As a Columbus, OH based speeding ticket attorney, I am always surprised (and a little dismayed) at how many drivers simply sign and return traffic court summons with payments for fines and administrative fees. Make no mistake, if you want to contest a speeding ticket, the ticket itself is an order to appear before a traffic court judge.
Of course, the city and state make it easy for drivers to avoid court by pleading guilty and accepting the standard penalties. Taking advantage of that convenience can have unforeseen consequences.
Drivers who think they are saving themselves the hassle of appearing in court by just paying speeding tickets actually expose themselves to points on their license, an increased risk for having their licenses suspended, higher auto insurance premiums, and possible issues with keeping jobs that involve driving company vehicles or being on company insurance. Here are brief summaries of these four too-often ignored implications of not contesting a speeding ticket in central Ohio.
Pleading guilty to speeding by signing the ticket and paying the fine and fees puts 2-4 points on your Ohio driver’s license. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles keeps track of these points, and they cannot be erased for two years.
Drivers also need to realize that a speeding ticket is sometimes much more than a speeding ticket. Driving excessively above a posted speed limit in Columbus may be cited as reckless operation. This is often a 4-point offense, and drivers must go to court to receive their sentence since a judge can decide to suspend the driver’s license.
If you rack up 12 penalty points with the BMV during a 24-month period, you automatically have your Ohio driver’s license suspended for 6 months. That suspension applies to your own personal license and any commercial driving certification you hold.
While it is possible to restore limited personal driving privileges while under suspension, a suspended CDL means no legal commercial driving at all. If you get caught violating the terms of a license suspension, you can end up in jail. You will also be slapped with a new, longer suspension.
Traffic violations become a matter of public record, and your auto insurance company will find out that you plead guilty or were convicted of a traffic offense. Nearly all insurers hike rates for drivers who have speeding offenses on their records. The amount of the increase will vary from policy to policy, but insurance can quickly become unaffordable for many people. And if you drive without insurance in Ohio, you will have your license suspended. Ohio speeding laws
A further insurance consideration arises when you need to reinstate a suspended license. Ohio often requires drivers to obtain proof of insurance to have their license reinstated. Paying for that insurance after having a suspended license can be quite costly.
Drivers who can absorb the financial hits, avoid suspensions, and stay straight with their insurance companies can still suffer long-term pain from speeding tickets. Just as an insurer will find a speeding offense, so will an employer who bothers to look. Trucking companies, bus services, ride sharing operations, and contracting firms will check.
When a company or agency informs employees that maintaining a clean driving record is a requirement for landing and holding onto a job, that company is almost always serious. The only way to keep a speeding ticket off your record is to have the ticket dismissed. You cannot get it dismissed if you sign the summons and pay the fine.
If, after reading this, you decide to fight you speeding ticket, consider reaching out to Colin Maher of The Maher Law Firm. Based in Columbus and willing to take cases throughout Franklin County, Attorney Maher regularly ranks among the best speeding ticket lawyers in Ohio. He offers free consultations and will personally appear in court for clients.
You can speak to a Columbus speeding ticket attorney now by calling (614) 205-2208 or request a call back by completing this online contact form.