Hiring a traffic attorney to fix a speeding ticket in Missouri is an easy process and it is the smart thing to do to keep your record clean. All you have to do is call a lawyer, give them your ticket information, arrange payment for the lawyer's fees, and they will take over from there.
Once you hire a lawyer, they will let the prosecutor know they are handling your case and they will negotiate on your behalf. Normally, you will not have to go to court. After the lawyer negotiates an amendment to your ticket, they will let you know the outcome and what fines you owe the court.
The fines for an amended speeding ticket are slightly higher than if you just pay the ticket, but the amendment keeps points off of your driving record. This is very important. Keep reading for an explanation of why it is so important. I have also included some more details on exactly how the process works below. If you would like to hear it directly from an experienced traffic lawyer, feel free to give Ruth Beerup a call at 636-940-1111 for a free consultation. She will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Reasons to Hire a Lawyer for a Speeding Ticket
Keep Points Off Your Record
The Missouri Department of Revenue assigns points to a driver's record for speeding ticket violations. If you accumulate 8 points in an 18-month period you will get a 30-day suspension for the first time it happens. The next time it happens it will be a 60-day suspension, and the third and each subsequent time it will be for 90 days. 12 points in a 12-month period or 18 points in 24 months will result in a one-year revocation.
A speeding ticket can result in either 2 or 3 points on your record, depending on where it is filed. That may seem to give you a little bit of safety because you can get 3 or 4 tickets in 18 months before you are suspended. Unfortunately, it is possible to get multiple point violations at one time. Speeding and failure to maintain a single lane is popular, as is speeding and no turn signal. Either of those would result in 4 or 5 points, and two instances like that would result in a suspension.
For most drivers, a license suspension is not something they think about, until it happens. Once it happens, it is hard (and therefore expensive) to fix. That is why a lot of people choose to hire a traffic lawyer to fix their tickets before it becomes an issue. If you keep your record clean, you don't have to worry about the next ticket being the one that gets you suspended.
Keep Your Insurance Rates Low
Having speeding tickets on your record makes your insurance rates go up. I don't know the exact formulation, how much each ticket makes it go up, how many you can get before it is a problem, how often insurance companies look at driver records, etc., but I do know there is a correlation. I can't even tell you for sure that the cost of fixing one ticket will necessarily pay for itself by avoiding a rate hike, but, just like with points, there is a certain snowball effect that you definitely want to avoid.
Big picture, there are different kinds of insurance companies. Some take drivers with good records who are unlikely to have an accident, charge them reasonable rates, and even have some perks. Others take drivers with spotty records and charge them exorbitant rates because they have them over a barrel. You probably want to keep your record clean to qualify for the former.
Keep Your Employment Options Open
A lot of jobs nowadays require the use of either a company or personal vehicle, and keeping a clean driving record is important. Even if you don't drive for work, it is becoming more and more common for employers to run driving record checks as part of the hiring process. Having a bunch of speeding tickets on your record isn't a good look. It can be assumed that HR personnel don't think that having a couple of speeding tickets makes someone a bad person who should be shunned from polite company, but it could be a consideration when faced with two equally qualified applicants.
How It Works
Hire an Attorney
To get started on fixing your traffic ticket, you need to hire a lawyer. There are plenty advertising their services online. As a matter of fact, you are reading the blog of just such a lawyer. Make sure you talk to an attorney when you call. Really, you shouldn't take legal advice from anyone but a lawyer, and fixing a speeding ticket is a legal matter.
When you call a professional, like St. Charles traffic attorney Ruth Beerup, she will ask you some questions about the ticket and look at various sources online to make sure everything is covered. You would be surprised at how often people forget about previous unpaid tickets, or how often someone gets two or three tickets at one time for various infractions and they think the other tickets are duplicates of the speeding ticket. Once you agree to a price, the attorney can accept payment over the phone or you can pay in person.
The Attorney “Fixes” Your Ticket
When you hire an attorney to work on your ticket they will enter their appearance on your behalf. That means they will send documentation to the court indicating that they are representing you. You will not have to go to court except in rare instances where the speed is extremely high. The prosecuting attorney will review the paperwork and discuss an offer of amendment with your attorney. Most of the time this offer is reasonable, but when it is not your attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor to come to an agreement that suits all parties.
What the attorney is looking for is an amendment from a moving violation, speeding, to a non-moving violation like parking. This means no points will go on the driver's record, the whole point of this exercise. I said it above and I will repeat it here: keeping points off your record is important. I talk to a lot of people who find their license in jeopardy unexpectedly. Even if the points don't get you a suspension, having a bunch of speeding tickets on your record is a liability that can cost you in unforeseen ways. Getting a speeding ticket amended to a non-moving violation, which doesn't show up on your driving record, is just a smart way to play it safe.
You Pay Your Fine
If everything goes as planned, you can get your ticket amended to something like parking, and you will owe a fine to the court. This will not be a typical $10 parking ticket fine. The trade-off that the prosecutor makes when amending a ticket is that they will charge a slightly higher fine than a normal speeding ticket in exchange for keeping the points off your driver's record. This is generally between $200 and $250, up a little bit from the $150 to $200+ you would normally pay. At Beerup Law we send each client paperwork explaining their amendment, a form to submit to the court when paying, and we give a call explaining everything when the case is done.
Please keep in mind that this is only for tickets up to around 20 m.p.h. over. When speeds get above that, particularly if they exceed 100 m.p.h., the fines get heftier and there are other considerations. Usually, in addition to the fine, the court will require the driver to complete a safe driving course, usually online, and do some community service. There are a variety of ways to complete this community service like working for a local church, V.F.W., animal shelter, food bank, etc. This may sound like a lot, but some of these very high tickets carry the potential for jail time, believe it or not.
Getting a speeding ticket is an aggravation, but it is important to keep in mind that police and the courts have a responsibility to the public to maintain safe roads. They take this responsibility seriously and they want to get the attention of drivers who violate traffic laws. Hiring an attorney to deal with your speeding ticket is a good way to show that they have your attention and that you are choosing to act responsibly.
Getting a speeding ticket fixed is easy and can save you from a lot of hassle later on. If you need the assistance of an experienced traffic attorney with 25 years of knowledge working in all the courts in the St. Louis area, give Ruth Beerup a call at 636-940-1111. Consultations are always free, and she can answer any questions you have about keeping your record clean.