HARRIS LAW, LLC
FOCUSED ON YOU.
Do I need an Attorney?
Every case is different and depending on your circumstances the need for a lawyer will vary. Most people can benefit from the services of an Attorney at a low cost. Here are some things to consider:
◦ Do I want to go to Court?
◦ Do I want my Insurance to go up?
◦ Do I want to lose my license?
◦ Do I want this ticket to show up on my record?
◦ Do I want the hassle of handling this myself?
If the answer to any of those questions is NO then you may want an Attorney. However, you may have a completely different motivation for wanting an attorney. Consider the following questions:
◦ Was there an accident?
◦ Was I going over 100 mph?
◦ Did I receive more than one ticket?
◦ Is there a warrant out for my arrest?
◦ Are you past the date listed on the ticket to pay or appear in Court?
If the Answer to any of those questions is YES then you most definitely want to consult an Attorney.
Will my Insurance go up?
While there is no guarantee your insurance will go up, it is a common occurrence. The reason for this is the high risk the insurance company bears by keeping you as an insured driver. When you get a traffic ticket due to a moving violation or when you have an accident, a certain number of points are assigned to your license. If you accumulate too many points in too short a time period, your license can be suspended and your insurance rates can increase. Insurance companies often charge more to drivers with traffic tickets and poor driving record.
Can I keep this off my record?
Maybe. Paying a ticket might seem like the easiest way to take care of things, but if you simply pay your ticket you will probably end up with points on your license and may pay increased insurance rates. In most cases we can get your fines reduced and/or help you avoid getting points on your record. Some drivers will be required to take a driver’s safety class, but each case is different.
Will I lose my License?
In order to answer this question we will need to know how many points are on your record currently as well as the current charge. The Department of Revenue adds points to your record when it receives notice that you were convicted of a moving violation - a traffic violation while your vehicle was in motion. The number of points you receive for a conviction depends on moving violation of which you are convicted. For example, a conviction for speeding in violation of a municipal ordinance will result in 2 points being added to your license while a conviction for speeding in violation of state law will result in 3 points being added to your license. A conviction for leaving the scene of an accident in violation of state law will result in 12 points being added to (and the immediate suspension of) your license. The following are some examples of some state law violations and their point values:
VIOLATION POINT VALUE
◦Speeding- 3 points
◦Careless & Imprudent Driving- 4 points
◦A Felony Involving a Motor Vehicle- 12 points
◦Operating a Vehicle While Suspended or Revoked- 12 points
Suspensions and Revocations:
◦ If you accumulate 4 points in 12 months, the Dept. of Revenue will send you a point accumulation advisory
◦ If you accumulate 8 or more points in 18 months, the Dept. of Revenue will suspend your driving privilege.
1st suspension - 30 days2nd suspension - 60 days3rd or more suspensions - 90 days◦ If you accumulate 12 or more points in 12 months, 18 or more points in 24 months or 24 or more points in 36 months, t he Dept. of Revenue will revoke your driving privilege for one year.
To reinstate your driving privilege for a point suspension or revocation you must provide the following:
◦ Non-alcohol related: Proof of insurance (SR-22) and $20 reinstatement fee.
◦ Alcohol related: Proof of insurance (SR-22), $45 reinstatement fee and completion of SATOP.
When your driving privilege is reinstated, the Department of Revenue reduces your total points to 4. Every year you drive without getting new points on your record, the points will be reduced:
◦1 year - total remaining points reduced by one-third
◦ 2 years - remaining points reduced by one-half
◦ 3 years - points reduced to zero
Though your points may be reduced to zero, certain types of convictions may remain listed permanently on your Missouri driver record.
Do I need to go to Court?
If you retain an Attorney you probably do not need to go to Court, but every case is different. Be sure to ask your attorney if you are needed in Court well before the Court date, and if you are unavailable give them plenty of notice so they can get it reset to a new date.
How much will this cost me?
There are multiple things to consider when looking at costs. The cost of hiring an attorney can be as low as $99.00. However, in most cases you will still need to pay some Court fines and Court costs. Never-the-less, paying an attorney may save you a lot more in the long run. Having an attorney will likely keep you from having to take off work to attend Court, they may be able to keep the points off your record, which in turn may keep your insurance rates from going up. In any case consultations are free so it doesn’t cost you a dime to find out.
What happens if I just pay my ticket?
Points will be assessed to your record, you will pay a set fine and court costs, and your insurance may go up. While it seems like the easy way out, just paying a ticket can cost you dearly in the future. In fact many employers are now requesting driving records from potential employees and having too many tickets could keep you from getting that job you really want.
Do I have to take a driving class?
Depending on the situation you may have to take a driving class. However in today’s world of technology it may be easier than you think. Many times the courses you need to take can be done on line in just a short period of time and may cost as little as $25.00. Contact an Attorney to determine if you are eligible for a point reduction in exchange for taking one of these driving courses.
What if I have a warrant?
Contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can many times arrange to get the warrant withdrawn without you ever having to go to Court. If the Judge requires your appearance and sets a bond, many times an attorney can save you thousands of dollars with a bond reduction motion or may even be able to have you released on your own recognizance.
What if I forgot to pay my ticket on time?
This does not necessarily mean you are going to jail, but it does mean you should contact an attorney to help you resolve the situation. People make mistakes, but if you ignore the matter it could result in bigger problems including jail time.
Can I handle this myself?
Maybe. However, it doesn’t cost a dime to find out if an attorney can help. As noted above, the ramifications of just paying a ticket can be costly not only to your pocket book, but also your driver’s license. Some have the impression that they can just go down and speak to the prosecutor. While this may be true in some cases, for most people this tactic is ineffective and in some cases the prosecutor may not talk to you at all. The prosecutor is at a superior negotiating position already, and an unrepresented defendant only worsens the situation. Remember the age old adage; “a person that represents themselves has a fool for a client”.
What do I do when I am pulled over?
First and foremost immediately pull over at the first safe opportunity. Turning on your flashers will let the officer know you see them and they will appreciate not being placed in a dangerous location. Next, get your license and insurance ready for the officer. Many times an officer will confuse fumbling around and looking for a license as evidence of intoxication. I would suggest keep your license and insurance in a place easily accessible at all times. Finally, be polite. Arguing with the officer will only cause more problems. Remember, they are there to do a job and they will note your polite approach.
What do I do after I receive my ticket?
We would always suggest contacting an attorney. Make sure you do so immediately and have the ticket available during the consultation. The attorney will need to know where you received your ticket (the County and/or City) (see map below), what the charge was, and whether it was sent to the FCC or the local government. They will also want to know more about your background. Be honest, lying to your attorney about past tickets will only hurt you. We may be able to do something about a ticket we know about, but we are helpless against the surprise tickets the prosecutor brings up.
TRAFFIC TICKETS FAQ
When the officer approaches your vehicle he will likely ask you one of two standard questions:
Do you know why I stopped you? -- Your response is, “No officer, I don’t.”
Do you know how fast you were going? -- You have three levels of response: 1) “I’m not really sure.” 2) “The speed limit, I think.” 3) “I wasn’t speeding and I checked my speedometer right before you stopped me.”
The key element here is not to admit anything. You have a right to remain silent but the officer isn’t required to advise you of this right (Mirandize). Do not respond by saying, “Well I think I was doing about 62 when you know you are in a 55 mph speed limit. This is called admitting your guilt!
When the officer asks for your license, registration and proof of insurance tell him where they are located and ask to get them before reaching for anything. If you are in a state which allows concealed weapons, by all means notify him of the weapons location. If your documents are in the glove box or console, get them and close the compartment. This way the officer isn’t worried about you reaching in for an illegal weapon while he is writing your citation.
DOES THIS SOUND LIKE YOUR SITUATION?
- It is my job to zealously advocate for my client. To advise them on the vast array of consequences that could occur from just paying the ticket.
Again, every situation is different, but if you plan to fight a ticket having an attorney is a must. Just remember that you may be directed to contact local counsel in these cases and the cost of the litigation greatly increases. Most cases never make it to trial because the cost to beat the ticket is almost always less than the effects a plea agreement will have on the driver.
However, if you decide you want to fight the ticket, you can. Radar detection, like any other instrument, is riddled with user error that can many times result in inaccurate readings. What does this mean to you? The Court may find you Not Guilty, and you walk away without harm to your driving records or fines and costs to pay.
I was wrongly accused; can you help me beat this ticket?