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  • Writer's pictureSchuyler Laverentz

Traffic ticket? Just pay the fine?

Even the most law-abiding citizens get caught speeding, driving recklessly, failing to yield or running a stop sign. In Missouri, usually you can send in a plea of guilty and a fine and you never have to appear in court. Do you have to do that? Absolutely not. For one, convictions for driving offenses can result in points on your license. Accummulating enough points can result in the suspension of your license for 30, 60, 90 days or more. And your insurance rates can go up, especially if you are a younger driver.

I've found the average driver thinks that if I was speeding, I have to plead guilty because I was speeding. Nope. Just because you're guilty doesn't mean you have to plead guilty. If you hire a lawyer, he can talk to the prosecutor and almost always (with rare exceptions) the ticket will be amended to a non-point violation. Generally, the fine is more than it would have been, but it tends to be worth it in the long run. And most lawyers charge a very reasonable fee to handle a traffic ticket.

The good news: The most inept, clueless, graduated-from-law-school-located-on-a caribbean-island-lawyer can get a speeding ticket amended. You don't need to hire OJ Simpson's defense team (the ones that aren't dead or disbarred) to defend a ticket. Here is the test to see if your lawyer can handle a traffic ticket: check his pulse. Don't worry about checking for brain activity - it's not necessary.

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