I often am asked by client's (and friends) what to do if they get a traffic ticket. Most people ask if they should just pay the ticket. My answer to this question is unequivocably NO.
In Indiana, most traffic violations are filed as Infractions. An Infraction is not a criminal charge and therefore cannot be punished by jail time. Some traffic offenses are criminal in nature, such as Reckless Driving, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, or Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI).
Although traffic violations offenses such as Speeding or Disregarding an Automatic Signal, can't lead to jail time, they can cause problems. A judgment (sometimes called a conviction) for a traffic offense is sent to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Accumulating too many convictions can lead to an order to complete a defensive driving course, a driver's license suspension or even a determination by the BMV that the driver qualifies as an Habitual Traffic Violator.
If a driver receives a traffic ticket and forgets to pay the ticket or fails to appear in Court for the ticket, that person's drivers license can be suspended indefinitely. The driver would then be driving on a suspended license, which can lead to further license suspension time and greater consequences.
Anyone who receives a traffic ticket should speak with a qualified traffic ticket attorney to determine how a conviction could affect their ability to drive. I frequently speak with clients or potential clients about traffic tickets. Many times, a conviction can be avoided by enrolling in an infraction deferral program. However, these deferral programs are not available for all charges and all drivers. A quick telephone call is all it takes to potentially avoid a lengthy driver's license suspension.
If you, a friend or family member has questions regarding traffic violations, Habitual Traffic Violator (HTV) issues or Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI), please contact me, Gregory A. Miller, a Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Lawyer, at (260) 833-7249.