Traffic tickets are often more than just an inconvenience, but could end up being a significant drain on your finances. For instance, many traffic citations come with hefty fines, but this is not the only cost that a driver may incur, as it is a common practice for auto insurers to increase premiums after a driver has accumulated a certain number of points on his or her driving record. Fortunately, it is often possible to amend a citation, so that points are not added to your record, so if you were recently cited for a traffic violation, you should consider speaking with an experienced Houston traffic violations attorney about your options.
Assessing Points on Your Record
Texas, like most states, has a specific system, under which the Department of Public Safety is authorized to assess points and surcharges to a driver’s record for committing traffic violations. Eventually, accumulating a certain number of points on one’s driving record can result in:
- The mandatory payment of surcharges;
- The assessment of hefty fines;
- An increase in auto insurance costs; and
- A driver’s license suspension.
The scope of these costs, however, will depend on the number of points on a driver’s record, as certain traffic citations come with a specific number of points. Generally, the more severe the violation, the more points will be added. For instance, most moving violations come with a two point assessment, unless the violation resulted in an accident, in which case, three points will typically be added to a driver’s record.
Other offenses, however, including driving while intoxicated or driving without a license or insurance, don’t come with a point assessment. Instead, when a driver is convicted of committing this kind of offense, he or she will be assessed a surcharge annually for three years from the date of conviction. For first time DWI offenders, this surcharge is typically $1,000 a year, for the next three years.
Besides having to pay the fines that come with a traffic citation, drivers can also expect a hike in their auto insurance rates. Insurers justify this by claiming that they are taking on more risk by insuring the driver in question, whose citations may be evidence of negligent or reckless driving. Fortunately, drivers who amend their citations to a lesser violation are often able to avoid the accrual of points on their records.
Here to Help with Your Traffic Citation-Related Questions
Receiving a traffic citation can result in fines, the accrual of points on your driving record, increased insurance premiums, and even the suspension of your driver’s license. There are, however, steps you can take to help mitigate these penalties, so if you received a traffic citation and have questions or concerns about what to do next, please call the dedicated Houston traffic violations lawyers at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates. Initial consultations are offered free of charge, so don’t hesitate to call our office at (281) 280-0100 or to send us an online message with your contact information.