BEFORE YOU PAY THAT TRAFFIC TICKET..

posted by on Friday, December 19, 2008

Most individuals simply send in their check and pay their tickets for speeding or other traffic violations. However, there are certain situations where one should think twice before doing so. Depending upon the nature of the offense, the zone designation where the offense took place, and the persons prior driving record, there can be drastic consequences to ones driving privileges that result from the conviction that is registered as a result of paying the citation. For example, a guilty plea to a speeding infraction that is 25 miles an hour or more over the posted limit will result in an automatic suspension of your driver's license. The Department of Transportation considers these to be "serious violations." In these situations, the length of the impending suspension depends upon many miles an hour over the speed limit you were traveling. The table is set out below.

MPH OVER THE LIMIT = LENGTH OF SUSPENSION
25= 60 days
26 = 65 days
27 = 70 days
28 = 75 days
29 = 80 days
30 = 90 days
31 = 100 days
32 = 110 days
33 = 120 days
34 = 130 days
35 = 140 days
36 = 150 days
37 = 160 days
38 = 170 days
39 = 180 days
40 = 190 days
41 = 210 days
42 = 230 days
43 = 250 days
44 = 270 days
45 = 290 days
46 = 310 days
47 = 330 days
48 = 350 days
49 or more = One year

For example a person who is convicted of traveling 75 in a 45 would be facing a 90 day suspension. Because the DOT can only suspend your license upon a conviction of such an infraction, it may be possible to avoid the suspension if the citation can be resolved through a plea agreement whereby the prosecutor agrees to amend the charge to a speed of 24 mph or less over the limit.

In addition to "serious violation" suspensions, your driving privileges can be suspended for other reasons associated with convictions for less serious offenses. For example, your license may be subject to suspension if you have convicted of three or more moving violations within a twelve month period. There are a number of traffic violations that are considered moving violations, these are too numerous to name them all so an attorney should be consulted to determine whether it is a moving violation. The suspension periods are shown in the table below.

# OF CONVICTIONS IN 12 MONTHS = LENGTH OF SUSPENSION
3 = 90 days
4 = 120 days
5 = 150 days
6 = 180 days
7 or more = 1 year

If you already made the mistake of paying the ticket or pleading guilty, all is not lost. It still may be possible to avoid the suspension, or have the suspension lessened if you avail yourself to the appeal process. Contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible if you are in this situation.
If you have the unfortunate occasion to receive a traffic ticket, it is in your best interest to consult a qualified attorney to determine the possible effect it could have on your driving privileges before you pay the citation. Don't be stuck wishing you would have looked into it more after you receive the notice of suspension for the Department of Transportation. A proactive approach is the only way to go.
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