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Choosing A Better Lawyer

When you are hurt in a car accident, there are a lot of things that run through your mind, but most people aren't focused on suing the other driver or their own insurance company. Unfortunately, because of the way the world works, most people find that they are given far less of a settlement than they deserve, especially if the accident wasn't their fault. I wanted to create a blog all about choosing a better accident and personal injury attorney, so that you can prevent longterm financial ramifications from your accident. I know that a lot of these tips helped me along my journey.



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Choosing A Better Lawyer

What Are Traffic Points And How Can They Affect Your Driving Record?

by Willard Chambers

You may think that if you aren't getting DUIs or DWIs that your driving record is safe. However, the police force and driver's licensing authority in your state can hit you with penalty points for traffic violations. For instance, philly.com says that Philadelphia is cracking down on people who are blocking bus stops with their cars. They've added cameras on the buses so that the drivers can take pictures of the violators' vehicles, thus ensuring they get hit with traffic points. So even if you think that your record is spotless, you may be surprised how easily your driving record can be affected.

What other violations could you be hit with?

Each state has its own point system; some are stricter than others. For instance, Colorado is fairly lenient and does not give points to minor offenses, like speeding. A state like Florida is much more stringent and gives out points for

  • Speeding
  • Improperly changing lanes
  • Littering out the car window
  • Not restraining your child properly
  • Violating curfew (if you are a driver under 17)
  • Passing a school bus
  • Running a red light
  • Driving with an open container of alcohol—even if it's the passenger's drink

Point systems rank a single offense between 2 to 6 points depending on its severity. If you gather points quickly in succession, your driving record will be more negatively affected than if you gradually accumulate them over the years. And even if you have just one or two of these offenses, you not only rack up the points on your license, but you face penalties as well.

What are some penalties from these points?

Even though some of these traffic violations are minor compared to DUIs or hit-and-run accidents, you could still face hefty penalties if you accumulate points rapidly. A judge may require you to pay a fine or have your license suspended. First offenders may only have a month of suspension, but people with numerous points could be suspended from driving for a year.

While minor offenses may stay on your record for a few years, serious violations could remain as long as ten years! This is a problem because one or two extra traffic points can drastically increase your auto insurance premiums. Sometimes an insurer may not let you renew if they feel you are too high risk.

Can you remove traffic points?

Some states, like Alabama, keep your traffic points for as long as you live there. But other states are more forgiving. If you pay a fine quickly, you may not accumulate any points at all. Once your driver's license has been reinstated after suspension, points can come off if you've followed the judge's ruling.

You can remove points and lower your insurance premiums by also going to traffic school or by taking a defensive driving course. Be sure to ask your auto insurer about which courses will meet your policy's requirements.

Can you fight the traffic violation?

Yes. If you feel that you've been hit with unfair traffic points, it's a good idea to seek out a traffic attorney. He or she can let you know if you should just pay the fine or if you have a case. For instance, a common problem for people is turning right on a no-turn red light. Sometimes these lights aren't adequately labeled. Another example of an unfair traffic violation is if you run a red light to avoid harm to yourself or your vehicle due to other reckless drivers; sometimes cameras take pictures that are unclear and ticketing agencies get the wrong plates.

There are a number of factors that can make the traffic violation and points unfair. Your lawyer can help you obtain reduced charges. You may be able to get a reduced fine and have the points taken off your record. In the best-case scenario, you could have all of the charges dropped. Talk with a traffic attorney at firms like Wood & Rabil  LLP to learn more about your options.