TRAFFIC LAW FAQ

MISSOURI TRAFFIC LAW INFORMATION

By:  Gerald W. Linnenbringer, St. Louis Traffic Ticket Lawyer

St. Louis DWI Lawyer

In Missouri and Illinois, speeding tickets and other moving violations result in points being assessed against your license.  For example, depending on whether you were issued municipal or state charges, convictions for speeding tickets carry a penalty of 2-3 points, disobeying traffic signals gets you 1-2 points, etc.  This Missouri statute provides for a full, up-to-date list of how many points will be assessed for each particular traffic violation.

Your license will be suspended for one year if you receive 8 or more points in a 12-month period, and revoked if you receive 12 points in a 12-month period.  For most people, however, a point revocation is not their main worry - the typical client is most concerned about how much the points associated with a conviction will cause their insurance premiums to rise.  Although there is no formula to determine how much a point or two will increase your insurance rates - and I am sure it varies depending on the insurance provider you use - I have had clients tell me that past traffic law convictions have cost them hundreds of dollars in increased insurance expenses.

Clearly then, it is in your best interest to get your tickets fixed, and to do that you need an attorney.  I have handled thousands of traffic tickets in courts across Missouri and Illinois.  If you have received a ticket for a moving violation, do not risk losing your license and seeing your insurance premiums increase.

With attorney representation your moving violation can likely be negotiated down to a non-moving violation.  Further, you won't need to worry about making an inconvenient court appearance.  Hiring a lawyer to handle your ticket, while perhaps a higher upfront expense than simply paying the ticket outright, will save you time and money in the long-run.

To discuss your traffic law issue, please contact me anytime. Once you are ready to proceed, everything, including payment, can be done over the phone or through email.  Of course, you're also welcomed to make an appointment and stop by.  For more information on Missouri and Illinois traffic law please see below for the frequently asked questions section that I have prepared.  I have also written up some brief descriptions for some of the more common traffic charges issued in St. Louis and throughout Missouri.

The information provided here is only a brief explanation of Missouri traffic law and traffic tickets and is provided only for informational purposes and may not be directly applicable to your unique case.  Please contact me to discuss your specific charges, I'm happy to talk with you about the details surrounding your ticket.



MISSOURI TRAFFIC LAW QUESTIONS


  TRAFFIC LAW

  1. I was issued a traffic ticket - what should my first step be?
  2. I missed my first court date, can I still use your services?
  3. I missed my court date and I now have a warrant, can I still use your services?
  4. The highway patrol just issued me an "FCC" traffic ticket - what is the FCC?
  5. Should I just pay my ticket and be done with it?
  6. I was caught speeding at a very high rate of speeding (30+ mph over) - can an attorney help me?
  7. Will I be required to appear in court to resolve my traffic ticket?
  8. I have a bad driving record, will an attorney be able to get my ticket amended?
  9. Will I be required to attend driving school?
  10. How do Illinois courts handle traffic tickets?


  TRAFFIC TICKETS AND CHARGES

  1. Speeding Tickets
  2. FCC Tickets
  3. Speeding in an ARC Zone
  4. High MPH Speeding
  5. Speeding in a Construction Zone
  6. Speeding in a School Zone
  7. Tickets Issued with an Accident
  8. Driving While Suspended / Revoked
  9. Careless and Imprudent Driving
  10. Driving Without Proof of Insurance
  11. Stop Sign, Failure to Signal, Violate an Electric Signal, other minor violations


  COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH MISSOURI TRAFFIC TICKET

  1. How much does it cost to hire an attorney to fix my ticket?
  2. If I hire an attorney will I still need to pay the court fines and costs for the ticket?



MISSOURI TRAFFIC LAW ANSWERS


  I was issued a traffic ticket - what should my first step be?

You will want to call a traffic attorney and discuss the charge and what can be done about it.  In many cases, a moving violation in Missouri can be amended to a non-moving violation.  When you call your attorney, it is a good idea to have the ticket in front of you.  The attorney will need to know the charge, the court ticket the ticket issued out of, and your court date.  With this information, a price quote will likely be possible.  In more complex situations, however, a face-to-face consultation may be advised.  For simple traffic tickets, however, I handle everything right over the phone.  I gather the information I need to handle the ticket, and we can even complete payment over the phone or online.

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  I missed my first court date, can I still use your services?

Yes.  Many, but not all, courts will give defendants in traffic court a one-time pass for their failure to appear. Courts will issue a new court date and notify defendants of that new court date, provided the court has the defendant's correct mailing address.  Some courts, however, will issue warrants for the failure to appear, even for the first court date.  At that point, it is advised you hire an attorney in these situations.  Often times your attorney can recall your warrant, fix your ticket, and prevent you from ever having to appear in court.

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  I missed my court date and I now have a warrant, can I still use your services?

Yes, I handle warrant recalls in all courts.  Please note, however, that some warrants will not be lifted without the payment of a cash bond by the defendant.  Please call for an analysis on your specific situation.

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  The highway patrol just issued me an "FCC" traffic ticket - what is the FCC?

The FCC is the Fine Collection Center.  Highway patrol officers issue tickets out of the FCC.  These are state charges, compared to municipal ordinance violations, and often carry more severe penalties.  Once issued an FCC ticket, you have 30 days to pay the ticket (leading to a conviction for the charge), enter a plea of not guilty, or hire an attorney.  Entering a plea of not guilty or hiring an attorney to handle the charge will result in the ticket being transferred to the Circuit Court for disposition.  Once transferred to the Circuit Court, your attorney will appear for you and negotiate the charge with the prosecuting attorney for the state.  The goal of those negotiations, of course, is to have the ticket amended to a no-point, non-moving violation.

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  Should I just pay my ticket and be done with it?

Simply paying your ticket will lead to a conviction.  Convictions for moving violations lead to points being assessed against your license.  Points on your license can result in numerous negative ramifications, including license suspensions and greatly increased insurance premiums.

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  I was caught speeding at a very high rate of speeding (30+ mph over) - can an attorney help me?

Yes, and in fact, the Judge may even compel you to hire an attorney to handle such a charge as you may face jail time.  Many prosecutors are unwilling to amend a speeding ticket when it reaches high rates of speed over the limit.  Generally, 26+ in some courts and 30+ in other courts seems to be the limit where prosecutors do not amend.  In these situations it is still possible to keep the points off of your license.  It may require entering an open plea and leaving sentencing up to the Judge.  The possible outcome for these charges varies greatly from court to court - Please call me if you have received a ticket where you were caught going 30+ mph over.

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  Will I be required to appear in court to resolve my traffic ticket?

Probably not.  In a great majority of tickets I handle, the client never needs to appear in court.  For simple speeding tickets, for example, this is almost always the case.  For more serious tickets like driving while suspended, driving without insurance, and accident tickets, a court appearance by the defendant is sometimes required, but not always.  In my opinion, part of the attorney's job is to minimize the impact your ticket has on your life, and this includes your time.  If I can keep you out of court, I will.

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  I have a bad driving record, will an attorney be able to get my ticket amended?

Probably yes, but the defendant with a terrible driving record will likely be required to pay higher fines in order to achieve the amendment to a non-moving violation.  Eventually, however, some prosecutors will simply be unwilling to amend a charge if they feel the defendant has already had too many moving violations in their past.  Please call for an analysis of your specific situation.

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  Will I be required to attend driving school?

Probably not, but maybe.  Some courts require some defendants to attend driving school.  Younger defendants or defendants with bad driving records are more likely to be required to complete driving school as a condition of the no-point amendment.  Please call me to discuss whether driving school will likely be required for your specific ticket.

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  How do Illinois courts handle traffic tickets?

Illinois handles tickets differently than Missouri.  Illinois courts generally do not amend tickets to non-moving violation. Instead, they offer court supervision.  Court supervision is essentially a probationary period (generally 30-90 days for a speeding ticket).  Provided you receive no further traffic citations in that probationary period, you will avoid the points associated with the charge in which you are on supervision for.  Per statute, a person who is over 21 years old may receive supervision twice in a one year period; drivers under 21 may receive supervision only one time per year.  If you have received an Illinois citation, please call to discuss whether you will be eligible for court supervision.

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  Speeding tickets

The most common ticket people need help with is the standard speeding ticket issued by a municipal police officer or state trooper.  If you are issued a speeding ticket out of municipal court, you face the assessment of two points on your license if convicted.  Three points are assessed if you are convicted of a speeding charge that is issued out of state court.  You can tell whether you are charged with violation of a either a municipal ordinance or a state statute by looking at the ticket itself.  The ticket will indicate whether you are alleged to violate a state statute (look for a checkmark next to "RSMo") or a municipal ordinance (look for a checkmark next to "Ord.").  Alternatively, look at what police department issued the ticket.  If the ticket says, for example, "Maryland Heights Police Department," or, "Wildwood Police Department," you have a municipal charge on your hands, and the ticket will be issued out of whatever municipal court that corresponds with the police department.  If the ticket says St. Louis County Police Department, your ticket will either by issued out of state court or issued out of one of the municipal county satellite courts.  If the ticket is written by the Missouri Highway Patrol, it is a FCC charge, explained below.

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  FCC Tickets (State Highway Patrol tickets)

FCC tickets are issued by the state highway patrol.  The FCC, or Fine Collection Center, is a central depository where all Missouri Highway Patrol issued tickets initially sent.  When you get an FCC ticket you have 30 days to act. You can either pay the ticket, and take the 3 points on your license, or you can hire an attorney to have the ticket transferred out of the FCC.  Upon receiving the attorney's motion to transfer the ticket, the FCC will send the case to the appropriate state court for disposition.  The ticket will be sent to the state court in whatever count you received your ticket in.  So, for example, if you were given an FCC ticket in Sunset Hills, that ticket will be transferred to St. Louis County Circuit Court.  Once transferred, your attorney will appear in court for you and try to reach a favorable disposition on the charge - generally, having the charge amended to a non-moving, no-point violation.

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  Speeding in an ARC Zone

A number of north county municipalities, including St. Ann, Pine Lawn, Cool Valley, Edmundson, Northwoods, among others, have set up Accident Reduction Corridors (ARC) along Highway 70.  It is never a good idea to speed, but getting caught speeding in an ARC and you will be facing particularly high fines.  The fines associated with an ARC Zone speeding ticket are often doubled that of a normal ticket.  If you are driving on Highway 70 east of the 270/70 exchange, please be on the look out for the ARC Zone signs, and consider making an extra effort not to speed through those areas.

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  High-Rate Speeding

If you get caught speeding at a high rate of speeding (25-30+ mph over the limit), your attorney may not have much luck in getting the charge amended.  Most courts have strict policies as to what rate of speeding they no longer offer an amended charge.  In that situation it is very important to hire an attorney who has experience handling these tickets.  There are other ways of avoiding convictions and points that we can discuss.

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  Speeding in a Construction Zone

Speeding in a construction zone will lead to higher fines.  If you get caught speeding in a construction zone with workers present, you will face even higher fines and possibly even jail time.  If you have gotten a speeding in a construction zone ticket - and especially if you have received one while workers were present - you should hire an attorney immediately.

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  Speeding in a School Zone

Speeding in a school zone is in many ways similar to the construction zone tickets.  If you get one of these tickets, you will pay a higher fine.  If you get one of these tickets while children were present, you will pay even higher fines and could even face jail time.

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  Tickets Issued in Conjunction with an Accident

If you were issued a traffic ticket with an auto accident you were involved with, you face extra ramifications for a plea of guilty to that ticket.  You will not only be assessed whatever points come with the traffic ticket conviction itself, you will also be assessed an extra 2 points for your involvement in the accident.  An attorney experienced with handling these charges can help avoid all of those points, but it will require more leg work. Prosecutors will want to see proof of insurance at the time of the accident along with a letter from your insurance companies accepting liability and showing payout on the accident-based claims.

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  Driving While Suspended / Revoked

If you receive a driving while suspended (DWS) or driving while revoked charge, you need an attorney.  DWS and DWR charges carry possible jail time, high fines, and lead to the assessment of enough points to suspend or revoke your license even longer.  DWS charges should not be taken lightly, and you should make sure whatever attorney you choose sufficiently explains exactly what you must do to successfully handle the charge.  It will be of great importance to have your license reinstated if you are hoping to reach a favorable outcome on your DWS charge.  If you need help getting reinstated or analyzing the best method as to clearly up the problems keeping you suspended, please contact me.

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  Careless and Imprudent Driving

Careless and Imprudent Driving tickets can be issued for many reasons.  Some reasons for issuance are much more serious than others.  I have had some clients receive C&I tickets for squealing their tires, others for texting while driving, and others for much more serious offenses involving property damage.  Even if the underlying cause for your C&I ticket does not seem serious, keep in mind that anyone looking at your driving record, including your insurance provider, will only see you were convicted of a C&I charge, they will have no way of knowing if it was due to a silly mistake or a more serious driving infraction.  That being the case, it is very important to have an attorney handle your C&I charge.

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  Driving Without Proof of Insurance

Driving without insurance is a serious offense.  You put yourself and other drivers at risk when you drive without insurance.  That being the case, if you do not have insurance and you receive a citation for it, it is very important that you obtain insurance immediately after being issued the ticket.  Your attorney can then provide the prosecuting attorney with proof of your after-acquired insurance and may be able to have your charge amended to reduce the negative ramifications a conviction for driving while uninsured would have on your drivers license.  An even better scenario, of course, is when you can prove that you were actually insured on the day you received the ticket, you just didn't have the card on you that day for some reason.  Courts will generally dismiss no insurance tickets when the driver can prove he or she was insured the day the citation was issued, but you may be required to pay court costs.

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  Stop Sign, Failure to Signal, Violate an Electric Signal, other minor violations

Minor traffic violations can generally be amended to non-moving violations.  You should expect to pay a slightly higher fine than you would by simply paying the ticket outright and taking a conviction.  Even with the higher fine, it is generally cheaper in the long-run to have an attorney handle these tickets to avoid the points and the corresponding increase in insurance premiums.

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  How much does it cost to hire an attorney to fix my ticket?

The price involved in representing you on your ticket will vary greatly depending on the charge, of course. For simple speeding tickets, my attorney fee is generally around $50.  For more complex charges, like Driving While Suspended or Revoked, attorney fees will be considerably higher.  Price can also vary depending on what court your ticket is issued out of, as some courts require an attorney court appearance, while others do not.  Please call for a price quote on your specific ticket.

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  If I hire an attorney will I still need to pay the court fines and costs for the ticket?

Even with an attorney, you will be required to pay fines and costs to the court.  These fines and costs vary greatly from court to court and from defendant to defendant.  Some courts have higher fine schedules and higher court costs.  Defendants with troubled driving records may also be required to pay higher fines if they want the charge amended.  Please call for an estimate on what the fines and costs will be for your specific ticket.

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HOW TO GET STARTED

COMPLETELY ONLINE

Shoot me an email with a description of your ticket.  It may require a follow-up email or two from me, but once I have the necessary details, I can provide a price quote and a link to make payment.  Once the ticket is fixed, you'll receive the an emailed copy and a hardcopy of the paperwork necessary to resolve the charge with court.

FACE-TO-FACE

Call or email to make an appointment and then come on by.  We can discuss your ticket and complete the transaction in my office with cash, credit, or check.

CALL IT IN

Give me a call sometime and we'll go over the details of your ticket.  I'll answer any questions you may have and provide a price quote.  If you choose to proceed, you can make payment right over the phone with a credit or debit card.  You will receive your receipt via email or mail, whichever you prefer.