The Firm

Traffic Ticket Points

Points

A traffic stop is an uncomfortable, yet common, police encounters. After you have been ticketed, you may be tempted to just pay the ticket and move on with your life. Before you do, however, take some time to understand the impact this decision may have on your Missouri driving privilege and/or insurance premiums. Whenever you plead guilty to certain traffic violations, the Missouri Department of Revenue assesses points against your driving record. Over time, these points can accumulate and result in a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges.

At Ward & Associates, we aren’t going to tell you that every traffic ticket warrants an attorney. We will say, however, that any traffic ticket resulting in the assessment of points warrants an attorney. Therefore, it is important to know what tickets result in points. Fortunately, the Missouri Department of Revenue (“DOR”) has published a points table that lists all traffic violations and their corresponding point totals (Click here to view the table).

In the event that your traffic offense is listed on the Missouri DOR table, it is important that you hire an attorney. First, if you accumulate eight points in an 18 month period, your license will be suspended for a period of 30 days. If, during your lifetime, you receive a second such suspension, your license will be suspended for 60 days. A third and subsequent suspension will result in a 90 day suspension of your driving privileges. If you accumulate 12 points in a 12 month period, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months, your driving privilege will be revoked for a period of one year. After serving a suspension or revocation, your points will be reduced to 4 points.

It is also important to note that the DOR can assess points against you for tickets received in other states. According to Missouri law, if your conviction in another state would result in a DOR point assessment had you been convicted of the same violation in Missouri, the DOR may assess appropriate points against your Missouri license. In this increasingly interconnected world, more and more states are sharing information. Although it is possible for the DOR to miss another state’s traffic ticket conviction, do not count on it. So, if you receive a ticket in another state, hire an attorney from that state to get it resolved.

Assuming no further points are assessed, over time, the number of points on your driving record will decrease. After the first full year (beginning on the date of last conviction) of no further point related convictions, the number of points on your driving record will be reduce by one-third. After the second full year of no further point related convictions, the remaining balance will be reduced by half. After the third full year, the remaining points will be eliminated.

Effect on insurance premiums and cancellations

Another important reason to avoid points on your driving record is related to your insurance company. Your insurance company has access to your driving record and, typically, when you come up for renewal of your policy, they will check your driving record. If points have been assessed against you, your insurance company could increase your rates or, in some cases, drop your policy. There have been instances where an insurance company drops not only the insured’s automobile policy, but all of the insured’s policies (including homeowner, business, renter’s, etc.) as a result of a suspension or revocation for points.

What can an attorney do to help?

You may be wondering what an attorney can do to help with all of this. Maybe you really were speeding, or you really did run a stop light. Regardless of actual fault, it is generally possible through a number of methods for an attorney to avoid points. First, many courts offer defensive driving school. Upon successful completion of the defensive driving school, the court may agree to dismiss your ticket. Second, in many cases, your attorney may be able to work out a non-points related plea agreement in exchange for a higher fine. This is possible because municipalities rely heavily upon ticket revenue for the operation of their cities. As a result, the municipality is usually much more interested in your money than convicting you of a minor traffic infraction. Examples of non-point related dispositions include illegal parking, defective equipment, loud muffler, etc. (any traffic offense not listed on the DOR’s point table)

A third way of avoid points is what is known as a suspended imposition of sentence (“SIS”). An SIS is a probationary period (typically six months to a year on a minor traffic infraction). If you successfully complete the probationary period without any further tickets, the case will be closed and the matter will not be reported on your driving record. Since an SIS cannot be accompanied by a fine in Missouri, the court will usually require you to pay nominal court costs and send you on your way. In the event you fail to successfully complete your probationary period, at the prosecutor’s discretion, you may be convicted of the original ticket, be forced to pay a fine and be assessed points. For this reason, many people do not prefer an SIS on a ticket. However, if you have gone for a long period of time without receiving a ticket and do not anticipate another, this is a good way to pay minimal money and receive no points.

Click here for a free case evaluation

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your case, you can click on the link above to receive a free case evaluation or call our office at 314-394-2150 , and we would be happy to help you.

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