by Stevie Hall*
Ugh! You’ve gotten a speeding ticket…now what?
Contact the court listed on your ticket.
This must be done as soon as possible, and definitely before the court appearance date listed on your citation. WARNING: Completely ignoring your ticket, not paying for it, or failing to plea could result in a warrant for your arrest or the suspension of revocation of your TX driver’s license. Ask the clerk for the exact proper steps for proceeding in this process, and ask if actions must be taken in PERSON or WRITING.
You usually have 10 days to decide if you are going to pay for the ticket or appear in court. However, instead of paying off your ticket, we entreat you to taking a defensive driving course to dismiss the ticket. It won’t be free, but it can keep your driving record clean and that has the potential of saving you a great deal of money in insurance premiums.
First, ensure you are eligible for the driver safety course option. The best way to do this is to ask the court clerk. Many courts, like the City of Huntsville Municipal Court have detailed explanations on their websites. In general, under Texas law only a driver who has not completed a course within the prior 12 months and is not charged with a serious violation or speeding in excess of 25 miles over the speed limit would be eligible. To view additional details of the law, click here.
Next, send the court a written request for Driver Safety course, plead guilty or no contest to the charges, send a sworn statement (signed in front of a notary) that you haven’t used the defensive driving option in 12 months and pay a fine. The plea will be held for a period of time while the court allows you time to complete the course. Defensive driving courses can be taken over a period of time online or in a one day class that teaches drivers the rules and regulations of the road in hopes to reduce the risk of driving. There are many different websites and locations that are state approved and charge a low fee of around $25 to take the course.
Driver Safety Courses are a great way to manage a ticket. Among the pros to defensive driving: your insurance can be reduced up to 10%, you relearn regulations, and your ticket dismissed. Next time you receive a ticket (let’s hope there’s not a next time), consider defensive driving.