Why Should You Fight a Utah Traffic Ticket?
Most adults will receive a traffic citation at some point in their lives. That sinking feeling in your stomach when you see police lights and hear the siren is universal. If you’ve received a Utah traffic citation, remember: Just because you received a citation does not necessarily mean you should simply plead guilty and pay the ticket. Even if you are guilty, you should still fight the ticket. Why? Because not fighting the ticket virtually ensures you will have points added to your driving record, be required to pay a large fine, and you’ll see an increase in your insurance rates.
When you just pay the fine for your traffic ticket, you are effectively pleading guilty; your driving record, bank account, and insurance rates will reflect this admission of guilt, and you will unnecessarily be subjected to a lengthy probation period. On the other hand, fighting your traffic ticket can keep points off of your driving record, prevent a conviction, shorten your probationary period, and prevent your insurance rates from increasing. An experienced Salt Lake City traffic ticket attorney from Conyers & Nix may be able to negotiate a lesser offense or lesser penalties, or could have the ticket dismissed altogether. Failing to fight your Utah traffic ticket is never in your best interests.
What Are the Potential Consequences of a Traffic Ticket Violation?
If you are convicted of a moving violation—either convicted in court or by pleading guilty when you simply pay your fine—you must pay a fine and points will be added on your driving record. Most traffic offenses are classified as infractions, which bring no jail time and result in fines up to $750, or are classified as Class C misdemeanors which can result in up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $750. Of course some traffic offenses, like drunk driving, are considered more serious offenses with longer jail terms and higher fines. You could also find that your car insurance significantly increases once the points are added to your driving record. Moving violations are reported to the Utah Driver License Division within ten days of the conviction or payment of the fine. Utah shares traffic violation conviction information with all other states and all Canadian provinces.
Is Hiring a Utah Traffic Ticket Lawyer to Help Dispute Your Traffic Ticket Violation Really Necessary?
Many people feel that a traffic ticket is not significant enough to hire a Salt Lake City traffic ticket lawyer to fight the ticket. Hiring a Utah traffic ticket lawyer is actually your best option when you’ve received a traffic citation. Your Salt Lake City traffic ticket lawyer can potentially keep points off your driving record, prevent your car insurance rates from an alarming increase, and even get the ticket dismissed in many instances.
Skillful legal representation from lawyers like Conyers & Nix gives you the best chance of a dismissal or a plea with a reduced fine, reduced probation, and possibly a clean record. Traffic citations should be taken seriously.
You may receive a traffic ticket and toss it in a drawer to deal with “later.” The busyness of life takes over and you soon forget about the ticket. Then you find yourself facing a warrant for failure to appear, perhaps even an arrest. Not only is it extremely embarrassing to be arrested for a forgotten traffic ticket, but the extra charges and fines add a whole new layer of problems to the original ticket. Take your traffic ticket seriously—contact an experienced Utah traffic ticket lawyer from Conyers & Nix.
What Is Utah’s Traffic Point System?
Utah, like most states, has a traffic point system that adds points to your driving record for each conviction of a moving violation. For drivers under the age of 21, an accumulation of 70 or more points in three years will suspend their driver’s license for a period of one month up to one year, depending on the specific offenses. For drivers over the age of 21, an accumulation of 200 or more points within a three-year period will suspend their driver’s license for three months up to a year.
Utah does offer an incentive for driving safely—when you drive a full year with no moving traffic violation conviction, half the points on your driving record will be removed. Driving for two successive years with no moving traffic violation conviction will result in all the points being removed. Points for each individual conviction will be automatically removed from your record three years after the violation date. Point reduction can also be achieved by taking an approved Defensive Driving Course every three years which reduces the points on your record by a maximum of 50 points. As examples, the following are the points that will be added to your Utah driver’s license for specific offenses:
- Reckless driving—80 points
- Following too close—60 points
- Speeding 1-10 mph over the speed limit—35 points
- Speeding 11-20 mph over the speed limit—55 points
- Speeding 21 or more mph over the speed limit—75 points
- Running a stop sign or red light—50 points
- Texting while driving—50 points
Will My Car Insurance Rates Increase with a Traffic Conviction?
Whether or not your car insurance rates will increase following your traffic conviction will depend on several factors, including your insurer’s specific policies regarding traffic convictions. Age and gender play a role, as well as whether your record has been clean. Generally speaking, however, you can expect your insurance rates to increase up to 25 percent for most moving violations and considerably more for a DUI.
It is important to note that a “plea in abeyance” is not the same thing as a conviction. A plea in abeyance is a court order where the defendant either accepts a guilty plea or a no-contest plea, but no judgment of conviction is ordered. If the defendant has no other moving violations within a specified length of time, the original charges will be dropped. A plea in abeyance prevents the Driver License Division from adding points to your driving history.
Traffic Ticket Violations Our Traffic Ticket Attorneys Can Fight
Stop Sign Tickets
While seemingly minor, stop sign tickets can result in a fine of around $120, along with 50 points added to your driving record. Rolling through a stop sign (failing to come to a complete stop) is a violation, as well as failure to yield to crossing pedestrians or vehicles already in the intersection. When two vehicles reach an intersection with stop signs at the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right.
Speeding tickets can result in a fine from $120 to $370 and add between 35 to 75 points to your driver’s license (depending on the speed that police allege), along with court fees and insurance increases.
Failure to Stop for an Emergency Vehicle
In Utah, drivers must pull over and remain stationary or reduce their speed when approaching an emergency vehicle with active lights. Failure to do so is a serious offense and can result not only in a traffic citation but also the potential suspension of your driver’s license.
Speeding in a School Zone
Driving faster than 20 mph in a reduced-speed school zone is a Class C misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, along with fines from $50 to $525.
Exhibition of Speed/Drag Racing
Exhibition of speed consists of engaging in a speed contest on a highway (aka drag racing). If found guilty, you face a Class C criminal misdemeanor charge that is punishable by up to ninety days in jail, and a fine as high as $750. A mandatory court appearance is required for this offense.
Failure to Maintain Control
This offense includes traveling in or approaching a hazard when your speed causes you to fail to maintain control of your vehicle or stay within a single lane of travel.
Reckless driving is a serious Class B misdemeanor that can result in up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000. Your driver’s license can also be suspended for up to three months for a first reckless driving conviction in Utah, and you will receive 80 points on your driving record. As of May 4, 2022, a driver who is driving at speeds of 105 mph or greater can be charged with reckless driving.
Driving on a Revoked/Suspended License
Driving with a suspended or revoked license can result in an infraction charge with a fine of up to $750. Your car will be impounded when you drive without a valid license, and your license revocation/suspension will be increased by one year.
Following too Closely
Following too closely can result in a fine as large as $750 and 60 points added to your driving record.
Driving too Fast for Road Conditions
This offense includes operating a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent under the existing conditions, including dusty, snowy, windy, wet, or icy roads. The penalties will depend on the existing conditions as well as your actual speed.
Texting While Driving
If you are convicted of texting while driving, you will pay a fine as high as $750, add 50 points to your driving history, endure a lengthy probationary period where any future texting while driving ticket will violate your probation, and a potential license suspension.
Failure to Yield
Failure to yield is a traffic offense that can result in a fine of up to $750 and 60 points being added to your driving history, along with the potential of a license suspension.
Failure to Stop
Failure to stop is an infraction, but carries penalties of up to $750 in fines, up to 60 points on your driving record, and can affect your ability to keep your driving privileges.
Speeding in a Construction Zone
If you are caught speeding in a construction zone, you will pay double the normal fines for speeding, along with adding up to 75 points to your driving record.
Failure to Signal
Failure to signal is an infraction that can result in a fine and add 40 points to your driving record.
No Proof of Insurance
Driving without proof of insurance is a misdemeanor offense in Utah. If you are caught driving without insurance, you will be fined at least $400 and potentially lose your driving privileges for a period of time. You will also be required to maintain SR-22 insurance for high-risk drivers, which is very expensive.
No Valid Registration
Driving without valid registration is a Class C misdemeanor with a minimum fine of $1,000; you can receive this ticket when you have no valid registration for the vehicle OR when you have simply forgotten to carry the registration card in your vehicle.
Equipment violations, such as no brake lights, are considered an infraction and can result in a fine.
Window Tint Violations
Violations regarding window tinging were enacted in Utah in 2005. You can find the specifics here, which vary according to the type of vehicle. Window tint violations are considered traffic infractions that can result in a fine.
DUI and related offenses are extremely serious and you will always benefit from having a Utah DUI attorney from Conyers & Nix on your side. A first-time DUI conviction brings a mandatory two-day jail term or 48 hours of community service, up to 180 days in jail, a four-to-eighteen-month suspension of your driver’s license, installation of an Ignition Interlock Device if your BAC was above 0.16 percent, fines of at least $1,310 (and possibly much more), and the likelihood of an increase in your car insurance—if you can even get insured.
Conyers & Nix
Attorneys Kate Conyers & Jesse Nix
Hiring a Utah Traffic Ticket Lawyer Can Make a Difference
Traffic tickets should be taken very seriously. Imagine if a simple speeding ticket nudges your points over the maximum allowed and you suddenly find yourself without a driver’s license. In most places in America, being without a driver’s license can seriously limit your life. Most Americans drive to and from work, take their children or themselves to school, and use their vehicles to run errands. If you are unable to drive, you could potentially lose your job and face many other unintended consequences. Kate Conyers and Jesse Nix are highly skilled Utah traffic ticket lawyers who are ready to help you protect your future.Contact Us