If you get a Texas traffic citation, how can Janis get it off your record?
#1 – Deferred Adjudication. If you do not have a Commercial Driver’s License (“CDL”) You get probation (for 30 to 90 days, depending on the jurisdiction) and if you don’t get a ticket during that probationary period, the case against you is DROPPED & the ticket is DISMISSED. If you get a ticket while on probation, you “blow” your probation and the ticket goes on your record. In most courts, you pay the same fine whether you get a deferred or just pay your ticket. But, you have to get a lawyer to get you the deferred. You cannot get a deferred if you have a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”), or if you were going more than twenty (20) miles per hour over the speed limit. And, if you are under the age of 25, you will have to take Defensive Driving within the time that you are on your deferred probation. We can help you find the most pain-free defensive driving option!
#2 – Take Defensive Driving (“DD”). You can take DD once a year (every 12 months, not just once per calendar year). If you request DD within ten (10) days of the day you get the ticket, you are entitled to take DD. However, once you take DD, you can’t take it again for twelve (12) months so don’t use it for minor or cheap tickets. You also have to pay for the DD course and remember to mail in your certificate of completion. Your insurance MAY go down, though, if you take DD, so your parents will be happy!
“Points” for Traffic Violations
Points are assigned to moving violations, and are applied to drivers based on the type of offense and the time period in which the offense was committed. Points remain on the driver record for a period of three (3) years. Points are accumulated as follows:
- Three (3) points are assigned for a moving violation conviction in Texas or another state that resulted in an accident.
- Two (2) points are assigned for a moving violation conviction in Texas or another state.
Points are not assigned for speeding less than 10% over the speed limit (e.g., if you’re going 76 in a 70 mph speed zone, no points will apply), or for seat belt convictions.
Failing to secure a child in safety seat system if required is considered a moving violation. (It’s worth 2 points.)
The three year time period is calculated from the conviction dates, so it is a “rolling” three-year period.
A surcharge will be assessed when the driver accumulates six (6) or more points during a three-year period. The driver will pay a $100 surcharge for the first 6 points and $25 for each additional point. If you get a ticket dismissed by getting a deferred or by going to Defensive Driving, you get NO points for that ticket!
What Can You do if You Have a Commercial Driver’s License?
If you have a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”), you have very few options when trying to handle a ticket. The Texas legislature passed a law that says that you cannot get a deferred if you have a CDL. So, the most common way of getting rid of a ticket is not available to drivers who have CDLs.
One of our local (Panhandle) jurisdictions allows us to get a “pretrial diversion” for CDL drivers. Using that technique, you pay the cost of the fine & then you are placed on an informal “probation”. If you don’t get a ticket during the probationary period (usually 30 to 90 days & set by the court), then the court will dismiss the case against you. The ticket will not go on your record & you will not acquire any “points” on your record.
Another local jurisdiction will allow us to plead to a “failure to appear”. Using this technique, you pay a fine equivalent to the fine for the ticket. But, the court dismisses the ticket and you plead guilty to failing to appear to take care of the ticket. The failure to appear is a nonmoving violation. That means that it will not affect your driving record, you will not acquire any points, and your insurance will not go up.
Both of these techniques are only available if you hire an attorney to represent you. The jurisdictions do not offer these alternatives to a CDL driver who is not represented by an attorney.
While the two alternatives mentioned above are sometimes available, most jurisdictions across Texas refuse to work with us at all on CDL tickets. In that case, the only thing that a lawyer can do for you is to take the case to trial. The State may or may not be able to prove that you committed the offense. And, you may go to trial on a date that the officer who gave you citation is off work or otherwise busy. Likewise, if it is an accident, the other driver may not bother to show up to testify and the case may be dismissed.
If you have a CDL, you can call our office and we will check with the jurisdiction in order to find out if they will work with us on resolving your ticket. The call is free and Janis Alexander Cross & her staff will be happy to try to assist you!
This article is not intended to be legal advice and is not a substitute for legal representation by an attorney. You are encouraged to seek the advice of your own attorney to answer any specific legal questions you may have.