Most of us rely on driving to get from place to place. No matter how careful we are on the road, one split-second mistake can result in a speeding ticket or other traffic offense.
Whether or not you’ve been in this situation before, you’re probably concerned with what receiving a traffic ticket means for you. Do you have to pay the fine? Will this affect your driving privileges? What steps should you take?
Understand how your state tracks traffic offenses
Every state has guidelines and penalties for traffic offenses, and most use a point system that assigns points to each violation. If you exceed a specific number of points, you may face license suspension or revocation.
Mississippi does not use a point system. Instead, Mississippi records every moving violation on your record. A moving violation is anything that happens while your car is in motion, such as speeding, drunk driving, reckless driving, or running a stop sign/red light.
Since Mississippi doesn’t use points to track offenses, many of their traffic offenses have hefty fines and penalties. It can also be unclear how many violations will result in a license suspension or revocation.
What you should do after a citation
If you receive a traffic offense citation, you have two general options:
- Pay the fine and accept guilt. Most traffic tickets will require you to pay a fine without having to appear in court. However, paying the fine does mean you are admitting guilt for the offense, and the offense will still be on your record.
- Dispute the citation and appear in court. If you want to fight the citation, you can appear in court to make your case and potentially get the citation dismissed. This is not always guaranteed but can be a good choice, particularly if you have multiple offenses on your record. Since it’s impossible to know how many citations can result in a suspension of your license, fighting your citation can lower the number of offenses on your record.
If you cannot pay the fine or appear in court (if requested on your citation), you may lose your license. The process of reinstating your license can take weeks to complete and includes having to clear your record as well as pay a substantial reinstatement fee.
Driving is an essential part of our day-to-day lives. We need it to get to work and to fulfill our responsibilities. License suspension or revocation can be scary and detrimental to your livelihood. If you believe you may face these severe penalties, consider consulting with an attorney who can help you keep your license.