HOUSTON TRAFFIC TICKET DEFENSE LAWYER
OUR LEGAL FEES START AT $50 PER VIOLATION.
If you have received a speeding ticket, or been cited for another traffic violation, you may be questioning whether it is worthwhile to bother fighting the charges. Sometimes it seems easier to simply pay the fines and move on with life. The fact is though, under the Texas point system, a conviction for a traffic ticket can cost you plenty - and these charges are frequently worth fighting.
When you are considering your options, come to The Hurd Law Firm in Houston, Texas. We provide free consultations for traffic violation cases - to ensure that you fully understand the value of fighting your traffic ticket and keeping your driving record clear.
Contact us today to discuss your legal concerns with an experienced defense lawyer. We defend against all types of traffic violations, including:
- Running a red light
- Failure to yield
- Driving without insurance
- Driving after suspension
- Reckless driving
- Illegal turns
- Drunk Driving (DWI/DUI)
Simple Traffic Tickets Can Have Long-Lasting Consequences
A speeding ticket with a reckless driving charge could lead to a two-year license suspension if you receive a second traffic offense within six months. To avoid this possibility, you must avoid the conviction for reckless driving - which means you must fight these allegations. Even basic traffic tickets may result in a significant increase in your car insurance rates. Simply paying a fine may seem like the easier option, but it is rarely in your best interest to do so.
Extensive Experience Handling A Wide Range of Criminal Matters
For multiple years, we have been providing skilled representation for a wide range of criminal offenses. Whether you are facing a simple speeding ticket or you want to appeal a conviction for drunk driving, we have the experience to effectively represent you.
Contact Our Offices for Your Free Consultation Today
Still debating whether or not you want to fight the traffic ticket? Contact us today to discuss your options with an experienced lawyer. During your free consultation, we can provide you with more specific information regarding your personal circumstances and your potential future consequences. Call us at 888-285-0844. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Hurd Law Firm represents clients charged with federal, state, and municipal crimes in the state of Texas.
Texas Now Has the Points System All New Taxes Based on Your Driving Record!!!
The Texas Transportation Code has a new Chapter following the 2003 Legislature in Austin. Chapter 708 of the Transportation Code is titled the "Driver Responsibility Program." You and your family will all notice these new taxes based on your driving record in the coming years. The Legislature refers to these new TAXES as SURCHARGES. The State of Texas began keeping track of points for all convictions after September 1, 2003.
CHAPTER 708, SUBCHAPTER B. SEC. 708.052.
ASSIGNMENT OF POINTS FOR CERTAIN CONVICTIONS.
(a) The driver's license of a person accumulates a point under this subchapter as of the date the department records a conviction of the person under Section 521.042 or other applicable law.
(b) For each conviction arising out of a separate transaction, the department shall assign points to a person's license as follows:
(1) two points for a moving violation of the traffic law of this state or another state that is not described by Subdivision (2); and
(2) three points for a moving violation of the traffic law of this state, another state, or a political subdivision of this or another state that resulted in an accident.
SEC. 708.053. ANNUAL SURCHARGE FOR POINTS.
Each year, the department shall assess a surcharge on the license of a person who has accumulated six or more points under this subchapter during the preceding 36-month period.
SEC. 708.054. SURGHARGE.
The amount of a surcharge under this chapter is $100 for the first six points and $25 for each additional point.
And the surcharge is paid each year for three years!!! And if you dont pay the surcharge, the Department of Public Safety will automatically suspend your drivers license.
Also Note: If you receive a single conviction of Driving While License Suspended or No Financial Responsibility (i.e. No Auto Liability Insurance), points dont matter; you owe a surcharge of $250 per year for three years. Driving with No Valid Operators License (No TDL) will also result in a surcharge of $100 per year for three years.
There’s a lot of confusion about the terms “deferred disposition” and “deferred adjudication” in Texas.
Deferred adjudication is a type of actual probation, for a Class B misdemeanor or higher charge, where the judge says (in legalese), “Based on your plea of No Contest or Guilty, I could find you guilty, but I’m not going to. I’m going to place you on probation, and if you jump through the hoops of probation, at the end of the case you will never be found guilty of the charge.”
To defer – to put off, or postpone. To adjudicate – in the criminal context it means to find you guilty. So when the judge places a defendant on deferred adjudication, he is postponing finding the person guilty, and will never find them guilty, if they successfully complete the terms of probation.
In Texas, that means a real, formal probation with a monthly visit to a probation officer, minimum community service hours, urinalysis for drugs and alcohol, fines, court costs and $62 per month probation fees.
Again, the major distinction here is that this is only for Class B and Class A misdemeanors, and felony charges in Texas. It’s not for Class C, that is, traffic ticket level offenses.
Deferred adjudications are not expungeable, but most are eligible for Motions of Non-Disclosure.
Deferred disposition is only for Class C charges, and is not a formal reporting probation. The theory is the same – that is, if you pay a (smaller) fine, usually take a class, and stay out of trouble, at the end of the deferral period you are not convicted of the offense.
There is no probation officer, or monthly meeting. I suppose you could say that you are on your own probation, but that’s it. Some clerk will pull your file at the end of the term, check to see that monies are paid, certificates for classes are turned in, and run a criminal background check to see that you did indeed stay out of trouble. Then the case is dismissed.
For Class C Assaults, Theft, Public Intoxication, Minor in Possession and similar non-traffic offenses, this is the same as agreeing to take defensive driving, pay a small fine, and not pick up any more traffic tickets to get a speeding ticket dismissed.
In a successfully completed deferred disposition, you are specifically by statute entitled to seek an expunction, not just the less complete sealing of records.
Part of this confusion is perpetuated by Class C prosecutors, and even some Municipal Court judges, who continually refer to this process as “deferred adjudication”. In fact, the two are very different. Defensive driving is one method of achieving deferred disposition with traffic violations.
DSC/DEFENSIVE DRIVING ELIGIBILITY:
You are not eligible to take DSC/MOTC if:
- You hold a Commercial Drivers License (CDL);
- You have taken a Court-ordered DSC for another ticket within one year from the date of this citation;
- You are charged with:
- 95 miles per hour or more;
- Speeding 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit;
- Passing a school bus;
- Committing a serious traffic violation;
- Failing to stop and provide information or render aid after an accident;
- Committing an offense in a construction zone when workers are present;
- You do not have a valid Texas Drivers License**
** (MILITARY EXEMPTION: Active military, their spouses and dependents).
You must check the eligibility criteria above to see if you are qualified for Mandatory DSC. You must wait at least ten (10) days after you are issued the citation to request DSC/MOTC. You must apply for Mandatory DSC/MOTC on or before your scheduled court date at any Court location or by mail.
Mandatory DSC/MOTC fees:
- Moving Violation: $110.10
- School Zone Moving Violation: $135.10
You may request discretionary DSC/MOTC if:
- You failed to request the mandatory DSC/MOTC on or before your arraignment date; -or-
- You have taken a mandatory DSC/MOTC within one year from the date of this citation
DISCRETIONARY DSC/MOTC FEES:
- Moving Violation: $150.10
- School Zone Moving Violation: $175.10
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS(FAQS)
What is a traffic ticket?
What is a traffic ticket really?
Why should you retain an attorney to fight your traffic ticket?
Does a speeding motorist have the right to see a radar gun?
Is speeding always speeding?
How can an attorney help me?
What outcomes are possible if I fight my ticket?
What is the appropriate court etiquette?
What is our refund policy?
FAQs about traffic tickets in general
What is a traffic ticket? Top
A traffic ticket is a citation or summons issued to a person by an authorized government official for breaking a motor vehicle law. The citation requires the accused person to appear before a judge or magistrate in court, but allows that person to remain free until the scheduled court date.
What is a traffic ticket really? Top
True, traffic laws were created as a safety measure, but over time they have become an increasingly lucrative revenue source for the government. Upon occasion it is the out-of-control motorist who is stopped, but all too often it is the housewife on the way to soccer practice taking a left on yellow, the university student returning home for a weekend visit following the flow of traffic, or the businessman fortunate enough to escape the gridlock of rush hour, only to be stopped by a police officer. In many cases, motorists are reasonably and safely driving when they become a tally in a monthly quota.
Why should you retain an attorney to fight your traffic ticket? Top
You should fight your ticket because you can. Many people think, “I was given a ticket. There is nothing I can do.” Most people do not fight their ticket and as a result police officers can continue to give tickets that may in some cases be unwarranted. Simply paying the ticket is an admission of guilt and results in the highest fine as well as a stain on your driving record. A mark on your driving record has several implications depending upon your driving history. A blemished driving record may result in auto insurance premium surcharges, or worse, in loss of coverage as your insurance company drops you. Seeking future insurance with a history of lost coverage will result in increased base premiums. One ticket is not the end of the world, but when combined with an accident or another ticket in a three-year period the consequences can truly be costly. It pays to keep your record clean.
Does a speeding motorist have the right to see a radar gun? Top
A speeding motorist does not have the right to see the radar gun even though it was the reason the official stopped the motorist in the first place. A motorist can, however subpoena the calibration records. In many states there are laws regarding the frequency of the gun calibration. If the gun was not calibrated according to law, you win.
Is speeding always speeding? Top
According to Texas law, it is legal to drive over the posted speed limit as long as you are driving safely. A number of factors go into determining safe driving such as time of day, weather and road condition.
How can an attorney help me? Top
First and foremost, the legal system is very complex. An attorney familiar with dealing with the ins and outs of traffic court provides you with a clear advantage.Your attorney can also guide you through the system, so you spend no more time than it takes to read this answer preparing for your day in court. An attorney can handle many of the time consuming procedures that can deter well-intentioned citizens from exercising their right to contest their ticket in court. For example, on your ticket is a date you are scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment. An attorney can allow you to avoid going to this arraignment and can actually set a court date. An attorney saves you a trip to the courthouse and time. In many courts, individuals must have an attorney to receive deferred adjudication. While you may have gone to court over a traffic ticket once or twice, your attorney probably has handled countless violations. You want experience on your side. Please check an attorney's profile to see how much experience he has.
What outcomes are possible if I fight my ticket? Top
There are several outcomes that are possible when fighting a traffic ticket. The best option is that on the date of the court appearance, the state’s witness, the police officer, does not show up. Your case is automatically dismissed. You sign some papers and are on your way out of the courthouse. If the officer is there, your attorney may speak with him or her to reduce your fine. This type of negotiation is possible and a reduced fine may result. Another option for many people is deferred adjudication. This involves completing certain stipulations by the court, in some cases passing a defensive driving course. With this option, you have a suspended sentence and upon completion of the course and keeping your record clean, you return to court on a scheduled date, and the misdemeanor is removed from your record. You may also have a trial by jury, an opportunity to explain the events to a jury of your peers. In this instance, the jury will decide if your case should be dismissed.
What is the appropriate court etiquette? Top
There are a few quick tips to make your time in court successful. When you attend traffic court, it is above all important to be on time. The recommendation is to be early. Your appearance is likewise important. Shorts and tank tops are unacceptable. When the court is in session, you must turn off all cellular phones and pagers, stop talking, and put away all reading material.
What is our refund policy? Top
For criminal cases, because of the flat-fee nature and quick pace of the work being done, refunds will not be available after retaining our firm. For civil cases, refunds are available on a case by case basis. Please speak with your attorney directly.
The Driver Responsibility law (TRC Chapter 708) was enacted by the 78th legislative session (House Bill 3588) and establishes a system that assesses surcharges based on certain traffic offenses. DRP only applies to offenses that occurred on or after September 1, 2003. This program does not replace other administrative suspension, or revocation actions that result from these same convictions. The surcharges assessed for this program are in addition to other reinstatement fees required for other administrative actions. The two methods below detail how surcharges will be assessed.
Points System Surcharges Points are assessed to moving violations classified as Class C misdemeanors. Surcharges are applied to drivers based on the type of offense and the time period in which the citation was received. Points remain on the driver record for a period of three years. Once the conviction has been reported to DPS and becomes part of the driver history, DPS will assign points to a person’s license as follows:
• Two points for a moving violation conviction in Texas or that of another state.
• Points will not be assigned for speeding less than 10% over the speed limit or seat belt convictions.
• Three points for a moving violation conviction in Texas or another state that resulted in an accident.
• The three year time frame is calculated from the conviction dates.
DPS will assess a surcharge when the driver accumulates a total of six (6) points or more on their driver record during a three-year period. The driver must pay a $100 surcharge for the first six points and $25 for each additional point, in addition to any related services fees. Traffic offenses which result in points are designated in 37 TAC §15.89.
Conviction Based Surcharges Drivers who receive a conviction for an offense listed below will pay an annual surcharge for a period of three (3) years from date of conviction. No points are accessed for these offenses because the surcharge is automatic upon conviction. Once the conviction is reported to DPS and becomes part of the driver history the following surcharges will be assessed:
• Driving While Intoxicated, Intoxication Assault, and Intoxication Manslaughter
o First time offense = $1,000
o Second or subsequent offense = $1,500 o DWI 0.16 or greater = $2,000
o The surcharges are cumulative, meaning if a driver received two DWI offenses the total amount of surcharges to be paid would be $2,500 annually for three years.
• Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility
• Driving While License Invalid
• No Driver License
Annual Assessment- Each year, on the anniversary date of the original notice DPS will review the driver history and determine if the driver still meets surcharge requirement criteria. If the record indicates that the individual’s record still reflects six or more points in the previous 36 months or if the conviction is still within the previous 36 month period, then the driver must pay the surcharge again. Annual assessment based on points will include additional charges ($25 per point) if more points have accrued since the first notice was mailed. Deferred Adjudication – Defensive Driving Course No points will be assessed or surcharges applied if the conviction is deferred, or a DDC course is taken.
• Only Non-CDL drivers may be granted deferred adjudication, and/or take a defensive driving course (DDC) for any points-based citation and No-DL citations.
• No-Insurance and DWLI offense are eligible for deferred adjudication.
• DWI, Intoxication Assault, and Intoxication Manslaughter are NOT eligible for deferral. Customer Contacts TRC Chapter 708 authorized DPS to contract with a third party vendor to collect the surcharge and allows the vendor to collect service fees in addition to the surcharge. Municipal Services Bureau (MSB) will provide contract services for this program. Service fees are listed as follows:
• 4% in addition to original surcharge
• $2.50 for each payment made on an installment agreement
• There is an additional fee for credit card and electronic check transactions, based on the dollar amount of the surcharge.
Questions regarding payment options and status of payments made should be directed to MSB at:
1-800-688-6882 1-800-688-6882 toll free
1-512-454-4759 1-512-454-4759 [email protected]
Hours of operation are:
Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
Friday 8:00AM to 5:00 PM
Saturday 8:00AM to 12:00 PM
Payment of surcharge fees will be mailed to:
Texas Department of Public Safety, Surcharge Processing
P.O. Box 16733
Austin, TX 78761-6733
If subject’s driver license has been revoked for failure to pay surcharge, once the payment including related collection fees are received by MSB, DPS will be notified via electronic means. Compliance will then update to the driver history within 5 to 7 business days.
MSB will allow individuals to enter installment agreement to comply with surcharge requirements. Depending on the amount owed, the individual may have between four months and two years to complete the payment plan. An additional $2.50 service fee will be charged per payment. If an individual defaults, the driving privileges will be revoked until the entire balance of the surcharge is paid. The individual will not be allowed to enter another I/A.
A driver who is revoked for failure to pay surcharges may not obtain an occupational license, as Texas Administrative Code requires payment of all required reinstatement fees prior to the issuance of an Occupational license. If the surcharges are paid, or an installment agreement is in force and the subject is suspended for a Non-DRP related issue, an Occupational license may be obtained. If subject is in an installment agreement and defaults, the Occupational License will be revoked.