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Fighting Traffic Tickets in Los Angeles

Do not let the fact that a traffic violation puts only one or two points on your California driving license fool you. That may not seem like much, but the number of points only tell half the story. What happens with those points, how they get applied and how long they stay on your record tell the part of the story that really matters. Not only are points impossible to remove once on your license, they chase your driving record with blue lights flashing for years. Those points can raise your insurance rates, and even keep you from getting jobs. The only way to control that is to avoid points on your license altogether, even if you must fight traffic tickets.

Your first line of defense is safe driving even when out of state. If you get a ticket or have an accident in another state, California can still assess points on your license. To show how few points it takes to cramp your style and thin down your wallet, consider that it only takes four points on your license in a year to get classified as a negligent operator. Once so designated, you could get your license suspended or revoked. However, that is not four points a year, just within one year. The same law allows just six points in two years, and eight points in three years.

Consider how often motorists in Los Angeles alone make unpermitted U-turns, exceed local speed limits or drive faster than 70 miles per hour. Each of these offenses puts one point on your license. Citations for each of them during one year will not cost your driving privileges. However, if during the next year you get cited for overloading a vehicle, a child not wearing a seatbelt and failure to dim your lights, which makes six points in two years. That’s enough for driving probation or to get your license suspended or revoked. Such infractions are so common that it is no wonder so many people fight traffic tickets.

Two point violations include things most people consider criminal, such as driving on the wrong side of a divided highway, hit and run, and evading a police officer. Such driving might get someone eight points all in one incident. Two point violations also include serious infractions that many impetuous youth do at some time or another, such racing, exceeding 100 miles per hour or driving after drinking even a little since drinking at all is illegal for minors. If you are a minor you especially need to avoid points on your license because they can keep your driving privileges from advancing later.

In addition to risking your license, allowing points on it costs more than any fines or court costs. Points on your license raise your insurance rates. This becomes a long-term expense. In California, points stay on your license at least three years, and violations as serious as DUIs can follow you for 10 years. How much they raise your monthly premium depends on your personal circumstances, your insurance company, and other factors in your record. However, think about how much you already pay each month and imagine that increased by even 10 or 15 percent. Multiply that by 36 (for three year persistent points) or 120 (for 10 year persistent points).

That really adds up even for someone with a previously good driving record. For commercial drivers, the expense magnifies since points can mean finding another job in a volatile market. That’s why, once you have a ticket, hiring an attorney to avoid points on your license counts as an investment. It usually prevents greater long-term loss than the short-term cost of fighting traffic tickets ineffectively.

An attorney knows how to fight traffic tickets in court. An attorney will do everything possible to get a ticket dismissed altogether. Even when that cannot be done, they can still help avoid points on your license. Sometimes, they can keep points off altogether and sometimes, they can get the points reduced. Whichever happens, it leaves you better off than having more points haunting you for three to 10 years. Avoiding points on your California license saves money, could save your job and definitely saves your reputation.