You’ve received a traffic ticket and now you have to decide what to do. You know you can either fight it or just deal with it. If it’s an infraction, it doesn’t seem like too big of a deal. You can pay the ticket and go on your way. You can pay it online, mail in a check, or even do it over the phone. Even if it’s a misdemeanor like a DUI, you can still just pay the ticket. The consequences might not be fun, but paying for a San Diego traffic lawyer seems like a bigger price to pay. If you are facing a traffic violation charge, an experienced San Diego traffic defense attorney will be able to protect your rights.
While not fighting and paying a ticket seems like the easy way out of the situation, doing so comes with many more consequences than you initially imagine. Consider the many ways paying for a ticket can hurt you and your family. By paying a traffic ticket you:
- Plead guilty. There’s no such thing as writing the state a check while maintaining your innocence. If you decide to not fight a ticket, you have to live with the consequences of being guilty of a traffic offense.
- Might have to go to court. If the ticket was for a misdemeanor, you’ll have to appear in court even if you want to pay the fine. These tickets may come with other consequences in addition to the monetary penalty.
- Create a permanent record of the offense. Everyone has a driving record, but yours will be less clean if you merely pay a ticket. Once you have any traffic offense on your record, other consequences follow.
- Obtain license points. California assigns points to your license based on the traffic offense. Many traffic offenses give you 1 or 2 points. The more points you have, the less safe of a driver you are in the eyes of the state. These points don’t last forever, but depending on how they’re earned, they can stay on your record for up to 10 years.
- May need to go to traffic school. Depending on the ticket, you might have to go to traffic school. Not only do you have to take time out of your busy schedule to relearn the rules of the road, but you have to pay for it too. The bright side of this is that going to traffic school may help you avoid points on your license.
- Might have your license suspended. Depending on the number of points you’ve accumulated on your license, the DMV might revoke your license for a period of time. This can happen if you obtain 4 points within 1 year, 6 points within 2 years, or 8 points within 3 years.
- Effect your career. If you apply to a job that requires you to drive, the company will surely look at your record. Seeing a traffic violation could cause you to lose the opportunity. If your current job requires you to drive, such as being a trucker, you might lose your CDL. If your license is revoked and you need to drive for your job, you could lose your position. Even if the suspension doesn’t directly affect your career, you’ll have a hard time getting to and from work without being able to drive yourself.
- Potentially face a civil lawsuit. If your ticket was in connection with an accident, you might get sued. The best case scenario is that the other party settles with your insurance. But if your insurance denies their claim or your policy isn’t enough to pay the person’s damages and injuries, then that person might seek compensation from you directly. Once they file a lawsuit against you, you’ll have a difficult time fighting it since you pleaded guilty to the traffic offense that caused the accident and their injuries.
- Face higher auto insurance rates. Like traffic accidents, tickets lead to higher insurance rates. It’s almost a given. Additionally, if another person’s car was damaged or someone was injured because of your traffic violation, your insurance will likely receive a third-party claim. If your insurer has to settle with another person based on your actions, your insurance could become much more expensive.
- Effect your family. Considering all of the statutory and collateral consequences of merely paying a ticket, it’s no surprise that this situation could put a great deal of stress on your family. In addition to the monetary fine, you’ll have to pay numerous fees and surcharges to the state. The ticket won’t be cheap. If you lose your license because of too many points, your family will have to take on the burden of getting you to and from work, taking care of the kids, and running all of the errands. If you lose your job, the monetary consequences could be staggering. And your spouse could still face higher insurance rates because of your actions. On top of all of this, your family might have to face a lawsuit alongside of you.
Contact a San Diego Traffic Defense Attorney
Jessica McElfresh, an experienced defense lawyer, understands the consequences of traffic tickets all too well. She’s seen many of her clients affected by moving violations and tickets they decided to pay instead of fight. If you’ve been ticketed, call Jessica right away. She’ll explain the law and how you can best defend yourself against the violation. Call her today at (858) 756-7107.