traffic ticket

Getting pulled over and getting a ticket can leave you feeling guilty and uneasy, especially if you have never been pulled over before. You may be wondering what you should do after your ticket, whether you should contest it, how much it will cost, or what other implications will it have on your driving record. In this blog, we will discuss all of these common questions you may have after your first Texas traffic ticket.

Types of Citations

Depending on the offense, there are generally two types of citations you can receive in Texas; Minor and Major citations.

  1. Minor Citations: these offenses are things like parking tickets, speeding, failure to yield, not using a seatbelt, or using your phone while driving. These tickets usually range from $20 – $300.
  2. Major Citations: these offenses are much more serious than minor offenses and some could even be criminal acts called Class C Misdemeanors. An example of this would be a hit-and-run while under the influence. The punishments for major citations range from hefty fines to the possibility of prison time. 

Know Your Options

In this example, let’s say the offense was running a stop sign. There are three courses of action you can take after your ticket. You can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest (nolo contender). If you plead guilty or no contest, you are essentially saying you admit to running the stop sign. Your options are now to either pay the fine and have the offense go onto your driving record or you can request for the ticket to get dismissed by taking a defensive driving course that has been state-approved.

If you choose to plead not guilty, you have the right to a court hearing with the option of employing a Texas lawyer to help defend you and prove why the ticket was inaccurately given. The judge will then ultimately decide if you will need to pay the fine and other punishments you may be facing or if the ticket will be dismissed. 

Can My Ticket Be Dismissed?

There are a few different factors you may want to consider before choosing to plead not guilty to your ticket. Depending on the violation, there could be additional violations that coincide with the initial offense. In the running a stop sign example, some other violations could be:

  • Driving without a license 
  • Driving without proof of insurance
  • Outdated car registration

It’s also important to note that certain violations, such as speeding, have certain limitations for being dismissed. In Texas, a speeding ticket cannot be dismissed if you were driving 25 mph or more over the speed limit, driving faster than 95 mph, or speeding in a school or construction zone. If the violations were under these limits and you had a clean driving record, the likelihood of the case being dismissed is higher.

Take a Safety Driving Course

In order to have your minor offense dismissed, you will need to complete a state-approved Texas Driver Safety Course. This defensive driving course needs to be completed within 90 days after the dismissal request is made and a certificate of completion must be submitted to the court to prevent any additional complications. The benefits of taking this course are that you will avoid any negative marks on your driving record and avoid insurance increases.

Keep Texas Roads Safe

Defensive driving safety courses, while not the most fun activity, can be very beneficial in improving driving safety. These courses can remind us of the importance of following traffic signals and help us prevent car accidents on Texas roads. Not only do they improve road safety they also ensure you keep a clean driving record and save you money.

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