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I got a ticket! What alternatives do I have?
You have four options after having received a traffic ticket:
1. Ignore it. YOU SHOULD NEVER DO THIS!! But it happens-a ticket gets lost or forgotten and then a court date is missed. This will result in failure to appear, which may add to the cost of resolving your ticket and may lead to a warrant, depending upon the jurisdiction. If you have missed a court date, seek the assistance of a traffic attorney as soon as possible.
2. Continue it. A "continuance" is a court term for scheduling a court date to a later date. This is only a short-term solution, but many do it for more time to explore alternatives or to save to pay for a ticket. Whether or not a court will allow a continuance is in the sole discretion of the court.
3. Pay it. Many tickets will show a fine amount. As long as you pay the fine amount shown on the ticket by the court date or other date shown on the ticket, it will resolve the ticket. The catch to this, however, is paying the fine is entering a guilty plea of for the ticketed offense. Pleading guilty can result points on your driving record.
4. Amend it. Most traffic tickets received in Missouri or Kansas can to be "amended" to a non-moving, non-points violation. Amending means negotiating a plea to a reduced charge, such as defective equipment. In most cases, an amended ticket will not appear on your driving record.
I like that amending option. How much will it cost?
The total cost to amend will depend on variety of factors. These factors include the type of violation, the number of violations, the jurisdiction, and other circumstances. For example, a speeding ticket for going 10 mph over the limit will usually cost less than the same offense in a school, work zone, or construction zone.
Your age or type of violation may require you to take a driving class as part of the plea to amend your ticket. If so, this will increase the cost.
For most violations, however, there are 3 parts that make up the total to amend a ticket:
1. The Fine. The amount of the fine to amend a ticket is set by the court depending upon the violation. For example, the cost for amending a speeding ticket for 10 mph over will cost less than amending a speeding ticket for 18 over. As indicated, other factors may also affect the violation. Each court sets its own fine amounts. The fine for amending a ticket in one court will not be the same as another court.
2. Court Costs. When a ticket is amended, courts charge costs in addition to the fine. Court costs are paid to the court along with the fine. The costs charged by the court are used to defray the costs of operating the court. Like the fine, each court sets its own costs, the costs in one court may not be the same.
The fine and court costs combined will be more than the fine shown on the ticket. Keep in mind that resolving the ticket by only paying the fine shown on the ticket requires less effort by the court than amending a ticket. Amending a ticket requires judges, prosecutors, clerks, and other personnel to staff the court. Before you pay the amount shown on the ticket, read How will a ticket affect my license, my insurance, etc.?
3. Attorney's Fee. This is our fee to represent you in court to amend the ticket. The attorney's fee is in addition to the fine and court costs. Attorney's fee start at $95.00, but will vary depending upon the court, the violation, and other factors.
When you contact us, we will give you an estimate of the total cost. The will include the fine, court costs, and attorney's fee. After your ticket is amended, you will receive a copy of the court's receipt and an invoice itemizing all of the expenses. If you entrust us with your legal matter, we should account to you for every expense.
How can a ticket affect my license, my insurance, my employment, etc.?
That depends on multiple factors. The type violation, how the ticket is resolved, prior offenses, and other factors can have an effect. Usually, the single-most important factor is how a ticket is resolved. If a ticket is not amended it could mean points on your driving record. Points (or the lack of points) are what others may use to make decisions about you.
To insurance companies, points are an indicator of risk. If you seek a new auto insurance policy or renew an existing policy, the insurance company will look at your driving record. The more points you have on your driving record, the more the insurance company will see you as a risk. The insurance company offset this risk by charging you higher insurance premiums.
State agencies that regulate driver licenses have point systems to encourage safe driving and compliance with laws, rules and regulations. To state agencies, points indicate the magnitude of a violation. The greater the risk of harm, the more points will be added to your driving record for a violation. If you get too many points added to your driving record in too short of a time, the state agency will consider you to be an unsafe driver and may suspend or revoke your license.
For some employers, driving records indicate risk. If an employer hires or keeps an employee with an unclean driving record, it may increase the employer's liability. For example, if an employee drives a company vehicle as part of his/her job and gets into a crash, the employer could be held liable for hiring or keeping that employee. Employers (and their insurance companies) do not like increased liability, so an unclean driving record may prevent you for being hired for certain jobs or even result in your termination-even for seemingly minor traffic violations.
What are the steps to have a ticket amended?
1. You contact us. The first thing we will need is information about your ticket (or tickets). There are several ways you can contact us:
Call / Text us: 816-550-7282
Email us: email@example.com
Fax us: 816-787-1332
Website: Use the Contact Us page
The best thing is for us to receive a copy of your ticket (tickets) so we can discuss it with you. We can ask you questions and answer your questions. After receiving copy of your ticket (or tickets) and discussing with you, we can provide you with a cost estimate.
In some cases, we will need additional information or documentation from you, such as proof of insurance. If so, we will let you know.
If for any reason we believe we cannot assist you, we will let you know.
2. You engage us. If you are agreeable to our legal services and cost estimate, we will set up a case in our case management system and send you an agreement and an invoice. To engage us, you will need to sign and return the agreement and pay the invoice. We will work with you and answer any question you may have along the way.
You will have several payment options:
Online by credit/debit card (through our online case management system)
Online by e-check (through our online case management system)
Mail a check to the address on the invoice
Cash (only if paid in person by prior arrangement)
We are committed to keeping you informed. We use an online case management system that gives you access to 24 hours a day. You will be able to login day or night to see your court date, copies of your ticket, our agreement, court filings, and invoices, etc.
3. We represent you. After you have engaged us-that is, signed our agreement and paid our cost estimate-we will represent you in court. Each court manages its docket differently. With some courts, it may be possible to appear and have your ticket amended within days of your engaging us. In other courts, we may only appear on fixed dates. Either way, we will keep you informed.
4. We inform you. After we have appeared in court and have amended your ticket, we will inform you of the result. This will include a copy of the court receipt as well as a closing letter detailing the outcome. All of this will be made available through our online case management system.
5. You review us. We recognize traffic tickets are not fun, and you may not feel like calling attention to having to hire a traffic attorney, but you review will help others like yourself that need help keeping points off their licenses. That is why we will ask for yours. This is entirely optional, but we are genuinely interested in your feedback. From the very first contact, our goal is to serve you in such a way as that you will want to give us a positive review.
What others have said:
“Karl is very knowledgeable on traffic laws. Karl proved to be extremely helpful in handling my case.” - Ron
“Karl is honest and dependable. I hired him personally and confidently refer all of my insurance clients with legal needs to him.” – Erich
“I found Karl to be prompt and knowledgeable about the courts and processes.” - Steve
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Krauss Law Firm, LLC practices in Kansas and Missouri -- Wyandotte County, Jackson County, Johnson County, Platte County, Clay County and Cass County, as well as the cities of Kansas City, Overland Park, Lansing, Independence, Liberty, Warrensburg, Sedalia, Platte City and Harrisonville.