If you were pulled over and issued a traffic ticket, or arrested for a criminal traffic offense, we recommend you hire a traffic ticket defense attorney right away. When faced with a traffic ticket, your first instinct may be to pay a fine. You think you can send in a check and the problem will go away. But it does not always go away. Paying traffic tickets in Fayetteville and throughout the rest of Arkansas is the same thing as pleading guilty. That violation goes on your driving record which means a few driving record points are added. If you get enough tickets, those points add up and you will have to deal with tough consequences.
Instead of putting yourself in a difficult position in the future, you can fight a Northwest AR ticket in court. To do so effectively, you should hire a Fayetteville criminal defense attorney to represent you. To talk with our traffic attorneys about how they can help, contact The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas LLP through our online contact form or call (479) 316-3760. Our traffic attorneys are former Benton, Sebastian, and Washington County prosecuting attorneys, and they have the experience and knowledge to help you navigate this process in our region.
Common Arkansas Traffic Tickets
Some of the most common traffic tickets written throughout Arkansas include:
- Speeding in a School Zone
- Failure to Stop at a School Bus
- Failure to Stop at a Red Light
- Failure to Obey a Stop Sign
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Hit and Run)
- Careless and Prohibited Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Driving Without a License
- Driving on a Suspended License
- Driving Without Proof of Auto Insurance
- Failure to Wear a Seatbelt
- Driving a Vehicle With Expired Tags
- Driving While Intoxicated/Driving Under the Influence (DWI/DUI)
Some of these tickets are violations, which are not crimes. However, others are criminal matters. For example, speeding in Arkansas may be a violation. However, if you are speeding more than 20 mph over the limit, you could be charged with reckless driving, which is a Class B misdemeanor offense.
If you are convicted of a criminal traffic offense, you will have a permanent criminal record and could face harsher penalties, including jail time.
Penalties for Arkansas Traffic Tickets
If you are ticketed for a traffic violation in Arkansas, you should know what the penalties are before you ignore the ticket or write a check. You should know what the consequences really are.
Fines, Fees, and Surcharges
The most common and well-known penalty for a traffic ticket is a fine. However, you also may have to pay various fees and surcharges. These additional costs can double how much you thought you would need to pay. The fine for the ticket and the additional costs depend on the county where you were ticketed.
Driving Record Points
The next most common penalty is driver’s license points, which are the same throughout the state. Depending on the traffic violation, you will have a certain number of points added to your driving record. Each violation ranges between three and 14 points, though penalties resulting in three points are most common.
If you accumulate between 10 and 13 points, you will receive a warning letter from the State. If you accumulate between 14 and 17 points, your license will be suspended for three months. For 18 to 23 points, your license is suspended for six months. For 24 points or more, your license is suspended for one year.
Loss of Driver’s License
Another possible penalty is a driver’s license suspension, revocation, or cancellation, which may be unrelated to the points. Depending on the violation and your driving history, you could lose your license for a period of time. If your license is revoked and not suspended, you have to fulfill additional requirements to get your license back.
Higher Insurance Costs
Traffic violations also have long-term financial consequences. As a result of the violation and additional driving record points, your auto insurance premiums will increase. You may have to spend hundreds of dollars more per year to insure your vehicle. Additionally, it can take years for the premiums to no longer be affected by the prior violation.
If the traffic violation was a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor, you also face time in jail. Typically, for a first-time conviction, you could be sentenced to up to 10 days in jail. Although, certain traffic offenses are specifically punished to a greater degree. A first-time reckless driving offense, during which no one was hurt, can lead to up to 90 days in jail.
Penalties for Commercial Drivers
If you have your commercial driver’s license (CDL), and you are in your commercial vehicle when you receive a ticket, you may face harsher penalties, which could impact your livelihood.
Having a CDL may change the nature of the ticket or the possible penalty. Certain traffic violations by CDL drivers are considered serious traffic violations. If you commit two serious traffic violations within a three-year period, your CDL is disqualified for 60 days. If you commit three serious traffic violations within three years, your CDL is disqualified for 120 days.
Those are state-based penalties for CDL traffic tickets. Your employer could take a harsher view of traffic violations. It is possible that you could lose your job if you get a traffic violation on your record.
Additionally, certain traffic offenses are taken much more seriously when committed by commercial drivers, including DUIs and leaving the scene of an accident.
As a CDL holder, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI for having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04 percent or higher. This is half of the legal limit for drives in personal vehicles. If you are convicted of a DUI, you will lose your license for at least one year. A second CDL DUI will lead to lifetime disqualification.
If you are facing a hit and run charge, which was allegedly committed in your commercial vehicle, call a traffic ticket lawyer today. If you plead or are found guilty, your CDL can be suspended for one year. If your commercial vehicle carried hazardous materials at the time, your license will be suspended for three years, and if this was a second offense, you will be disqualified for life.
The bottom line: if you are a commercial driver, and you get a traffic ticket or are charged with a traffic crime, you need to call an experienced Fayetteville lawyer right away.
Fighting a Traffic Ticket in Fayetteville
If you were pulled over and ticketed, you need to consider what the traffic ticket is for, how it’s likely to be punished, and your driving record. Then, you need to consider whether you want to contest your violation. In most circumstances, we recommend fighting traffic tickets and doing what you can to maintain a clean driving record.
To fight a ticket, you have two options: contact the district court prior to your plea and arraignment date, which is on your ticket, or appear in court on that date. You have to inform the court that you are contesting the ticket. To ensure you follow the court rules and have a fair chance of fighting the violation, you should hire a traffic ticket defense attorney. If you do not contact the court or appear for your plea and arraignment date, a warrant will likely be issued for your arrest and the penalties against you can increase.
Let Us Fight a Northwest, AR Ticket For You
If you have been ticketed for a traffic violation in Arkansas, whether it is a violation or misdemeanor offense, our attorneys at The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas LLP are here to help you. We will ensure you appropriately respond to the ticket and get your day in court. We will strive to show you did not violate the law. We also can work to mitigate the consequences of a traffic violation, such as reduced fees. If the violation was a criminal offense, we will fight hard to keep you out of a jail.