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Insurance Penalties Associated with Traffic Violations

Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law March 20, 2023

Police Woman Giving Fine Receipt to Driver on RoadWhile Texas no longer uses a point system for traffic violations, that doesn’t mean your insurance company isn’t checking your driving record to raise your rates. Your violation(s) will appear on your driving record for up to three years or more, and insurers will generally check your record at least twice a year.  

Depending on the nature of the ticket you’ve received, your auto insurance premium could go up anywhere from 10 to 30 percent for a new violation on your record. For serious violations, your policy may even be canceled. 

If you’ve received a traffic citation in or around Fort Worth, contact Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law. You have options to avoid the citation appearing on your record; if the violation amounts to a misdemeanor or felony, you should be aware that it can result in the creation of a criminal record in your name. That’s why it’s so important to uphold your rights when facing a traffic violation. Attorney Kim Hamilton will strive to help you achieve the best possible result.  

If you live anywhere in Texas, including Johnson County and Tarrant County, set up a one-on-one consultation today. 

Traffic Violations in Texas 

In the Lone Star State, traffic violations are of two categories: major and minor. Minor violations are generally for speeding, failing to signal or yield, following too closely, or driving without a seat belt on.  

Certain traffic violations rise to the level of a major offense and can even lead to a Class C misdemeanor, which can result in a criminal record. Though they are misdemeanors, they don’t involve incarceration, just fines and a notation on your driving record. Certain violations can also rise to the level of a felony if they involve hit-and-run incidents, driving while intoxicated, or result in injuries or death. Felonies can lead to not only fines but also prison time. 

Speeding Laws in Texas 

Many states use absolute speed limits that are posted on signs. Texas, however, uses a system known as prima facie speed limits. If you drive over a prima facie speed limit, you may still be able to argue that your driving was safe, and the judge or jury might let you off. The state’s prima facie speed limits include: 

  • 15 miles per hour in an urban alley 

  • 15 miles per hour on beaches or county roads adjacent to a beach 

  • 30 miles per hour on urban streets 

  • 70 miles per hour on numbered highways outside of urban districts 

  • 60 miles per hour on unnumbered highways outside of urban districts 

These speed limits are typically posted as well. 

Is There a Point System in Texas? 

Since September 1, 2019, there is no longer a point system in Texas, but violations do appear on your driving record, and misdemeanor and felony violations can also result in a criminal record. Insurance companies, of course, have access to your driving record and will review it periodically. Any violation can result in an increase in your premium, or even in the cancellation of your policy if it’s severe enough. 

Your Options if You’re Cited 

If you are ticketed, you can simply pay the fine, which is an admission of guilt and the citation will then appear on your driving record. You can also plead no contest or even not guilty. If you plead not guilty, then you must convince the court that you did not break the law.  

There are options to avoid having the citation appear on your driving record. If you plead no contest or even guilty, you can request to have your citation dismissed by paying court costs, and if assessed, a special expense fee not to exceed the maximum amount of the fine. This process is known as deferred disposition, in other words, probation. 

If you plead no contest or guilty, you may also be eligible for a defensive driving course, which will dismiss the ticket from your driving record. To qualify, you must not have taken a defensive driving course in the past 12 months or have been cited for exceeding the speed limit by 25 miles per hour or more. Those holding commercial driver’s licenses are also ineligible. 

Clearly, it is in your best interest to pursue probation or a defensive driving course to avoid having your driving record result in a higher insurance premium. In more serious situations that result in misdemeanor or felony charges, you are going to have to be more aggressive. An experienced criminal defense attorney can fight to get your charge lowered or even dismissed. 

Faithful & Dedicated Legal Counsel 

Attorney Kim Hamilton has more than three decades’ experience in fighting for clients’ rights and the preservation of their driving privileges. It may be simple to just pay the fine, but you need to consider the consequences. The violation will appear on your record for at least three years, and insurers don’t generally lower premiums once a citation on your record expires.  

If you’ve been cited in or around Fort Worth, or anywhere in Johnson County or Tarrant County, contact Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law. He will strive to uphold your rights and work toward the best possible outcome.