Why It’s Worth it to Fight a Traffic Violation
Feb. 7, 2023
On the surface, traffic violations may not seem like a serious situation. No one goes to jail over one parking ticket. However, one by one, traffic violations can pile up. When they do, they can have serious legal consequences. That is why it is worth fighting traffic violations, especially when they are clearly unfair.
At Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law, the firm protects the rights of drivers all over Texas. No one should have to face traffic violations on their own. If you live in Fort Worth or anywhere else in the state, including Johnson County and Tarrant County, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney to set up a one-on-one consultation.
Understanding the Point System in Texas
In the state of Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety uses the Driver Responsibility Program (DRP) to enforce traffic regulations. Enforcement of regulation involves assessing surcharges for specific traffic violations. The term “surcharges” refers to fines resulting from traffic violations. Drivers receive a notification by mail every time a surcharge is added to the driver’s record. As a result, drivers may not be aware they have committed a traffic violation until they receive the official notification.
Among other methods, the DRP uses a points-based system to assess traffic violations. The points-based system assigns points based on traffic violations as follows:
Two (2) points for moving violations in Texas and out-of-state
Three (3) points for moving violations resulting in a crash
Drivers with six or more points on their record must pay an annual surcharge. Nevertheless, drivers are eligible to have one point removed from their records for every 12 consecutive months they go without accruing any additional points.
It is worth noting that points can quickly add up. Two or three violations in a row can leave drivers with traffic fines and serious legal consequences. Drivers carrying points on their licenses can expect to face serious consequences. In short, the more points a driver has, the greater the consequences they can face.
Serious Traffic Violations & Convictions
Serious traffic violations may result in penalties beyond points. Such violations may include:
Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
Driving without a license
Driving with an invalid license
Driving without insurance
Reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the point system in Texas and uphold your rights at every stage.
Possible Penalties for Traffic Violations in Texas
When considering possible penalties for traffic violations, drivers commonly think, “should I fight my traffic violation?” Fighting a traffic violation is certainly worth it, considering the following potential consequences:
Driver’s license suspension, including automatic suspensions
Higher insurance rates
Other serious penalties
Common Defenses for Traffic Violations in Texas
Fighting a traffic violation is worth the time and effort, especially when drivers already have points on their licenses. Here are the most common defenses when contesting a traffic violation in Texas.
When going to court, the charging officer must appear. Otherwise, an absent officer may mean an automatic charge dismissal. This defense is based on people’s constitutional right to face their accusers. Please bear in mind that most officers schedule several hearings on the same day. So, the best option may be to request a postponement of the hearing. Doing so forces the officer to show up on another date, reducing the likelihood of the officer actually showing up.
Hearsay Based on Camera Tickets
Contesting traffic violations assessed by cameras can become a burden for the court. The court needs to request camera footage to review the violation. Additionally, drivers can claim hearsay as a defense considering the charging officer was not present at the scene. The officer relies on footage, leading them to base their accusation on speculation.
The sixth amendment guarantees the right to a speedy trial. If the court cannot hear the case within a reasonable time, the driver can request the charges to be dismissed.
Trial by Declaration
Drivers may submit their defense by mail. The accusing officer must also reply by mail. Given that responding by mail requires additional unpaid paperwork, the officer may neglect to submit their response. In such cases, the driver can request the charge’s dismissal. If this approach fails, the driver can request an in-person hearing.
Contesting Radar Guns
Drivers may question the reliability of radar guns. If officers cannot prove their radar guns have been properly maintained, the driver may be able to get their case dropped.
Speaking with an Experienced Attorney
No matter your unique situation, getting skilled, professional legal counsel from an experienced attorney is crucial when contesting traffic violations. That is why Attorney Kim Hamilton delivers more than three decades of legal experience in helping Texas residents protect their rights. Contact the firm as soon as possible to set up a consultation.