Should I Hire a Lawyer to Take Care of My Traffic Tickets and Violations in Missouri?
Getting a traffic ticket is never a good thing, but the severity of the ticket will depend on your financial situation, current circumstances, and past violations. In the most severe situations, you may even have your driver’s license revoked or face jail time. For a first-time minor violation, it may feel like it is much easier just to pay the ticket and forget about it, but if the situation is one you won’t be able to move on from easily, you may need to enlist the help of a traffic ticket attorney
How Can I Fix My Traffic Ticket?
In Missouri, you can usually pay your ticket fines online, by mail, by phone, or in person. If you decide to pay your ticket you admit guilt and you will no longer be able to contest the ticket. If you don’t want to admit guilt you need to contest the ticket for the chance of having the ticket reduced or even dismissed.
You have three options, you can:
- Pay the fine
- Pay the fine and take the Driver Improvement Program (DIP)
- Contest the ticket
The DIP program will allow you to reduce (or eliminate) the number of points you receive on your record after a violation. So, for example, if you got caught speeding, you could pay your fine, do the DIP, and have no points on your license which means your insurance company does not need to know about the violation.
Whichever option you choose, you must respond to the ticket within 30 days or you can face additional fines or penalties, such as license suspension.
If you choose to plead “not guilty” to a ticket, you need to complete a Not Guilty Plea form and a copy of your ticket. Most tickets have instructions for how you can fight your charge.
Traffic Violations and Penalties in Missouri
Penalties for violations are uniform across the state, but fines will vary from court to court.
Missouri’s Department of Revenue (DOR) may suspend or revoke your driver’s license if you accumulate too many points in a certain time frame.
If you accumulate 8 points or more within 18 months you will have your license suspended for 30 days. Your second suspension will be for 60 days, and your third (and suspensions after) will be 90 days.
You will have your driver’s license revoked for 12 months if you accumulate:
- 12 points or more within 12 months
- 18 points or more within 24 months
- 24 points or more within 36 months
Your traffic ticket (your points) will stay on your driving record for at least 3 years, and it will affect the price of your insurance for that time. If your driver’s license is suspended or revoked, it will stay on your record for 5 years.
The number of points you will receive depends on the severity of your violation; the most common violations carry a low number of points. These include:
- 2 points for careless and imprudent driving, such as a speeding ticket issued by a county or municipal police officer, running a red light, failure to maintain a single lane, and following too closely.
- 3 points for excessive speeding or getting a ticket from a state police officer.
- 4 points for driving without a license or permit.
Severe violations escalate quickly with subsequent violations. These include:
- 8 points for DUI.
- 12 points for driving with a suspended or revoked license.
These severe violations may lead to a large fine, your license being taken away, or in particularly bad situations, jail time, so it’s imperative you seek out an attorney’s help.
You can find a comprehensive list of offenses and points through the MO Department of Revenue
Speeding between 5 and 20mph over the limit is a Class C misdemeanor. Excessive speeding (more than 25mph over the limit) is a Class B misdemeanor.
Careless and imprudent driving, when it applies to incidents of road rage or accidents, can result in up to a year in jail.
Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle can result in a Class A misdemeanor.
Texting while driving is currently only illegal for drivers under 21, however, the distraction can cause other violations.
Failure to have adequate insurance – or any – will earn you 4 points and possible suspension.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Lawyer to Fix Your Traffic Ticket
- They Have the Expertise You Need – traffic ticket attorneys have the expertise to fight your case in ways you wouldn’t think of on your own. They are experienced with cases just like yours and know the law inside out – they’ll know the weak points to exploit to have the consequences of your violation reduced, or even dismissed.
- Continue Life as Normal – in many cases of common or simple traffic offenses, your attorney can attend your hearing without you, meaning you can continue to go to work as normal, avoiding any awkward conversations with your boss or clients
- Save Time – appearing for yourself in court can take hours. Many courts’ schedules are only a guide, are open only on a Friday afternoon, or they run on a first-come-first-serve basis. An attorney will attend in your stead so you won’t waste hours waiting for your few minutes in the hearing.
- Negotiate a Better Deal – your attorney will be able to take your driving and criminal record into account, as well as other circumstances such as weather conditions, and argue for a reduced fine and points.
- Prevent Escalation – if you intend to contest your traffic ticket but aren’t sure about how you should go about it, you may do more harm than good, especially if you forget to fill in the right forms at the right times.
- Help Prevent Suspensions – if this isn’t the first offense you may be at risk of having your license suspended, which will severely disrupt your life. What will you do if you can’t get to work because you can’t drive? Can you find someone to be your taxi for 30 – 90 days? Worse, if your job depends on your ability to drive, you may find you no longer have a job waiting for you. It’s imperative you hire a lawyer if you believe you are at risk of having your license suspended.
- Prevent Your License Being Revoked – if your license is revoked you will no longer have the ability to drive. If you rely on your vehicle heavily you will find your life is drastically impeded. A traffic ticket attorney will fight to keep you behind the wheel, so your life can carry on as normal.
- Cost – While you will find the cost listed in the cons below, hiring an attorney will nearly always save you money. If you are in the St. Louis Metro area and are able to enlist our help, we are often able to keep points from your license for just $49.99. However, if you call us right now and mention that you read this article we will “fix” the ticket for just $35. That’s certainly a lot less than you’ll pay your insurance company for the increase over the next three years!
- Cost – understandably, hiring a traffic ticket attorney to fight your violation will cost you some money. If this is your first ticket and you are prepared to do the DIP, that will likely be the most cost-effective route for you. However, if there is a chance that points will be put on your record and drive up the cost of your insurance for the next three years, then an attorney may be able to save you money over the long term. The cost of having your license suspended or revoked may cost you your job, so it’s a no-brainer to hire an attorney to fight to get you the very best circumstances.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Traffic Violation?
At first glance, it may seem like an overreaction to hire a traffic ticket attorney, but you have the right to challenge your ticket if you don’t feel you are guilty. If you have received a ticket and it isn’t your first offense you’ll likely want an attorney to fight for you to get the points or fine reduced.
If you are accused of a serious violation (DUI, accusation related to an accident, road rage) you need a traffic ticket lawyer on your side.
If you have received a traffic ticket in the St. Louis Metro area in Missouri and want to contest it, we are a team of experienced traffic ticket attorneys and are here to help you with any ticket, whether it’s your first offense, or forth. We offer a simple and cost-effective solution for your speeding and other moving violation tickets – for most clients, we can stop you receiving points for as little as $49.99. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you, click here and arrange a free consultation or call us right now to speak with an attorney – 314-578-1465.