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Texas Court Records

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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Texas

Law enforcement officers issue traffic tickets in Texas indicating that a motorist or road user has violated traffic laws of the state. A traffic ticket is a paper notice and can be categorized as either a moving or non-moving violation. A moving violation refers to an offense committed by a vehicle driver while it is in motion. Examples of moving violation tickets are tailgating, exceeding the speed limit, running a stop sign, not using a seat belt, failing to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, driving without a valid license, and driving in a bus lane. A non-moving violation involves no motion of the vehicle. A common example is a parking violation, which is the act of parking an automobile in a restricted space or parking in an unauthorized manner.

If found guilty of violating a traffic law, it may constitute punishment such as a fine or point deduction. Penalty points are used in states such as Texas as an evaluation system for the cancellation or suspension of a person's driving license based on the number of points accumulated. Individuals issued a traffic ticket do not always have to pay fines or have points deducted. There is an option to sign up for driving school or contest a ticket if the motorist feels unfairly ticketed.

A traffic infraction is contested by a hearing in a court of law upon appropriate request. An attorney should be appointed for due representation and consultation during a court hearing. A jury trial may be ordered if a case involves criminal traffic violations where a motorist can plead not-guilty, guilty, or wish not to contend within ten to fifteen days. In judgments where the motorist was found guilty, a fine is imposed, coupled with a penalty concerning the Texas point system. If the traffic ticket is left unsolved, the motorist may face minor to severe consequences. Fines can be doubled, and the driver's license could end up getting suspended. In more severe cases, an arrest warrant may be issued and the offender may face jail time or community service, as ordered by Texas's judicial arm.

Records of traffic violations and other public records may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites are not limited geographically and their search engines are conveniently suited for searching specific or multiple records. To use a third-party search engine, interested parties usually are expected to provide:

  • The name of the subject of the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved

Third-party sites operate independently of government agencies. Thus, the accuracy and/or validity of these records cannot be guaranteed.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in Texas

In cases where motorists feel unfairly ticketed, they can contest the traffic ticket. Contesting a ticket involves a considerable investment of money and time, and it is essential to be sure about one's innocence before engaging in the action. Fighting a traffic ticket in Texas can be done by perusing the Texas Driver Handbook and the Texas Transportation Code. An individual may also hire a lawyer. By hiring a lawyer, the traffic law of the specific county may be assessed and used during the court hearing. If the court judgment favors the alleged motorist, a refund may be enacted or a reduction in fines. If the case is lost, a fine may be imposed.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Texas

After gathering valid information from the Texas traffic law, depending on the traffic offense committed, locate the local municipal court in the Texas district involved, which is provided on the ticket. The contact details are also on the ticket issued. The next step is to notify the court of one's stance by submitting a not-guilty plea. Submitting a not-guilty plea can be done in person or via mail. A hearing date is then selected by the court, where the accused motorist can argue his or her case before a judge.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

In situations where the motorist does not wish to engage in a traffic court hearing, they can take a driving course. However, specific terms of eligibility should be met. These terms state that the defendant should not have undergone a defensive driving course within the past 12 months, should have a commercial driver's license, and is not currently engaging in a defensive driving course for another traffic offense. A defensive driving course is applicable to minor driving offenses, and not other traffic violations such as:

  • No car insurance
  • Construction zone violations
  • Passing a school bus
  • Speed violation of more than 25 MPH over the posted speed limit

How do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Texas

After traffic violation or infraction has occurred and a traffic ticket is issued, a defendant can plead not guilty to reduce the fine of a traffic ticket by notifying the court. However, the notification should be sent to the court before the due date stated on the ticket. The court typically replies to this notice with a date to allow the offender to argue the case. In Texas, traffic offenders that cannot afford to pay the fine on time may request an extension, a waiver, or a payment plan to pay the fine in installments. Others may choose to pay off the fine by completing community service hours.

Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Texas

Per the Texas Transportation Code, the county court can dismiss a traffic ticket entirely based on certain conditions decided by the county court where the ticket was received. When the conditions are met, the individual may take the necessary steps for dismissal of the ticket, including:

  • Registration for a Texas online defensive driving course at a driving/traffic school licensed by the State of Texas is to be done by the offender.
  • Get a certified Texas driving record: Texas courts require a certified driving record, which should be obtained alongside the certificate of completion from the online Texas Defensive Driving course. The course should be completed within three months of registration.
  • Once completed, the digital certificate is available within seven days of completion. It is possible to have a physical copy delivered the second day or overnight to the valid address provided.
  • After acquiring both certificates, submit to the county court where the ticket was issued.
  • Within a month, the points and traffic ticket would have been removed from the individual's driving record.

Here are some factors that could make an individual ineligible to take part in the traffic ticket dismissal process:

  • If the individual has dismissed a traffic ticket within the last twelve months
  • If the person holds a Texas commercial driver's license
  • If the speeding ticket was for more than 25 MPH over the speed limit
  • If the offender does not plead "no contest"

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Texas

When a traffic ticket is issued, an individual can either plead guilty, plead not guilty, or plead no contest. With a guilty or no contest plea, it is easy to reach a settlement with the prosecutor and negotiate how to get lower fines or get points off a driving record by taking a Texas defensive driving class. The Texas Driver Responsibility Program assigns fines and points for infractions. Each infraction has two or three points attached, and once an individual is convicted of a traffic infraction, the points get added to the person's driving record for three years, starting from the date of conviction. The addition of points to driving records leads to increased insurance rates. The individual is required to pay a fine of $100 for the first six points and $25 for each additional point annually until the points are reduced.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Texas

Traffic ticket attorneys are important during negotiations to get a ticket dismissed, get a reduced fine on a ticket, and even when an individual believes they are innocent of the charge on the ticket. The attorney may be able to identify the defect in the ticket and create a strategy around it to get the case dismissed or offer proper legal advice to avoid the consequence of a ticket with the knowledge of the Texas traffic statutes.

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