Road Law
Creativity at work

By Jeff McConnell & James Mennella, Attorneys at law

We get a lot of calls from drivers asking whether they should just pay their simple, non-moving, 0-point ticket or whether they should fight it.

We’ll usually ask the driver whether they received an inspection and an inspection report at the time they received the ticket. Whenever you’re stopped and an officer performs a vehicle inspection with an inspection report, any alleged problems the officer includes in the report will usually result in “safety rating” points being assessed to your safety score.

So, although your ticket may charge you with a simple, non-moving violation, you may want to go ahead and fight it. If you’re successful with your ticket in court, you’ll have a much better chance to remove or reduce any points you got from the inspection report.

Q. I got DOT’d and the cop gave me a ticket for “Defective Brakes.” The cop also did an inspection report and listed “Defective Brakes” on it. Since defective brakes carries no points and is a non-moving charge in my state, I won’t get any driver points on my record even if I’m convicted of this charge. So, because I won’t get any driver points on my record for a “Defective Brakes” charge, I was thinking about just paying the ticket and being done with it. Am I doing the right thing?

A. No. Paying a simple, 0-point, non-mover isn’t always the best thing to do. For example, your charge of “Defective Brakes,” yes, it’s a 0 point/non-mover and, in most states, if you pay this ticket, you won’t receive any points on your driver record. But a conviction of your charge, i.e. “Defective Brakes” or “Defective Equipment,” will actually appear on your state driver record.

If you don’t want this charge to appear on your state driver record, you’ll need to fight the ticket. Also, if you’re concerned about your CSA rating, you’ll need to fight the ticket. If you’re successful and your ticket is dismissed in court, you can ask the court clerk for a certified/file-stamped copy of your disposition. Once you have proof from the court that your ticket was dismissed, you can usually have the safety points from the same charge removed, too.

Q. My CSA safety score shows points for a ticket that I never received. The only thing the cop gave me was an inspection report, and I made the repairs at the scene right in front of the cop. How can I get safety points for a ticket I never received?

A. Remember: You usually get safety points whenever the officer issues a safety inspection report. So you don’t have to be issued a ticket to get safety points. All you need for safety points is an inspection report, period.

But if you were issued a ticket and a safety inspection report, you need to fight the ticket so you’ll have a chance to have your charge dismissed or amended. If you do have your charge dismissed or amended, then you can do an online Data Q challenge and, with proof of your dismissal or amendment from the court, you’ll usually also be successful in having your CSA points removed or amended. LL

Send any questions or comments regarding transportation law to: Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, Road Law, 3441 W. Memorial, Suite 4, Oklahoma City, OK 73134; call 405-242-2030, fax 888-588-8983, or email roadlaw@att.net.

This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Land Line Magazine or its publisher. Please remember everyone’s legal situation is different. Consult with an attorney for specific advice on your situation.