How Much Will a Traffic Ticket Raise My Insurance Rates?

Ask the Detroit Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorney:
How Much Will a Traffic Ticket Raise My Insurance Rates?

As experienced Detroit traffic ticket lawyers, we are often asked how much effect points will have on a client’s insurance rates. The short answer is “a lot.” But the full answer is much more complicated than that.

While traffic ticket fines can be different from Court to Court, driving record points are set by the Michigan Vehicle Code and are the same across all of Michigan, for any given traffic ticket. In other words, a careless driving ticket is always 3 points – whether you get it in Detroit or in Romulus or in Kalamazoo.

However – and this is a BIG HOWEVER – every insurance company treats points differently. Each auto insurance company has their own unique formula (“algorithm”) for determining your rate increase after you’ve had accidents or received driver’s record points.

This means that not every insurance company will penalize you the same, for the same number of points. For example, one major traffic ticket can increase your car insurance rate by only 20% with one insurer – and by 40% with another auto insurance carrier.

Obviously, the more points you have on your driving record, the more likely your insurer is to raise your rates.  But the number of points on your driving record may be treated differently by different car insurance companies.

Most insurance companies actually have their own point system – that is different than the Secretary of State point system. The insurers assign their own “point values” to each traffic ticket or accident. Then, they use their rating system to evaluate your insurance increase based on their “points” instead of each infraction.

If you want to find out what the specifics are for your insurance company, you should can request a copy of their rating factors from the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS). However, even with this information, it can be difficult to apply their exact formula to calculate your rate increases.

How Can I Keep Insurance Rates from Going Up When I Get Points?

If you already have points on your driving record, your best recourse is often to “shop around” for the best insurance rates. Since every insurer will treat your driving record points differently, you may find a difference of 30% or more. On a $2000 annual auto insurance policy, a savings of 30% saves you $600 per year.

But, by far, the best way to ensure that points do not raise your auto insurance rates is to hire an experienced Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorney to get the points reduced or dismissed entirely.

Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorneys Can Reduce Points

Under Michigan’s traffic ticket point system, points are placed on your driving record only after you have been convicted of, or found guilty of, or admitted responsible for, the traffic offense. So no points will affect your insurance rates if you are able to “beat” or “fight” your ticket. But remember, just paying the fee instead of “fighting” the ticket will result in automatic points. Also, ignoring the ticket will result in an automatic assessment of points.

Our Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorneys Can Help

If you are concerned about traffic ticket points, our experienced Detroit traffic ticket attorneys can help you understand the points you are facing – and fight to get them reduced or eliminated. Our lawyers have helped hundreds of Detroit residents reduce fines and points, and wherever possible even get their traffic tickets dismissed. Call us today for a free consultation with an experienced and affordable Detroit traffic ticket attorney.

Detroit Lawsuit Challenges Traffic Ticket Fines for the Poor

Detroit Women Bring Lawsuit to Challenge
Michigan Traffic Ticket Fines for the Poor

Like many people in Detroit, two woman received traffic tickets that they simply could not afford to pay. Kitia Harris and Adrian Fowler – both single mothers – received tickets for minor violations that they could not pay immediately. And, as is always the case, fines and penalties were added on. This made it even more impossible to pay the traffic tickets – and eventually both women lost their license.

25-year-old Kitia has a serious medical condition – so now she must rely on friends and family to take her to doctor’s appointments. And when no one can drive her, she is forced to cancel her treatment appointments.

Under Michigan’s current system, the Secretary of State automatically, indefinitely suspends a person’s licenses if they owe court-ordered fines and other fees, even if though they cannot afford to pay those fees. And as the late fees and driver responsibility fees keep piling on, it just becomes more and more impossible for the person to pay everything that is required in order to get their license back.

Lawsuit Claims Tickets Unfair to Poor

This vicious cycle of heaped-on traffic tickets fees, fines and penalties could happen to anyone. Perhaps it has even happened to you. In fact, an estimated 100,000 people in Michigan have their driver’s licenses suspended every year by because they didn’t, or couldn’t, pay their traffic tickets for minor traffic violations.

However, there may be some good news in store. Recently, attorneys for a national civil-rights organization called “Equal Justice Under Law” (EJUL) – along with Detroit’s Sugar Law Center attorneys – filed a class action lawsuit against Michigan’s Secretary of State, challenging these fees. That lawsuit accuses the State of Michigan of running a “wealth-based … scheme that traps some of the state’s poorest residents in a cycle of poverty.”

According to the lawsuit, Michigan unfairly keeps its poorest residents in a cycle of poverty by suspending their driver’s licenses when they can’t afford to pay court debts.  Without their license, poorer people cannot get or keep jobs, take care of their children, or even obtain necessary medical treatment.

EJUL is arguing that this in violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment – which punishes people for no other reason than they are too poor to pay the excessive traffic ticket fines, fees & penalties.

Last year, the Department of Justice also wrote a letter addressed to all courts across the country expressing concern about how poor people are affected by fees, fines and bond practices that sometimes cause people to stay in jail simply because they lack money.

Detroit Traffic Ticket Attorneys

It is too early for our Detroit traffic ticket attorneys to tell whether or not this lawsuit will eventually help reduce the unfair burden of traffic ticket fines on those who cannot afford them in Detroit and across Michigan. Our experienced Detroit traffic ticket attorneys are hopeful that this will be a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, if your license has been suspended for unpaid or outstanding Detroit traffic ticket fines, fees or penalties, call our attorneys for a free consultation today. Our attorneys will be happy to explain your rights and try to help you resolve your Detroit traffic tickets in the most affordable way possible.

Southfield Traffic Attorneys Discuss the 3 Kinds of Tickets

Southfield Traffic Attorneys Discuss:
The 3 Types of Traffic Tickets

If you received a traffic ticket in Southfield, Michigan, our attorneys want you to understand your rights. Choosing how you handle your traffic ticket will not only protect your driving record – but will help you avoid costly insurance hikes and/or even jail time.

In Southfield Michigan a traffic ticket can be either a civil infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony. Each type of traffic ticket needs to be handled differently. In this article, our experienced Southfield Traffic Attorneys explain the differences of the three types of traffic tickets.

The Three Types of Traffic Tickets:

(1.) Southfield Civil Infraction Traffic Tickets

Most traffic tickets issued in Southfield, Michigan are civil infractions – which means that they are not a “crime” and there is no potential jail time. However, civil infractions can still come with large fines – as well as points on your driving record. And accumulated points can result in a driver’s license suspension and skyrocketing insurance to premiums.

Southfield traffic tickets are handled in the 46th District Court. Southfield now offers 5 options for responding to a civil traffic ticket. However, if you ignore it – or if even you admit responsibility and pay the fine – you may receive points that can result in license suspension or insurance increases.

If you have received a civil traffic ticket in Southfield Michigan, you should always call an experienced Southfield traffic ticket attorney. Our lawyers can help you make sure you address your civil traffic ticket in a way that will reduce or eliminate fines and points.

(2.) Southfield Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets

If you receive a misdemeanor traffic ticket – you may be facing a penalty that includes a jail sentence of up to 93 days. Southfield Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets are actually “crimes” – which means you will have a criminal record, in addition to points, if you do not beat the ticket.

Some of the more common Southfield Traffic Misdemeanor Tickets include: Reckless Driving, Driving with a Suspended License, and Leaving the Scene of An Accident.

Never ignore a Southfield Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets, because failing to appear for your traffic misdemeanor arraignment (hearing) will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.

Also, traffic misdemeanors cannot be removed from your criminal record. And – in some cases – a traffic misdemeanor can also keep you from being able to remove or “expunge” other crimes from your record. So ignoring a Southfield traffic misdemeanor – or just pleading guilty and paying the fine – can leave you with a criminal record for the rest of your life.

Many people do not realize that a misdemeanor traffic ticket has such serious consequences. But you should always discuss your options with an experienced Southfield traffic ticket attorney. Our experienced lawyers can typically have your charges, fines and points reduced – or even dismissed.

(3.) Southfield Felony Traffic Offense

Technically, traffic “tickets” for which the penalty exceeds 93 days in jail, are actually called “felony complaints”, rather than a “ticket.” If you are stopped in Southfield for a felony traffic offense you will typically be arrested and taken into custody right there. And if you are not apprehended at the time of the offense, a warrant for your arrest will be issued.

Common Southfield traffic felonies can include: third offense OWI/DUI, vehicular manslaughter, negligent homicide, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle, and throwing dangerous objects from a vehicle.

You should never try to represent yourself in a felony traffic case. Not only can you lose your license, but you can also go to jail, which can mean losing your job. And a felony conviction also means that you will have great difficulty finding a job in the future due to your criminal record.

If you are facing a felony traffic offense in the 46th District Court – or anywhere in Wayne, Macomb or Oakland County – it is important that you talk to an experienced traffic ticket attorney. Our aggressive, affordable traffic lawyers understand that your freedom, your job and your financial future is at stake. We will give you a free consultation so you understand your rights, and we will fight your felony traffic matter with every resource available.

Our Southfield Traffic Ticket Attorneys Can Help

If you are facing a civil, misdemeanor or felony traffic charge, call our experienced Southfield traffic ticket attorneys today. Our lawyers have helped hundreds of people avoid jail time, reduce fines and points, and wherever possible get their tickets dismissed.