One of the most common questions we get is, “Does going to traffic school remove a ticket from your driving record?”
In some situations taking a defensive driving class may be required by the court to keep the ticket off your record altogether. In other situations, it may just help minimize the damage from new or existing tickets as far as points and insurance are concerned.. In other situations, it may not reduce your points or keep a violation off your driving record.
Drivers have three options when they receive a ticket:
- Plead guilty and pay the fine.
- Plead not guilty and go to court and negotiate a settlement.
- Plead not guilty and go to court and proceed to a full hearing or trial.
In some situations, defensive driving traffic school may be required by the court or prosecutor as part of a negotiated settlement. In other situations, it may be helpful to reduce the number of points on a license or reduce one’s insurance premium.
What is traffic school?
“Traffic school” refers to remedial courses in traffic safety and safe driving practices. Traffic school is also known as a defensive driving course or accident prevention course. In NY specifically, it’s known as the PIRP…the point and insurance reduction program.
The main purpose of going to traffic school is to help keep your points and insurance as low as possible if you’ve been convicted of any moving violations. Even with a perfectly clean driving record it can help with your automobile insurance.
Attending traffic school and taking a defensive driving course will only help remove points if you have taken the class within 18 months of the date you received the violation.
Does traffic school remove tickets from your record?
Attending traffic school does not just automatically remove or erase a ticket from your driving record unless it’s part of a negotiation with a court. In cases like that, taking the class will help keep the conviction off your record altogether.
In most situations, attending traffic school and completing a defensive driving class will show up on your driving record as a “good” thing to help offset anything “bad” on there (convictions). An insurance company or employer can see that you took a class and that can only help in their evaluation of you as a driver.
In some situations, attending traffic school can actually help you avoid a suspension. If you are about to exceed 11 points (the general suspension line in NY), taking a class within 18 months of the point carrying violations can reduce your point total by up to four points. In some cases, this alone is the difference between suspension and no suspension.
Should I fight my ticket or go to traffic school and pay my ticket?
We don’t see this as an either / or situation.
If you plead guilty and pay the fine on your ticket, then the infraction goes on your record. You can then take a defensive driving class and this will help reduce your point total and help keep your insurance at a minimum but it will not keep the ticket itself off your record.
We’re always going to recommend pleading not guilty and fighting your tickets instead of just paying them. Then, if you are unable to keep all the points off your license by fighting a ticket, you may attend traffic school to help offset those points or any insurance increase that may follow.
Even if you successfully fight your ticket and keep it completely off your record the class may have some value. It can still serve as an insurance benefit even to those with no points or convictions whatsoever. Thus the name point and insurance reduction program.
Call TicketHelp Today
If you have received a traffic ticket, call TicketHelp at (888) 445-9886 today. We can help you decide what is right for you and talk you through the process of fighting a ticket and going to traffic school and completing an accident prevention course.