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For many people, receiving a traffic ticket seems like a momentary financial inconvenience. Unfortunately, the consequences of a simple infraction can be more serious, as it can add points to your license and increase your insurance premium. If you’d like to avoid or reduce the costs and future consequences of a traffic ticket, it is in your interest to work with an experienced South Carolina traffic ticket lawyer.
By paying the fine for a traffic ticket, you are admitting guilt to the offense. Your interests may be better served by appearing in court to request a reduction, attending driver’s educational courses, or contesting the evidence against you. Although not every traffic ticket needs to be contested, an attorney can help you understand your unique situation and weigh the costs of different legal options available to you.
When you receive a speeding ticket or ticket for another traffic infraction, you may receive points on your driver’s license. If you receive 12 points on your license, it is automatically suspended. Some common traffic tickets that may result in license points include:
Points on your license can also impact your insurance rates. Although it may seem like a one-time charge to pay the fine, it may increase your rates for a long period of time. After one year, the points on your license are reduced by half and are then gone after two years. This does not always mean your insurance rates will decrease.
Even if you appear in court and reduce the charge and fee, the violation remains on your driving record.
If you have not had any prior traffic offenses, you could request to take a driver’s education course. If the judge allows it, this can result in the ticket being dismissed, fees being waived, or points being removed from your license. This can also help you lower the cost of your car insurance.
Being able to waive the offense with an educational course is not common, but depending on your situation, it may be allowed. It is more common for offenses resulting in four points or less on your driving record. Once you waive a ticket through a driver’s educational course, this option is no longer available to you for future tickets.
In some cases, you can dismiss a traffic ticket in court by contesting it or raising a defense. Each traffic infraction is unique, and an attorney can help you determine if contesting the ticket is viable and worthwhile. The attorney may negotiate for probation or contest the evidence and circumstances of the arrest or citation.
Defenses may include emergency situations, lack of probable cause, or road signs that are missing or damaged. The ticket may also be dismissed if the issuing officer does not appear in court.
The points on your driver’s license for speeding depend on the speed you were going. The fines and points for speeding are:
A: You can file an appeal for a traffic ticket if you did not pay the ticket, appeared at the hearing, and believe the court came to the wrong verdict. If you pled guilty or no contest to the ticket, you will have a harder time appealing the decision.
There must be grounds for an appeal regardless of how you pleaded, such as the mishandling of evidence or a lack of evidence to find you guilty of the offense. When a Traffic Court’s verdict is that you must pay the fine, appeals can be made to the Court of Common Pleas in the same county.
A: Yes, you are sometimes able to pay a traffic ticket to avoid the court process. Some tickets require you to appear in court. Paying a traffic ticket’s fine is admitting guilt of the infraction and is the same as appearing to file a guilty plea. The traffic offense will be listed on your record, and you will be responsible for the fine. In addition to the short-term costs of the fine, you likely will see other costs in your insurance premium.
A: In South Carolina, the points on your license are reduced by half after one year, meaning they are removed after two years. Most traffic offenses are not charged as crimes and, therefore, do not impact your criminal record. Your insurance premiums will not necessarily go down when the points are removed from your license.
A: If you miss court for a traffic ticket, the court hears the case without you and finds you guilty of the infraction. You must pay the traffic ticket. If you do not pay the fine, your license may be suspended, or you may be subject to a bench warrant. If you are unable to make it to your court date, you must provide documentation prior to the court date as to why you cannot make the hearing.
Paying a traffic ticket fine is not the only option available to you. Speak with the qualified attorneys at Axelrod & Associates, P.A., to determine if you can defend against a traffic infraction or if you can lessen the penalties through an education course or other means. We want to help you protect your rights. Contact our team today.
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