Interviewer: How defensible are these tickets? It sounds like the super speeder ticket is easy to get, very serious and definitely needs an attorney. How do you defend these tickets for people?
Freddy: To resolve a super speeder ticket, you definitely need an attorney because it’s going to cost you less than doing it by yourself. That’s just true.
For a ticket that’s 9 miles or under the speed limit, you probably don’t need an attorney unless you just don’t want to come to court that day. You can call an attorney or an attorney will do the case for you.
Most of the time, it’s worth retaining an attorney because court can be all day long, and takes up most of your day. You have to come there. You don’t know what your defense is, what need to say, whereas, if you had a ticket that is 11 miles over the speed limit, then you can call an attorney, the attorney can negotiate for you, go to court on your behalf, do all the work for you and they may not charge you more than a few hundred dollars for that.
Retaining an Attorney to Defend Traffic Offenses Is Cost and Time Effective
They may charge you $200.00 or $300.00 for that. So, it makes more sense and is a better use of your time to hire an attorney. This is especially true if you receive an out-of-state ticket. For example, especially if you live in, say, Virginia or Maryland and you happen to catch a ticket in South Carolina, on your way to Myrtle Beach, for your vacation. You want to get a lawyer for that. It’s not worth your time to come back.
Are Traffic Offenses Defensible?
Interviewer: Are these cases defensible? What do you attack to try to get either the points taken off or the license suspension waived? I mean how do you plan your defense in these cases?
Establishing Relationships with the Court Can Assist in Mitigating Penalties
Freddy: Usually, you don’t have to attack them much in a speeding case. This is true because if you’re 11 miles over the speed limit and I want the officer to reduce the infraction to 9 miles and under the speed limit, and get you down to a two-point ticket from a four-point ticket, it doesn’t make sense. Reducing the points, by the way, will save you thousands of dollars in insurance over a period of time. Generally, all I’ll have to do really is ask the officer if he would have an objection if I request that reduction to the judge.
The Reliability of Radar and Laser Guns
Interviewer: Do you ever run into calibration issues with the radar guns or the laser?
Freddy: Yes. But usually that’s systematic. Usually what we’ll see is that a particular officer will always write high ticket and on court date, they have seven of these very high tickets during this time. That’s going to be unusual because usually people aren’t speeding like that in groups, all going15 miles or over.
At that level, you would check the calibration of the systems that they’re using. You would check the laser gun or ask to check the radar guns. You asked to check that because it may be that the officer had set it too high and it’s actually charging people improperly. Usually you can see that. It becomes a systematic problem that you see.
How Can Moving Violations Increase Your Auto Insurance Rates?
Interviewer: In general, for traveling offenses, not only do you have a ticket costs but, in certain circumstances, you may have a license suspension and, once you get points on your license, you’re going to have insurance consequences. How much have you seen insurance increase for people and for how long, when they get a moving violation, on average?
Freddy: If you get a high-level charge like DUI, you’re going to pay $4,000 more a year, minimum, plus whatever your insurance premium is, for a minimum of three years. For three years, that totals $12,000, plus your premium.
That’s the increase you’re going to see with a DUI. A DUI will also cost you about $20,000 in costs for three years plus loss of your driver’s license for a year and a permanent criminal record. Also, you may lose scholarships, grants, loans and your job. DUI is serious.
Now, go to the other side of the equation, if you have a reckless driving for example, that’s a six-point ticket. Your insurance may increase by thousands of dollars over a three-year term but, generally, it’s about $4,000 or $5,000 a three-year term and, as the years go by, you get two points back, pretty much each year.
That’s generally the standard; your infraction is reduced by two points, each year. It varies from what stage your license is in. Generally about 2 to 4 points per state, per year, you get back. That decreases your total insurance but you’re going to pay thousands more just for a ticket.
Interviewer: Well, that leads right into the point systems. South Carolina has a point system. How does it work in general? You said with six points you can lose your license but at what time period?
Freddy: You start out with a maximum of 12 points or, essentially, it almost works in reverse. You start out with no points when you get your license and then as you pick up infractions, you pick up points. For example, if you receive a speeding ticket that was for driving 10 miles over the limit, that’s a four-point ticket. Then, two years later you have a reckless driving, that’s a six-point ticket.
Now, you’ve got 10 points against your license and at 12 points, you lose your license. You straight out lose it. So, if you have 10 points, you pay high insurance but you’re still insurable but if you have 12 points, you’re going to lose your license.
Now, there is something you can do to reduce your points. You can only do it one-time, every three years. The one-time reduction is for attending driver’s license point school or a defensive driving course. It’s a very important point.
Go on a weekend and they’re going to tell you about the dangers of driving fast, drinking and driving and things like that. At the conclusion of it, they’ll give you a certificate that says you completed it, that you can take to the DMV. But remember, you can only do that class one-time, every three years.
Interviewer: You start out with zero points and as you get traffic infractions, you get points on your license but every year, in South Carolina, how many points fall off naturally anyway?
Freddy: Two to 4 points, depending on the infraction.
How Are Points Accrued and Taken Off Your Record?
Interviewer: If you get a speeding ticket and you get, let’s say, four points a year after that, either all those points will go away or part of them. It’s like a living, changing thing, your license, how many points you get, how many fall off and when.
Freddy: That’s right. It goes by the date that it was posted from the DMV. You might’ve got a ticket this month and may have attended DMV school a month or two later. It will go by that date. You have to be very cognizant of what the dates are.
Checking Your Driving Record for Points
Interviewer: Is there any way for people to check their license and their points without alerting their insurance company?
Freddy: The DMV will provide you with a traffic report online. I think it’s $25.00 for it and it’s relatively simple. You just go online to your DMV, look for where you can request a report, request the report, pay the fine online and they give it to you right then on the spot. You can also get a history of your driving record from the main central office in Columbia.
By Freddy Woods