Fighting Texas Traffic Tickets

Traffic tickets can be an annoying part of life. At some point or another the vast majority of people are likely to receive a traffic ticket for something. As a result, knowing a little bit about fighting Texas traffic tickets can work in your favor. This article applies to Non-CDL drivers.

More often than not, those tickets are for speeding (TXTRC 545.351), failure to maintain financial responsibility (failing to keep your insurance up to date TXTRC 601.191) and driving without a valid license – driving while license invalid (DWLI under TXTRC 521.457). Fighting Texas traffic tickets can help keep your driving record clean, or at the very least, minimize the effect on your record. Insurance companies take note of your driving record too. This is the reason why people with more tickets generally have higher insurance rates.

All three tickets are usually Class C misdemeanors in Texas. These are the lowest level offenses. Usually you’ll receive a ticket from a police officer and be on your way with a promise to appear in court. You want to appear in Court on or before your Court date. At your appearance, don’t forget to always request a jury trial and always plead NOT GUILTY.  If you don’t appear, a warrant will usually be issued for your arrest. This means that the next time you’re stopped, the police may arrest you even if it’s only for another traffic violation. Here is an example of a DPS Traffic ticket: Fighting a Texas Traffic Ticket

Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Texas

First, let’s talk about fighting a speeding ticket under TXTRC 545.351 in Texas. Just to be clear – yes, you can request a jury trial for a speeding ticket in Texas. However, speeding tickets are easy to prove from the prosecutor’s perspective. A speeding offense, depending on how many miles per hour over you were, can be a hefty fine. For example, in Austin, there is a $10 charge per MPH over the posted limit plus $105.10 due in court costs.

Click here to see the breakdown of the fines+Court costs in Austin.

Click here to see the breakdown of fines+Court Costs in Williamson County (Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park etc…)

Usually clients will want to take defensive driving to have the ticket dismissed. To be elgible for a dismissal, the following must NOT apply:

  • Speeding tickets for more than 25 MPH over the posted speed limit.
  • Speeding at 95 MPH or more.
  • Traffic violations committed by commercial drivers.
  • Passing a school bus.
  • Serious traffic violations.
  • Failing to provide help and information after being involved in an accident.
  • Traffic offenses committed in a construction zone (in the presence of construction workers).
  • You’ve completed a court-order defensive driving course within the last 12 months before receiving your ticket.

After the driver’s safety course has been completed, you will need to provide proof to the prosecutor. Once costs have been paid and the course has been completed, the speeding charge will be dismissed.

Fighting a Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility (No Insurance) Ticket

A first offense for letting the insurance lapse on your car is a fine between $175 and $350 under TXTRC 601.191. For costs please see the following:

Click here to see the breakdown of the fines+Court costs in Austin.

Click here to see the breakdown of fines+Court Costs in Williamson County (Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park etc…)

If you received a ticket for “Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility” is the legal term for not carrying liability insurance on your motor vehicle. Your insurance may have lapsed for a variety of reasons. Non-payment of insurance and switching over policies are the two biggest reasons for potential lapse. If you had insurance coverage in place the day you were pulled over and ticketed, but your insurance card wasn’t available at the time to present to the officer, you are eligible for a dismissal if you bring your proof of coverage to Court. Under the law, proof that your vehicle was insured at the time you received the ticket from the police is a defense to this charge.

Driving While License Invalid (Driving With a Suspended license)

Driving while license invalid (TXTRC 521.457) can fall under two categories for fines/punishment. The first offense is a Class C misdemeanor and the second offense is a Class B misdemeanor (6 months of Jail and/or $2,000 fine). Often there is some underlying reason why your license was suspended/deemed invalid in the first place. The most common issues are unpaid or unresolved traffic tickets from prior offenses or failure to pay child support. Even more common – people “lose” their tickets and forget which county they got them in. This can be an administrative nightmare trying to track them down. You may consider requesting your driving record from DPS to see when and where you received your ticket.

Click here to see the breakdown of the fines+Court costs in Austin.

Click here to see the breakdown of fines+Court Costs in Williamson County (Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park etc…)

One of the easiest ways to clear up a DWLI is to take care of the underlying problems. If you pay off the other violations and get current on your child support, a prosecutor is much more likely to defer or dismiss the DWLI charge against you. To have your license reinstated, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee to DPS and provide proof of insurance in a document called an SR-22. You can request and SR-22 from your insurance company. It is a special document which shows proof of insurance beyond what is normally required under the law. The sooner you bring in the necessary documents to Court showing you’re paid up in full, the sooner your case will be resolved.

Dealing with traffic tickets can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be impossible. If you have the time and/or the money, traffic tickets may be appealed to the County Court so long as a bond is paid to the Justice of the Peace/Municipal Court where the violations originated.

Fighting Texas traffic tickets can minimize the affect on your driving record. Points on your record and more convictions add up to higher costs in fines, fees, and insurance. If you keep these tips in mind, the most common traffic tickets can be resolved as painlessly as possible.

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