Do I need a lawyer for traffic court?

At the Paul Law Firm, it is our goal to help you understand the law. Unfortunately, being charged with a traffic violation is one of the most common interactions with the law. There are three basic steps to analyzing a traffic violation.

The first step in analyzing a traffic violation is understanding the point system and finding out how many points are currently assessed against your driver license. The Missouri point system works as follows:

If you accumulate a total of 4 points in 12 months, the Department of Revenue will send you a point accumulation advisory letter.

If you accumulate a total of 8 or more points in 18 months, the Department of Revenue will suspend your driving privilege.
• 1st suspension – 30 days
• 2nd suspension – 60 days
• 3rd or more suspensions – 90 days

The Department of Revenue will revoke your driving privilege for one year if you accumulate:
• 12 or more points in 12 months
• 18 or more points in 24 months
• 24 or more points in 36 months

When your driving privilege is reinstated following a Point Suspension or Revocation, the Department of Revenue reduces your total points to 4.

Every year you drive without getting new points on your record, the points will be reduced.
• 1 year — total remaining points reduced by one-third
• 2 years — remaining points reduced by one-half
• 3 years — points reduced to zero

You can read more about the Missouri point system at the Department of Revenue’s website. An attorney can tell you how many points are currently assessed against your driver license, or you can contact the Department of Revenue and request a copy of your driver record.

The second step in analyzing a traffic violation is determining how many points you are facing on account of your pending traffic violation. Common point violations include:
• 2-3 points for speeding
• 2-6 points for no driver license
• 4 points for failure to produce insurance identification
• 8-12 points for DUI/DWI
• 12 points for driving while suspended or revoked

Here is a comprehensive list of point violations.

It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney if you have any questions about whether your driver license may be suspended or revoked on account of your pending traffic violation.

The third step in analyzing a traffic violation is understanding the difference between a moving violation and a non-moving violation, as well as the possible impact on insurance.

After determining whether your driver license may be suspended or revoked on account of your pending traffic violation, the next question is whether the violation is considered a moving or non-moving violation. A moving violation typically carries points, whereas a non-moving violation usually does not carry points. Common non-moving violations include:
• Defective equipment
• Expired license plates
• Failure to register a motor vehicle
• Illegal parking
• Seatbelt violations

If you plead guilty to or are convicted of a moving violation, in addition to having points assessed against your driver license, it is also typical that your automobile insurance company will increase your insurance premium on account of the violation because the insurance company perceives you to be a greater risk.

Therefore, it is often the strategy of the attorney to negotiate a plea bargain that amends the charge from a moving violation to a non-moving violation, allowing the client to avoid points on his or her driver license as well as an increased insurance premium.

Additionally, it is important for holders of a Commercial Driver License (CDL) to recognize that certain traffic violations will count toward CDL disqualification pursuant to Missouri law (RSMo. §§ 302.700-302.780) , even if the CDL holder was not operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) at the time of the violation.

If you have additional questions about traffic violations, call or come visit the criminal defense lawyers at the Paul Law Firm. Consultations are always free!