Traffic Violations: What are Your Options?
Nearly everyone has experienced some type of traffic violation at least once in their lifetime. Something as simple as a parking ticket can prove to be a nuisance and a financial burden, but it is typically the more serious traffic violations that lead to driving record convictions and hearings—and that can mean trouble for your wallet and your driving record.
I Received a Ticket. Now What?
Whatever the reason for your traffic violation, you will need to decide how and when to take action once you have received a ticket in order to prevent further penalties imposed by the state. Your options are dependent upon the type of citation you have been issued.
If you receive a traffic ticket, you can:
- Plead guilty, and pay the fine; or
- Plead not guilty, and appear before a judge in municipal court.
If you receive a parking ticket, you can:
- Choose no contest, and pay the fine; or
- Contest the fine, and appear before a judge in municipal court.
If you receive any other type of violation, such as a Misdemeanor (Criminal) Citation, you must appear before a judge in a municipal court.
Court Hearings and Alternatives
In the state of Texas, traffic violations are classified as Class C Misdemeanors. They are typically punishable by fines, but there are exceptions in certain cases. For example, the court may grant you the option to take a remedial driver safety course instead of placing a conviction on your driving record.
Should you be summoned for a hearing for your traffic violation, you are required to make an initial appearance on or before the appearance date on your citation. You may also make contact by mail or through your attorney.
Failure to appear in court can mean serious consequences, so it is important that you take your violation seriously. Not only may the court issue a warrant for your arrest, it can also request that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) deny renewal of your driver license. If you think you are exempt from this action because your driver’s license is from another state, think again; the state of Texas participates in the Non-Resident Violators Compact (NRVC), meaning your home state can still suspend your license.
When you are facing a traffic violation, make sure you understand your responsibilities and your rights. A knowledgeable, experienced San Antonio criminal defense attorney can help. Call the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock at 1-888-SAM-LOCK (888-726-5625) for a free consultation today.