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:
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
We have organized a statewide network of attorneys. In our network are both attorneys who work for Feifer & Greenberg and attorneys who work for other firms that regularly provide of-counsel representation to our clients. This statewide network allows us to match clients in a particular county or court with local attorneys who regularly appear on similar matters in the same county or court. It enables us to help clients anywhere in New York State and in our opinion provide particularly effective and affordable representation for our clients. Local attorneys can draw on their particular local experiences and, with travel time and expense removed from the equation, help us keep our legal fees low.
We recommend fighting almost all tickets. Even if the current NY traffic tickets aren’t particularly harmful, you have an incentive to keep your record clean for the future. Convictions quickly lead to surcharges, insurance increases and other complications. You should strongly consider any decision to pay a ticket without fighting.
Our lawyers are experienced, prepared attorneys who understand the nuances of fighting traffic tickets. Experience, preparation and good decision making help us to help our clients avoid points, surcharges, insurance increases and the other negatives that can easily result from a traffic ticket.