Anyone who has faced an expensive Texas traffic citation has wondered just where does that money go? And how do all the extra fines, fees and penalties add up so quickly? Are traffic tickets simply revenue producers? For anyone who has had to break the bank for a traffic offense, understanding the breakdown of the true cost of a traffic ticket can shed light on the best method of dealing with tickets when they arise.
The Cost of Traffic Violations in Texas
Texas traffic tickets can be expensive, both in direct and indirect costs. A ticket for not having insurance could incur penalties, charges for late payment and contribute to increased insurance rates. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will also issue surcharges for driving record points and driving convictions. Under the Driver Responsibility Program, the DPS assesses the surcharges annually until the points drop off your record or for three years for a conviction. You must pay the surcharges to keep your license valid.
For example, you could have to pay a ticket of between $175 and $350 if the court convicts you of not having insurance. Add on another $260 per year for three years in DPS surcharges ($780), and that simple ticket will end up costing you $955 to $1,130 in fines alone, not to mention the increase in insurance rates you’ll face.
You’re Not Done Yet
Paying a traffic ticket doesn’t mean you’re done covering costs. By paying a traffic ticket, you are admitting guilt. The offense will go on your driving record and could count against you the next time you find yourself in traffic court. The same applies if you want to “sit out” your ticket by serving jail time instead of paying the fine.
When you consider these numerous factors, it’s easy to see why fighting your traffic ticket is often the most cost-effective way to deal with it.
Pay or Fight?
In reality, municipalities don’t profit as much as you’d think from traffic tickets. A lot of that money leaves the court’s hands as soon as you pay your ticket, headed directly to State government. Recent controversy over the use of highly lucrative red light cameras highlights this fact. For example, the city of Denton’s red light camera program netted only $668,000 from ticket revenues of $2.2 million after paying the State of Texas and the manufacturer of the red light camera technology, Redflex.
With only a fraction of your ticket cost going to funding for transportation improvements, fighting your ticket makes even more sense. You just have 20 business days after being issued the ticket to decide whether to pay (and admit guilt) or fight it. The good news is reviewing your case with a seasoned Dallas traffic ticket attorney can help alleviate some of your concerns. An attorney can go over the facts and circumstances of your offense and advise you on whether paying the ticket is wise. In many cases, it is a better investment of your time and money to contest the ticket. A clean driving record is worth protecting, especially in the State of Texas.
If you want to fight your ticket and protect your license in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to protect your license and keep your driving record clear. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.