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Do I Need an Attorney for Traffic Offenses?

If you were stopped for a traffic violation, you likely were given a ticket. Many people do not think twice and simply pay the ticket. However, that can be a mistake. Sometimes that best option is to prove your innocence in court. Traffic offenses add up as points on your driving record. If you accumulate too many points, you could face a suspension of your license.

Wisconsin Demerit Point System

Points are assigned to every type of traffic offense. Whenever a driver is found guilty or convicted of a traffic violation, points will be assessed to his or her license. The court sends the records of a traffic violation conviction to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Division of Motor Vehicles. Points are then applied to your driving record. Points are assessed according to the seriousness of the offense. Points range from 0 to 6 and are categorized by driver’s license type.

Point assessments for passenger vehicle drivers include:

  • 6 points – Attempting to elude a police officer
  • 6 points – Leaving the scene of an accident
  • 6 points – Operating a vehicle while under the influence
  • 6 points – Reckless driving
  • 6 points – Speeding more than 20 mph over the posted limit
  • 6 points – Violation of occupational license
  • 4 points – Improper lane change
  • 4 points – Wrong way driving
  • 4 points – Failure to yield
  • 4 points – Inattentive driving
  • 4 points – Driving too fast for conditions
  • 4 points – Failure to yield to emergency vehicle
  • 4 points – Speeding more than 10 but less than 20 mph over the speed limit
  • 3 points – Failure to signal
  • 3 points – Following too closely
  • 3 points – Illegal passing
  • 3 points – Driving with an expired license
  • 3 points – Illegal turn
  • 3 points – Speeding under 10 mph over the limit

These are the most common traffic offense point assessments. For a complete listing, visit the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation website. Those driving with a probationary license are subject to double demerit point assessment.

How can I Reduce My Points?

The law allows for the reduction of points when you complete a traffic safety course. Approved traffic safety courses are available through a number of companies. Drivers who wish to take advantage of a point reduction may take a traffic safety course if they choose. You will receive a three-point total reduction on your assessed points once you successfully complete an approved course. You are allowed only one three-point reduction during a three-year period. Therefore, a point reduction is only helpful in some situations.

What are the Penalties for Having Too Many Points?

When you accumulate too many demerit points on your driver’s license, you are subject to penalties. The more points you have accumulated the more severe the penalties. If you accumulate 12 or more points within a 12-month period, your driving privileges will be suspended.

  • 12 to 16 points – Two-month suspension
  • 17 to 22 points – Four-month suspension
  • 23 to 30 points – Six-month suspension
  • More than 30 points – One-year suspension

Probationary drivers are subject to different penalties. If you have 12 to 30 points assessed, you are subject to a six-month suspension. If you have more than 30 points, you are subject to a one-year suspension.

How an Experienced Attorney Will Help

As you can see, demerit points can add up quickly. Sometimes you might have more than one violation at the same time. Many people do not realize that by paying the ticket they are automatically guilty of the violation. Therefore, points will be assessed. An experienced traffic attorney can help you resolve your tickets more favorably and possibly avoid getting a conviction altogether. An attorney will represent you in court and will fight to defend your case. When successful, you will save points on your record and may be able to keep your license. This is particularly important for people who drive commercially for a living such as rideshare drivers and truck drivers.

If you obtained a traffic violation, you need to act quickly. Do not pay the ticket, but instead contact our legal team for guidance and legal representation. Contact Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to discuss the details of your case.

Published April 4, 2019
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