a minor in a visibly intoxicated condition, if the juvenile was over the age of 15 at the time of the offense.

Suspension is for 30 days for a first offense, 90 days for a second offense and a year for a third or subsequent offense.

As with other alcohol related traffic offenses, for your driver’s license to be reinstated, you have to pay the required fee and completed a substance abuse program such as the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program, commonly known as SATOP.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get a limited driving privilege for getting to and from school, for doctor visits and for work.

Here’s a link to the DMV’s FAQ about Abuse and Lose:  http://dor.mo.gov/faq/drivers/abuse.php

If you’re under 21 and have been charged with an alcohol related traffic offense such as DWI / DUI or Minor in Possession call our office right away.  We understand this can be a confusing and scary experience.  Knowing your rights and having an experienced lawyer on your side is crucial.

Traffic ticket courts in St. Charles County…

Traffic ticket courts in St. Charles County…

When we get a call from someone who received a traffic ticket in St. Charles County, one of the first questions we ask is when and where their court date is.

That’s because it makes a difference in what we charge clients and the procedures to  handle the ticket for the clients.

St. Charles County has three layers of courts.  First, each town has a municipal court.  If you get a ticket in O’Fallon, written by a police officer from the O’Fallon Police Department your court date will be at O’Fallon Municipal Court.   Makes sense, right?

What most people don’t know is that St. Charles County has their own court for traffic tickets and that is called the St. Charles County Municipal Court.  If you get pulled over for a traffic ticket by a St. Charles County Sheriff’s Deputy, your court date will be at St. Charles County Municipal Court.  That court is located, by the way, just north of Highway 70 off Highway 79.  Certain unincorporated areas of St. Charles County is where the sheriff’s department has jurisdiction.  A good example would be the Defiance, Missouri area off Highway DD.

The other court in St. Charles County is the St. Charles County Circuit Court, located on Second Street in downtown St. Charles (one block west of Main Street).  This court generally handles violations of state law, but for traffic tickets the cases that are heard here are tickets issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.  A common example would be a speeding ticket received while driving in St. Charles County on Highway 70 or Highway 64.   Incidentally, this court also handles more serious charges like felonies and serious misdemeanor cases.

From the standpoint of speeding tickets, however, the cases are treated pretty much the same in terms of how of our office would resolve them.  For relatively minor offenses like speeding, we can usually get very good results and the same outcome for our clients whether we are in St. Charles City Municipal Court, St. Charles County Municipal Court or St. Charles County Circuit Court.

Things get trickier for St. Charles County Circuit court for more serious charges like DWIs, Stealing and Drug Possession.  We can still help clients but the fees are higher because the cases take longer to resolve and involve much more investigation.

 

St. Charles County Driving Without Insurance…

St. Charles County Driving Without Insurance…

In Missouri, anyone convicted of Driving Without Insurance, or as is sometimes written on the ticket as “Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility”, receive four points on their Missouri driving record.  That’s a lot of points and this is exactly why you want to hire a firm like Traffic Ticket Center to resolve the matter in your favor.

These tickets are usually written in a couple situations.  First, the driver is pulled over for something like speeding or running a stop light and when the police officer asks for proof of insurance, the driver cannot immediately find their insurance card.  We work with clients to get a letter of proper coverage from their insurer and can resolve this type of case usually right away.  If the driver didn’t have valid coverage we will ask the client to obtain current insurance and often can receive an amended charge after speaking with the prosecutor.

The second type of Driving Without Insurance case in Missouri is where an accident has occurred, the police arrive on scene and no proof of insurance can be produced by the driver.  In the case of an accident, things get more complicated.  First, in almost all cases the damages to the vehicle must be paid for before the case can be dealt with properly.  If you had valid insurance but couldn’t show it at the accident scene, your insurance company can still process the accident claim.  If you did not have valid insurance, this can get tricky and is more serious.  We can often assist clients to get a favorable outcome anyway if they can pay the damages and obtain insurance after the accident.

 

 

Can I Remove Points From My Record After Pleading Guilty to a Speeding Ticket in Missouri?

Can I Remove Points From My Record After Pleading Guilty to a Speeding Ticket in Missouri?

Can I Remove Points From My Record After Pleading Guilty to a Speeding Ticket in Missouri?

 That depends.

In some counties in Missouri, particularly the rural ones, prosecutors will often not reduce a speeding ticket to a non-moving violation.  If you plead guilty in that case, you might be able to take a class called the Driver Improvement Program (DIP) in Missouri.  If you are eligible, taking the class will remove the points from your record.  The judge has to approve your taking the class and it must be completed within 60 days after a guilty plea.

Now here’s the catch.  Even if you take the class, the points will be taken off your record but the conviction for speeding can and will show up on your driving record.  That means your insurance company will probably still increase your rates.

Remember, in Missouri if you get eight points on your Missouri driving record within 18 months your license is suspended for 30 days.  Your license will be revoked for a year if you get 12 points within 12 months.

That is why DIP could be really important for you if you already have several points on your driver’s record.

Here is a link for more information about the Driver Improvement Program in Missouri:  https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=1940

What Is An SR-22?

What Is An SR-22?

What Is An SR-22?

               An SR-22 is a document prepared by an insurance company that can verify whether someone has car insurance.  It is not only prepared by the insurance company but also filed by them with the Missouri Department of Revenue (the Department of Motor Vehicles, or “DMV” in Missouri).

So now that we know what an SR-22 is, when would a person need one?  It is normally required when a person is seeking to either have their driver’s license reinstated or after someone has been convicted of a DWI or DUI in Missouri.  An SR-22 can also be necessary if a person is convicted of reckless driving or was an uninsured driver that caused an accident.

With respect to a DWI conviction in Missouri, the SR-22 will be required for a set number of years.  If the person fails to pay the premiums, the SR-22 can be cancelled and when that happens another document called an SR-26 is filed with the Missouri Department of Revenue, which notifies them of the cancellation and once received, the person’s license is suspended until a new SR-22 can be obtained and filed.

The SR-22 can be costly because the insurance company considers the person who needs one to be a high risk driver.  The higher the risk of insuring someone, the higher the premiums.

The SR-22 also requires a minimum amount of coverage in Missouri, which $25,000 for one person who is killed or injured, $50,000 for two or more persons killed or injured and also $10,000 for property damage.

It’s important to remember that if you need an SR-22 that you don’t delay in getting one.  If you’re license is suspended, you can’t drive and if you drive, you can get additional driving while suspended tickets in Missouri, which can lead to further costs and further problems on your driving record.

A sample of what an SR-22 document looks like can be found here:  http://dor.mo.gov/pdf/sr22.pdf

Traffic tickets and points…

Traffic tickets and points…

You probably know that when you receive a traffic ticket for a moving violation in Missouri, including a speeding ticket, pleading guilty to that ticket means you have “points” imposed on your driver’s record.  That’s why you want to hire a firm like Traffic Ticket Center to handle any ticket you receive.  Accumulating points not only could lead to a suspension of your driver’s license, but also increase your insurance premiums because your insurance company views you as riskier to insure.

What you probably do not know is how many points are assessed for certain violations.  Let’s take a look at point totals for specific traffic ticket violations in Missouri*:

  •  Leaving Scene of an Accident:  State Violation 12 / County Ordinance Violation 6 / Municipal Violation 6 points
  • Careless and Imprudent Driving:  State / County / Municipal = 2 points
  • Careless and Imprudent Driving (RSMo. 304.016) (passing on right side of the highway) for State Violation Only = 4 points
  • Failure to Produce Insurance:  State / County / Municipal = 4 points
  • Speeding (5 + MPH over):  State 3 / County 2/ Municipal 2 points
  • No Driver’s License (different than driving without proof of a license):  State / County / Municipal 2 (note that under state law a second violation is 4 points and a third or subsequent violation is 6 points)
  • Stop Sign Violation (running a stop sign):  State 2 / County 2 / Municipal 1 (if no accident) – 2 points (if accident)
  • Driving While Suspended Revoked:  State / County / Municipal = 12 points
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI):  State / County Municipal = 8 points (first violation) / 12 points (subsequent)
  • Improper Turn:  State / County / Municipal = 2 points
  • Driving Too Fast For Conditions:  State / County / Municipal = 2 points
  • Failure to Maintain Lane: State / County / Municipal = 2 points

Here is the link to review the Missouri points chart yourself:  http://dor.mo.gov/forms/899.pd

*This article refers to non-CDL drivers.  Some of the above violations can result of CDL privileges for one violation and generally speaking, any moving violation has much more serious consequences for the CDL driver versus the non-CDL driver.

Careless and Imprudent Driving in Missouri…

Careless and Imprudent Driving in Missouri…

Careless and Imprudent Driving in Missouri

Careless and imprudent driving is a common charge in Missouri.  This charge is sometimes referred to as a "C&I" ticket.  It is a four (4) point violation if it is charged by the officer on the scene as a violation of Missouri state law and a two (2) point ticket if charged under municipal law.

These tickets should be taken seriously because they are considered to be a more serious violation than an ordinary speeding ticket.  In my practice, I often see these tickets issued to younger drivers for lane weaving, driving at a high rate of speed or for drag racing at a stop light.  They are often given by an officer who witnesses a driver squeal his tires or run a stop light or stop sign at a high rate of speed.

Additionally, drivers should understand that a careless and imprudent driving ticket can be given in conjunction with another ticket.  Let's say that a driver speeds through a stop sign at a high rate of speed.  The driver can and probably will be given a ticket for careless and imprudent driving plus a ticket for speeding, which carries either three (3) points for a state law violation or two (2) for a municipal law violation.

Careless and Imprudent Driving tickets are often given to a driver when there is an accident that occurs.  Often the officer will cite the driver for Careless and Imprudent Driving for doing something to cause or not avoid an accident.

Traffic Ticket Center can and often do get these tickets amended to non-moving violations, saving clients increased insurance premiums and points on their license.

If you've received a careless and imprudent driving ticket, call us today so we can help.