- September 26, 2016
- CLLB Law
- Criminal Defense
Sometimes you see the police car lying in wait. Other times, the flashing lights behind you are a complete surprise. All drivers have had the experience of hoping that the cruiser will either stay where it is or pass on by in pursuit of someone else. Many of them also know what it feels like when that hope turns to dread as it becomes clear the officer wants them to pull over. When that happens, you may know exactly what traffic law you were breaking or you may have no idea whatsoever, but once you get a ticket, it’s time to focus on the consequences.
Generally, Indiana traffic tickets are dealt with on a county level. In the small print, you’ll find that your choices are to go to court to contest the ticket or to plead guilty by signing and returning the ticket. Admitting guilt is the same as a conviction, and the most common penalty is assessment of a fine plus court costs and applicable state surcharges, which must be paid before the court date. Convictions typically mean an increase in car insurance premiums, and certain violations can result in automatic license suspension or jail time.
Additionally, Indiana tracks driving performance through a point system that assesses a value to each moving violation. Points range from two to eight, and those offenses that pose a risk to traffic safety have a higher point value. Infractions such as driving between 1 and 15 miles over the speed limit, failure to signal, and failure to use headlights are worth two points. Driving between 16 and 25 miles over the speed limit, improper passing, improper U-turn, and disregarding a traffic device are some four-point infractions. Six points are imposed for violations like driving 26 miles or more over the limit, following too closely, and reckless driving. Serious offenses get eight points, such as failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, aggressive driving, and reckless driving with bodily injury.
Points expire two years after the date of conviction (though the conviction does not expire for ten years). Motorists who accumulate 18 points within two years will have a hearing to determine whether they should be given a probationary license or whether their license should be suspended. Drivers who have three moving violations with one year can also be subjected to having their continued eligibility judged. Drivers who are convicted of certain multiple offenses within a ten-year period are labeled “Habitual Traffic Violators” and can have their license suspended for a decade. For example, this designation can arise from committing two or more major traffic violations resulting in injury or death, or from committing three major violations such as OWI, reckless driving, or racing.
Indiana driver’s license holders can view a free copy of their driving history by creating an account with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The record shows current and resolved court-ordered suspensions, citations, violations, and other useful information. Consider checking it a few times a year to make sure you don’t have any outstanding fees or suspensions.
If you have received a traffic ticket or have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the criminal defense attorneys at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law. We have years of experience helping people and we can help you. Based in New Albany, Indiana, we proudly serve communities throughout Kentuckiana, including, but not limited to, Jefferson County, KY; Floyd County, IN; Clark County, IN; and Harrison County, Indiana. Contact us by calling (812) 725-8224 or by using our online form.