TRAFFIC TICKET LAWYER IN KANSAS CITY
Even the most cautious drivers are vulnerable to receiving traffic tickets, and seemingly minor tickets can have significant, long-lasting effects on your driving privileges. Traffic tickets assess points against your driver’s license, and virtually all moving violations can lead to fines, increased insurance premiums, having your license suspended or revoked, or being ordered to participate in driver improvement programs. It may be tempting to pay the fine to put the incident behind you. Still, this approach amounts to pleading guilty and sabotages any chanceyou may have to reduce the associated penalties.
Learn more about driving laws and traffic violations by consulting the information below, then contact Your Traffic Ticket Lawyer today to hire our expert team for your legal representation. Our traffic ticket attorneys will inform you of your legal options and advocate aggressively on your behalf to protect your rights, preserve your driving privileges, and keep tickets from negatively affecting your future.
Missouri Driving Laws and Penalties
Unlike other states with driving laws that prohibit reckless driving, Missouri features statutes that make it illegal for motorists to drive carelessly or imprudently. This law requires all motorists driving on public roadways to operate their vehicles in a “careful and prudent manner” by exercising “the highest degree of care” and driving at speeds that do not endanger others or their property. Failing to follow these stipulations is considered driving unsafely and can result in being charged with careless or imprudent driving. Violations can take many forms, and police officers reserve the right to exercise their own discretion when determining whether your actions constitute a violation.
Typically, a careless and imprudent driving charge is classified as a Class B misdemeanor and results in a jail sentence of up to six months and a maximum of $1,000 in fines. If you were involved in an accident while driving carelessly and imprudently, it is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. While the conviction you face depends on the circumstances of the offense, you can expect this violation to assess four points against your driving record. The point values of common driving violations are listedbelow:
Speeding 5+ mph over the posted speed limit—3 points
Speeding 5+ mph over the posted speed limit in a municipal area—2 points
Knowingly allowing an unlicensed motorist to operate a vehicle—4 points
Obtaining a driver’s license through misrepresentation—12 points
Driving without Financial Responsibility (without insurance)—4 points
Driving with a suspended license or revoked license—12 points
Felony involving a motor vehicle—12 points
If you accumulate four points within 12 months, you will receive a point accumulation advisory from the Department of Revenue. If you get eight or more points within 18 months, your driving privileges will be suspended for the following periods:
First suspension—30 days
Second suspension—60 days
Third or subsequent suspension—90 days
Your driving privileges will be revoked for one year if you accumulate:
12 points or more in 12 months
18 points or more in 24 months
24 points or more in 36 months
These points are reduced every year you drive without receiving new points on your drivingrecord:
After the first year, your remaining points will be reduced by one-third.
After two years, the points are reduced by one-half.
After three years, the points are reduced to zero.
Even after your points are reduced to zero, certain convictions for driving charges will remain permanently on your state driving record. Along with the criminal and administrative penalties that may be imposed for traffic violations, most insurance companies will increase your insurance rates after you receive points on your driver’s license. One speeding ticket can cause your premiums to rise 18% to 22% for the next three to five years, costing you thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums before returning to standard rates.
Moving Violations vs. Non-Moving Violations
Missouri driving law categorizes violations into two primary categories: moving violations and non-moving violations. Moving violations occur when a motorist breaks a traffic law while the vehicle is in motion, while non-moving violations occur when the car is not in motion or otherwise do not relate to the manner in which you were operating the vehicle. They generally involve parking, faulty equipment, or other matters.
Common Moving Violations
Examples of common moving violations in Missouri include:
Careless or reckless driving
Driving without insurance
Driving without a driver’s license
Driving with an expired license
Driving while suspended
Driving while revoked
Running a red light
Failing to stay in a single lane
Failing to yield the right of way
Following other motorists too closely
Leaving the scene of a car accident (hit and run)
Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances (DUI)
Driving while impaired (DWI)
Common Non-Moving Violations
Examples of common non-moving violations in Missouri include:
Illegally parking, such as in front of a fire hydrant or too far from the curb
Parking in a posted no-parking zone
Loud music or excessive muffler noise
Failure to provide proof of insurance coverage
Expired motor vehicle plates
Failure to properly display front or back license plates on your vehicle
Possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia
Open container in possession of a passenger or in a parked vehicle
Minor person under 21 years old in possession of alcohol
Neglecting to use seat belts or other approved restraint systems for yourself or children
Littering from a moving vehicle
Failure to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle
Responding to Traffic Tickets
Although the processing of traffic tickets can work differently based on the county, city, or municipality in which you received the ticket, typically, your ticket will include information on the date and time you are expected to appear in court. Other tickets, such as those you receive while driving on a highway, may stipulate that you appear in court only if you do not pay the fines assessed on your ticket.
Missouri driving laws require you to respond to your citation before the court date listed on the ticket , which is usually around 30 to 45 days after the date you received the ticket for your infraction. There are three main options available for responding to traffic tickets:
1. Pay the Ticket
This acknowledges that you accept the violation you have been charged with and waive the right to challenge the ticket later in court. Points will be added against your driver’s license based on the specific laws you violated, and you will be held responsible for all penalties decided by the court. If you receive 8 points within 18 months, you will face a suspension, 12 points in 12 months results in a one year revocation.
2. Pay the Ticket and Enroll in a Driver Improvement Program (DIP)
If this option is available in your county and you are eligible, you must submit a guilty plea and complete the DIP within 60 days of entering the plea. After you complete the program, no points will be added to your driving record.
3. Request a Contested Hearing
You can plead “not guilty” to the traffic violation by checking the box on your ticket and mailing it to the court. Successfully defending your plea requires legal assistance from a traffic ticket attorney.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Get a Traffic Ticket?
While some traffic violations remain misdemeanors, some circumstances can cause the prosecuting attorney to charge you with a felony. If you are charged with a DUI, leaving the scene of a car accident, or your offense caused injury to another person or damage to someone’s property, the State may consider your offense to be more serious and are able pursue more severe penalties. Even if you are charged with a minor crime, the best course of action to protect your rights and retain your driving privilege is to hire an experienced traffic ticket lawyer. They will investigate the offense, prepare your case, guarantee you receive constitutional protection, and represent you in court if necessary.
Choosing to pay your ticket without first consulting an attorney means you agree to the ticket appearing on your driving record, points being incurred against your license, and potential license suspension, among other possible penalties. Your car insurance company will most likely raise your rates significantly, often for around three to five years. A traffic ticket attorney can help prevent your ticket or the associated points from being added to your record or appear on your behalf in court if you cannot make an appearance due to employment, distance, or otherreasons. Your insurance costs will likely stay the same, saving you the hassle and substantial expense.
Attorneys Improve Outcomes in Many Ways:
No points—Downgrading your charge to a “no-point, non-moving violation,” meaning it will not incur any points on your driving record.
Reduced points—Reducing the number of points that will be added to your record.
Suspended imposition of sentence—This essentially provides you with a probationary period. If you receive no additional violations during this period, the ticket will not be added to your record, and you will avoid fines and jail sentences.
Suspended execution of sentence—You plead guilty to the violation and receive a probationary period in which no penalties are imposed if you comply with the terms of the probation.
Defective equipment—The court requires you to submit compelling evidence of defective equipment, such as traffic cameras or radar guns, resulting in an inaccurate interpretation of the offense. You will likely still be responsible for paying a fine.
Dismissal—In the best-case scenario, your ticket is completely dismissed by the court. Scenarios that can lead to dismissal include missing or incorrect information presented on the ticket, faulty equipment, or the charging officer failing to appear in court.
Your Traffic Ticket Lawyer Can Help You:
Keep traffic tickets off your driver’s license.
Amend a moving violation into a non-moving, no point violation.
Avoid a timely and inconvenient court appearance.
Reinstate your driver’s license.
Plead no contest, which refers to pleading guilty for sentencing without actually admitting guilt.
Submit an Alford plea, in which you accept that the state likely has sufficient evidence to find you guilty but do not admit guilt or plead guilty to the violation.
Request a trial to ask a judge to review your case and render a judgment.
What to Do When You Receive a Traffic Ticket
To make sure you have the best chance of avoiding points on your record and associated penalties, take the following steps after you receive a traffic ticket:
Do not ignore the ticket. Hiding your ticket in your glove box and forgetting about it is always a bad idea. Neglecting to handle the matter promptly can lead to higher fines, mandatory court appearances, a warrant being issued for your arrest, or time spent in jail.
Do not simply pay the ticket. Out of fear or a desire to put the incident behind them, 95% of motorists faced with a traffic ticket will accept the penalties of the violation without exploring their legal options for contesting the ticket. Along with the financial cost of covering the fine, paying the ticket admits guilt, meaning you incur points on your record and will experience inflated insurance costs.
Contact a traffic ticket attorney. An experienced attorney can prepare your case so your ticket is suspended or dismissed or can plead it down to a minor infraction that allows you to avoid points being added to your record. You may want to handle this situation on your own, but this seriously reduces your chances of a favorable outcome. Most clients find that it costs less to hire a traffic ticket attorney than to pay the ticket and the increased insurance costs.
Contact Your Traffic Ticket Lawyer Today
If you have received a traffic ticket in the Kansas City metro area, contact Your Traffic Ticket Lawyer immediately to discuss your case. Dealing with traffic violations may initially seem like a minor task. Still, it can quickly become a complicated, confusing, and frustrating process resulting in various penalties that impact every area of your life. Save yourself the hassle of navigating traffic tickets on your own by hiring us for expert legal representation. Trevor L. Ferguson and Sean M. LaJaunie have over a decade of combined experience helping residents of the State of Missouri, including but not limited to Jackson County, Clay County, Platte County, Johnson County, Cass County, and throughout the state quickly and efficiently deal with their tickets and receive the best outcomes in their cases.
To schedule a consultation with Your Traffic Ticket Lawyer, visit our website and submit the contact form. Our dedicated, compassionate, and client-oriented traffic ticket attorneys will work closely with you to understand your needs and your goals for resolving your case. We have the experience, legal knowledge, and litigation skills to guide you through every step of the legal process, so you always know what to expect and can prepare for a successful resolution. Review our testimonials to see for yourself how we have helped clients fight their tickets.