Got a Speeding Ticket? Don't Simply Pay It...Look at your Options
If you receive a speeding ticket, do not make the mistake of simply paying the ticket. If you do, your insurance premium will increase over the next three to five years. Perhaps more importantly, you will be overlooking the available options to wipe the ticket from your record.
As soon as you receive a ticket, you should call the clerk for the court of the county presiding over the jurisdiction in which you received the ticket.Ask them what your options are to avoid the ticket from showing up on your record. If available, your first option should always be taking defensive driving, which is generally available as long as you were not speeding in excess of 25 miles per hour over the posted limit. Defensive driving is something that was previously more of a hassle because you would have to physically attend a course for six hours. There are currently several internet options that are available to you that can be taken over days or even weeks at your leisure. To be eligible for defensive driving in Texas, you cannot have taken defensive driving within one year from the date you received the ticket. You will also have to pay a fee, which ranges from $60 to $100 in order to take defensive driving, as well as a portion of your total cost of the ticket. However, this fee is a small price to pay in order to remove the ticket from your record and to avoid any increased insurance costs. Interestingly, by taking a defensive driving course, most insurance companies will provide you with a defensive driving discount, thus lowering your auto premiums.
If you are not eligible for defensive driving, or if you simply do not wish to complete a defensive driving course, another option is to request deferred adjudication. Deferred adjudication is a procedure in which you will pay the cost of the ticket in full plus an additional deferred adjudication fee. Choosing this option will put you on a three-month probationary period where you cannot receive another traffic violation. If you successfully complete the deferred period, the ticket will not appear on your record. However, if you receive another violation during the probationary period, both tickets will be applied to your record.
Your final option is to simply challenge the ticket. By challenging the ticket, you will be requesting a trial date in front of the judge. You should probably only challenge the ticket if you truly believe that you received the ticket unjustly, and are confident in testifying about your innocence. If you challenge the ticket and then ultimately lose at trial, you will probably be responsible for the full ticket amount plus court costs. On the other hand, in most counties, if the police officer does not show up for trial, your ticket will be automatically dismissed. You should not go through the process expecting this to be a fool-proof solution to your ticket woes. For instance, most counties track police officer attendance in courts, and the officers are required to be there as part of their jobs.
For more complicated issues or concerns surrounding a ticket, you should contact an attorney.
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