A traffic ticket lawyer can get your St. Louis speeding ticket reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation to avoid points being added to your driving record and an increase in your car insurance rates.
Don’t Plead Guilty to Speeding in St. Louis
If you plead guilty to speeding in St. Louis, points will be added to your driving record, and your car insurance rates may increase.
Instead of pleading guilty, you can hire a traffic law attorney to represent you. Your attorney will negotiate a plea bargain deal with the Prosecutor to get your ticket reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation such as “Illegal Parking.” The Prosecutor will require you to pay fine that is slightly higher than the original fine, plus court costs. You won’t have to appear in court, and the court will give you at least 30 days to pay the fine and court costs.
As soon as the court receives your payment, your ticket will be reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation. This means no points will be added to your driving record, and your insurance company will never know you got the ticket.
Too Many Points on Your Driving Record Will Cause Your License to be Suspended
When you receive a speeding ticket, it is tempting to just pay the fine and forget about it. However, if you pay the fine, that means you are pleading guilty to speeding. That guilty plea will cause points to be added to your driving record and may also cause your car insurance rates to increase.
For a typical speeding ticket issued by a Missouri State Trooper, 3 points are added to your driving record. For “Driving Without Insurance,” 4 points are added. Standard traffic violations such as running a stop sign or improperly changing lanes are typically 2-point violations.
If you accumulate 8 points on your Missouri driving record within 18 months, your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days (if it’s your first suspension). Your license will be revoked for 1 year if you accumulate 12 points within 12 months.
You Can Change Your Mind After Pleading Guilty to a St. Louis Speeding Ticket
Many people plead guilty and pay the fine for a speeding ticket and later wish they could change their mind. An experienced traffic law attorney can help you by withdrawing your guilty plea and getting your ticket reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation that won’t affect your driving record or car insurance rates.
It is much easier to withdraw your guilty plea if you 1) did not have an attorney representing you when you pleaded guilty, and 2) not much time has passed since your guilty plea.
If you have pleaded guilty and want to withdraw your plea, consult an experienced attorney to get a price quote for legal representation and an estimate of the fines and court costs you will pay.
How to Remove Points From Your Driving Record After Pleading Guilty to a Speeding Ticket
If your ticket was issued in a county where the Prosecutor won’t reduce your ticket to a non-moving, no-point violation, you may be able to take the Missouri Driver Improvement Program (DIP) to remove the points from your driving record.
You are eligible to take the DIP class if you have not taken it within the past 3 years. You are not eligible to take the DIP class if you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or if the traffic violation was committed while driving a commercial motor vehicle. You must obtain the judge’s permission to take the DIP class, and you must complete the DIP class within 60 days after pleading guilty.
Read my previous blog post “Missouri Driving School Removes Points From Record” for more information about the Missouri DIP class.
PLEASE NOTE: If you complete the DIP class, points will be removed from your Missouri driving record, but the speeding conviction will still show up on your driving record, and your insurance company may increase your rates.
For more information, read my previous blog post “How to Get a Speeding Ticket Reduced to a Non-Moving Violation in Missouri.”
To get your St. Louis speeding ticket reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation that won’t affect your driving record or insurance rates, call traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a price quote and estimate of your fine and court costs. Or email Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call St. Louis traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers today at (314) 724-5059 if you want to fight your Missouri speeding ticket or other traffic violation.
Getting a Speeding Ticket “Fixed” Keeps Points Off Your License
You can hire a speeding ticket lawyer to get your Missouri ticket amended to a non-moving, no-point violation that won’t affect your driving record or insurance rates. This is sometimes called getting a ticket “fixed.”
If you decide to plead guilty instead of getting your ticket fixed, points will be added to your driving record and your insurance rates may increase.
How Many Points Are Added to Your Driving Record for Traffic Tickets?
Here are some examples of typical moving violations in Missouri and the number of points added to your driving record for each:
- Speeding ticket (municipal violation) = 2 points
- Speeding ticket (state violation) = 3 points
- Driving Without a License = 2 points (for first offense)
- Driving While Suspended = 12 points
- Driving With No Insurance = 4 points
- Driving While Intoxicated = 8 points (for first offense)
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident = 12 points (state violation; 6 points if county or municipal)
Your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days (if it’s your first suspension) if you accumulate 8 points within 18 months. Your license will be revoked for 1 year if you accumulate 12 points within 12 months.
Click here for a full list of Missouri traffic violation points.
Getting a Speeding Ticket “Fixed” Prevents Car Insurance Rates From Increasing
Pleading guilty to a moving violation causes points to be added to your driving record. In addition to increasing the risk that your license will be suspended or revoked, points may cause your car insurance rates to increase.
Your insurance company reviews your driving record every time your car insurance policy is up for renewal, or when you buy a new car. At that point, your insurance company may increase your rates if they see any moving violations on your driving record.
How Much Does it Cost to Fight a Speeding Ticket?
The cost to hire a speeding ticket lawyer will depend on what specific traffic violation you have been charged with and which court your case is being prosecuted in.
In general, you may find that traffic ticket lawyers charge less than other types of attorneys to represent someone in court for speeding tickets.
An experienced traffic law attorney will do the following:
- Give you a price quote over the phone,
- Tell you whether they can get your speeding ticket amended to “Illegal Parking,” and
- Give you an estimate of the fine and court costs you will have to pay to the court.
Getting a Speeding Ticket Fixed is More Expensive Than Pleading Guilty
Almost all Missouri courts charge a fine that is higher than the original fine, plus court costs, in exchange for amending speeding tickets to non-moving violations. So, you will pay more to get a speeding ticket amended to a non-moving, no-point violation, but your driving record and car insurance rates won’t be affected.
No Court Appearance Required for Most Speeding Tickets
If you hire an attorney to fight your speeding ticket, you won’t have to appear in court. Your attorney will send you the court paperwork stating what your ticket has been amended to (such as “Illegal Parking”), the amount of the fine and court costs, and your payment due date.
You will then be responsible for paying the fine and court costs to the court by the due date. Most courts give defendants at least 30 days to pay the fine and court costs.
How to Find a Lawyer to Fight Your Speeding Ticket
Hire an experienced traffic law attorney to fight your speeding ticket. You can find an attorney online by Googling “Speeding Ticket Lawyer” or “Traffic Law Attorney” and include the name of the city or county in which you received the ticket, such as “St. Louis Traffic Law Attorney” or “St. Ann Speeding Ticket Lawyer.”
You can also search for a speeding ticket lawyer on legal websites such as AVVO, where you can read client reviews of attorneys and see attorneys’ answers to legal questions.
What to Do If You Already Pleaded Guilty & Want to Change Your Plea
If you have already pleaded guilty to a speeding ticket, it may not be too late to change your plea and get your ticket amended to a non-moving violation. See my previous blog post about How to Withdraw Your Guilty Plea.
To get your Missouri speeding ticket or other traffic violation amended to a non-moving, no-point violation, call St. Louis traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 to get a price quote for legal representation. Or email Andrea at email@example.com
St. Ann Municipal Court in St. Ann, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis) will soon begin issuing warrants against the license plates of vehicles ticketed for red light camera violations if the vehicle owners fail to pay the fines. The vehicle will be seized and whoever is driving at the time will have to call a friend (or a taxi) to pick them up at the police station. So, before you borrow a car from a friend, you might want to confirm that they have paid any fines for red light camera tickets in St. Ann, Missouri.
Many St. Louis area municipalities have installed red light cameras, but most do not issue arrest warrants for unpaid fines. If you fail to pay the fine for a red light camera ticket in most courts in the St. Louis area, you will probably receive a demand for payment from a debt collection agency or law firm. For now, the laws allowing red light camera tickets have been upheld. See this blog post about the Missouri Court of Appeals’ recent decision to uphold a red light camera ordinance in Creve Coeur, Missouri.
A Missouri red light camera ticket is essentially a very expensive parking ticket because it is a non-moving, no-point infraction. If a vehicle enters an intersection when the traffic light is red, the red light cameras take a photograph of the vehicle and the vehicle’s license plate. Then a ticket for a red light camera violation is issued against the vehicle and is mailed to the owner of the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle is responsible for paying the $100 fine, regardless of who was driving the vehicle at the time the violation occurred.
For more information, see my previous blog post about red light camera tickets in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Los Angeles City Council voted recently to shut down its red light cameras because the traffic enforcement program is losing $1.5 million per year as a result of vehicle owners’ refusal to pay the fines—and the courts’ refusal to pursue those who don’t pay the fines. In addition, the courts ruled that the red light camera tickets in the city of Los Angeles were unenforceable because there were no live witnesses who could testify against the defendants. Houston, Texas has gotten rid of its red light cameras and nine other states have banned them.
In St. Louis, Missouri, only about half of red light camera ticket fines are being paid; vehicle owners are either ignoring the tickets or are fighting them in court. Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city in the U.S., so if L.A. has been forced to shut down its red light cameras because it is unable to make drivers pay up, could this foreshadow the beginning of the end for St. Louis red light cameras?
Red Light Cameras Are a Source of Revenue for St. Louis Area Municipalities
The city of St. Louis reportedly has received $3 million per year in revenue from red light camera tickets since the cameras were installed in 2007. The city of Ellisville, Missouri nets about $200,000 per year from red light camera fines, and Creve Coeur made a profit of $50,000 from red light camera ticket fines in fiscal year 2010 after paying administrative costs.
St. Louis City Judge Issues Preliminary Ruling That Red Light Camera Tickets Are Invalid
In late May 2011, St. Louis City Circuit Court Judge Mark Neill issued a preliminary ruling stating that St. Louis City red light camera tickets are invalid in the absence of enabling statues from the state legislature. The judge’s ruling was in response to a class-action lawsuit filed against the city in 2009 by three vehicle owners who received red light camera tickets and claimed they were not driving their vehicles at the time the tickets were issued. The preliminary ruling is not binding at this point so, for now, red light camera tickets will continue to be issued in St. Louis City.
If You Refuse to Pay a St. Louis Red Light Camera Ticket, the Consequences May Be Worse Than the $100 Fine
Many St. Louis drivers are tempted to refuse to pay the $100 fine for the “Photo Violation” or “Red Light Camera Ticket” they receive in the mail, but if you do, you may run the risk that the court will issue a warrant for your arrest and turn your case over to a law firm for collection of the debt.
If You Refuse to Pay the Fine, the Court May Eventually Find You
Some St. Louis area courts such as Creve Coeur, Wentzville, and St. Peters claim they will issue arrest warrants for unpaid red light camera tickets. St. Louis City sends all unpaid parking and speeding tickets to a debt collection law firm who pursues the vehicle owners for the unpaid fines. I have not heard of any arrest warrants being issued in the St. Louis area because of failure to pay a red light camera ticket, but I suspect it could happen if you accumulate enough unpaid tickets.
Over 180,000 Los Angeles citizens have received red light camera tickets since the traffic enforcement program started there in 2004, and 65,000 of those tickets remain unpaid. If a Los Angeles vehicle owner refused to pay a red light camera ticket fine, which could amount to as much as $500, the Los Angeles County Superior Court merely sent the unpaid ticket to a county collections department that issued a warning. If the vehicle owner still refused to pay the fine, there was no adverse impact on that person’s credit, driving record, or insurance.
Is It Worth It to Fight Your Red Light Camera Ticket?
Some red light cameras capture a photo of the driver’s face, in addition to the license plate. If the camera doesn’t get a photo of your face, you have a better shot at fighting the ticket. However, it will likely cost a lot more than $100 (the amount of a St. Louis red light camera ticket fine) to hire an attorney to represent you in court. Since the ticket is a non-moving violation and no points are added to your driving record, many St. Louis drivers choose to pay the $100 fine instead of spending additional time and money to fight it in court.
Very Expensive Parking Ticket
You may be thinking, “How is the court going to prove it was me driving the car?” Unfortunately, the red light camera ordinances are written in such a way that the ticket is issued against your car, not you personally. So it doesn’t matter who was driving your car because it’s basically just a very expensive parking ticket. By way of some pretty creative ordinance-drafting, a red light camera ticket is not considered a moving violation, so the prosecuting attorney doesn’t have to prove you were the driver.
Many Argue That Red Light Camera Ticket Laws Are Unconstitutional
Many attorneys argue that red light camera ticket laws are unconstitutional because the registered owner of the vehicle is presumed guilty until proven innocent. The owner is presumed to be the person driving the car when it is photographed running a red light, so the ticket is mailed to the owner. Then the owner must either pay the fine or go to court to prove he is innocent, rather than requiring the prosecutor to prove he is guilty.
Vehicle Owner is Forced to Turn In Family and Friends
Keep in mind that, if you try to fight a red light camera ticket by claiming you were not driving your car at the time the ticket was issued, the court may require you to submit information stating who has permission to drive your vehicle so the court can identify (and pursue) the person who was driving your car at the time the violation occurred.
BOTTOM LINE: For now, red light camera tickets are still being issued in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Depending on which municipal court issued the red light camera ticket and how many unpaid tickets you have, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest if you fail to pay the fine and may turn your case over to a law firm for collection of the debt.
Want more information regarding Missouri traffic law? View our traffic law resources page for links to information regarding Missouri speeding tickets, points, Missouri driver’s licenses, courts, and other traffic-related issues.
“If the police officer didn’t sign my speeding ticket, do I still have to pay it?”
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the short answer is yes. If a police officer pulls you over and gives you a speeding ticket in Missouri but doesn’t sign the ticket, it is possible that the ticket is not valid at the time because it is not signed, but this may not matter later at trial if the police officer: 1) signs the ticket sometime before the beginning of the trial, and 2) appears in court to testify about what he observed (you driving like a bat out of hell on the wrong side of the road, for example).