Oftentimes when we are driving and get pulled over for a traffic violation, we fail to think in terms of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is the authority of a Texas court to summon you for the allegation of an offense. If you ever wonder why you have to go to the court that you are appointed to instead of the one nearest your home, then you are thinking jurisdiction. You should note that if you are driving in San Antonio and you are pulled over by SAPD, you are likely to be summoned to the San Antonio municipal court downtown. However, if on the same street you are pulled over by a constable or sheriff, you will more likely be summoned to the justice of the peace court. The municipality which you are summoned to in order to take care of your traffic violation is contingent upon the location of the stop or the footing of the public servant who stopped you.
Your traffic citation is probably either a parking ticket or a moving violation, such as speeding or running a stop sign. In Texas, the majority of traffic tickets are designated as Class C misdemeanors, which are considered criminal offenses, meaning failure to respond will lead to a warrant for your arrest.
The state gives you 30 days to respond in one of three ways to your ticket: you can plead guilty and pay the fine, you can plead no contest and pay the fine, or you can plead not guilty and contest the ticket. If you choose to pay the fine, you must do so by the deadline or you will be charged an additional late fee. Since paying your ticket is an admission of guilt, you could have your Texas driver’s license suspended (depending on your driving record) and your insurance premiums might increase. If eligible, you should consider completing a defensive driving course to dismiss a minor citation.
Convictions for traffic violations stay on your Texas driving record for three years and add points to your driver’s license. You add two points for each moving violation and three points for a violation that results in a car accident. Receiving six or more points within a three-year period can result in additional fines.
For those drivers who choose to plead not guilty to their traffic violation, they must request a contested hearing at the relevant court by mailing their ticket to the court with their intention to contest marked in the appropriate space. Contesting your ticket has the advantage of avoiding fines, license suspension, and increased insurance rates, though only a handful of drivers go this route.
Should you decide to contest a traffic violation, it’s wise to hire an experienced Traffic Violation Attorney here in San Antonio, Texas, to help you handle the paperwork and represent you in court. A skilled lawyer, especially one with the right connections in criminal courts, can attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to have the charges dropped or reduced.
Defender of Your Rights as a Driver in Texas—Attorney Cesar A. Montalvo
While the general public often treats traffic violations as minor issues, it’s important to keep in mind that they are misdemeanors and are, therefore, a part of the criminal court system. If you have a question or concern regarding your traffic violation, or if you’d like to contest your violation, then hiring a criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, TX, is your next best step toward clearing your driving record.
At the Law Offices of Cesar A. Montalvo, we have experience handling all types of criminal cases, including traffic violations, both in and out of the courtroom. After you tell us about your case, we’ll craft a plan of action that protects both your rights and your Texas driver’s license. Our goal is to minimize the impact of any traffic stop on your daily life and your insurance premiums.
Contact us for your consultation with traffic violation expert Cesar A. Montalvo today.