Summer Traffic = Summer Tickets
Each summer, Sussex County becomes a seashore destination for people from New York to Virginia. According to a recent New Journal article, even though Delaware Department of Transportation has invested millions of dollars rebuilding highways and transit centers in the area, gridlock is expected to remain on the largely-rural highways leading to the coast during peak beach driving times. With the increased traffic comes increased chances of traffic tickets such as speeding or DUI’s.
Delaware Traffic Tickets can impact you more than you think. We recently were approached by a client who received a traffic ticket for speeding. She was charged with driving 17 miles per hour over the speed limit. When the officer issued her the ticket, he informed her if she just paid the ticket, there would be no points assessed against her license. Based on that information, the client made some assumptions. She assumed the officer provided her accurate information and that if she followed his instructions, there would be no points and no impact on her insurance. Unfortunately, not only was the information wrong, so were her assumptions.
Delaware DMV has issued an administrative warning that if someone is charged with a speeding violation of 1-14 miles over the limit, they will not be assessed points IF it is the first violation in the past three years and if the ticket is paid through the voluntary assessment center. In this case, the client was charged with 17 miles per hour over the limit, not 1-14 mph over. Therefore, she didn’t qualify for the points exemption and she would have been assessed 5 points if she had followed the officer’s direction. This would have negatively impacted her driving record with DMV and her insurance rates. DMV will issue an advisory letter for as little as 8 points. If a driver gets 12 points, they face a mandatory behavior modification driving course which results in a two-month suspension if not taken. Even if she had qualified, the administrative order still results in a conviction which would have impacted her insurance. The lack of points assessment does nothing to eliminate the possibility that the insurance company will issue a surcharge based on the violation. Most insurance companies consider violations, not points assessed by DMV.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated occurrence. We have had many clients contact us with questions based on information received by the police officer issuing the ticket or from their friends. Many believe they are receiving probation before judgment for a first offense if they simply mail in the fine. This is not the case. In order to receive a probation before judgment which results in the ticket being dismissed and no conviction to report to your insurance, it must be approved by a Judge in the Justice of the Peace Court or the Court of Common Pleas.
Don’t let this happen to you. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Murray, Phillips & Gay in Georgetown 302-855-9300 or for Dover and Wilmington 302-697-2499 or email by clicking here.