In Utah, traffic tickets are Class C Misdemeanors. The Utah Traffic Code can be found at 41-6a-101. It is rather large and has 20 different subchapters.
When you get a Utah traffic ticket, following are a few top legal concerns your attorney needs to address.
(1) Too Many Points. Utah uses the points system for evaluating driving fitness and providing sanctions for poor drivers. The Utah point system is as follows:
Provisional Point System:
A driver, under 21 years of age who accumulates 70 or more points in three years, may be suspended or denied for one month to a year, depending upon severity of the record.
Regular Point System:
A driver 21 years of age or older who accumulates 200 or more points in three years, may be suspended for three months to a year, depending upon severity of the record.
The degree of sanction varies depending upon how horrible the driving record is. Traffic tickets are treated differently from car collisions causing injuries. Every three years you can take traffic school and knock off 50 points. Most every Utah Justice Court has traffic court information.
When structuring a plea and sentence arrangement for your traffic ticket, it is useful to have a printout of your driving record so you can negotiate smartly. If you have points to give, you will not have to fight as hard to get the case dismissed or reduced. But if your points are hovering around 200, you will need to seek a plea or dismissal that keeps your license.
(2) Plea in Abeyance. Your attorney should always be on the lookout for a Plea in Abeyance (“PIA”) opportunity for your traffic ticket. A PIA was created by the legislature and can be found at Utah Code Ann. 77-2a-101. Essentially a PIA says that you are guilty, but the points are not reported to the Utah Driver License Division and, therefore, not assessed against your 200 allowable points. Then if you successfully complete probation for 6-12 months, the entire ticket is dismissed. It is a good deal.
(3) Insurance Rates. When you are found guilty of a Utah traffic offense, your car insurance may go up. Generally, each insurance company handles traffic offenses and subsequent rate hikes individually.
(4) Non-Resident Violator Compact. If you are an out of state driver, is your home state a member of the non-resident violator compact? The Compact can be found at Utah Code Ann. 53-3-701. The compact basically shares traffic violation information about it’s members so that other states can discipline you when you commit traffic offenses in other states. Essentially, situational awareness for member states. Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, and Wisconsin are not members of the Compact.
(5) Other Consequences. Pleading guilty to a Utah traffic ticket can have collateral consequences. One big example is where you were involved in a car collision and it was your fault. Any statements you make at the podium if pleading guilty may and will be used against you in any subsequent personal injury action. Therefore, it is generally best to plead “no contest,” which means that you are guilty, but your plea cannot be used against you in other court proceedings.
If you have questions about your speeding ticket violation or conviction, contact the experienced Provo criminal law attorneys at Howard Lewis & Petersen, P.C. today!Posted May 18th, 2016