How to Prevent Points from Mistakenly Being Added to Your Missouri Driving RecordPosted on
Warning: Points can be mistakenly added to your Missouri driving record for a speeding ticket or any other traffic violation that has been amended to a non-moving, no-point violation if your payment of the fine is recorded incorrectly at the court clerk’s office.
When You Pay the Fine, Provide the Court with a Copy of the Prosecutor’s Offer of Amendment and Get a Receipt from the Court for Your Payment
In order to prevent your payment from being recorded incorrectly and points being added to your driving record, make sure you send a copy of the Prosecuting Attorney’s written offer of amendment (sometimes called a “Recommendation” or “Plea Agreement”) to the court along with your payment for the fine. This will alert the court clerk to the fact that the Prosecutor has offered to amend the moving violation charge. It also shows that the fine you are paying is for an amended charge, such as “Illegal Parking,” which is a non-moving, no-point violation, and is not for the original speeding ticket, which is a moving violation charge that causes points to be added to your driving record.
You should also request a receipt when you pay the fine, in case there is a dispute regarding payment.
Here’s a real-life example of how points can be mistakenly recorded on your driving record: You get a speeding ticket on your way to work, so you hire an attorney to negotiate a plea bargain with the Prosecuting Attorney to have the speeding ticket amended to a non-moving, no-point violation. (Some people call this process “getting a ticket fixed.”)
Next, your attorney sends you the Prosecutor’s written offer of amendment, telling you the specific non-moving violation (such as “Illegal Parking” or “Excessive Vehicle Noise”) to which the Prosecutor is willing to amend your speeding ticket, the amount of the fine and court costs, and the due date for payment. (You will pay a higher fine plus court costs after a traffic ticket is amended to a non-moving violation, but no points will be added to your driving record.)
Here’s where the first mistake happens: You forget to mail the Prosecutor’s written offer of amendment to the court, but you do remember to mail your payment for the fine and court costs by the due date, so you think everything is taken care of.
The second mistake: The court clerk receives your payment but does not realize it’s for the amended non-moving violation charge because you forgot to include a copy of the Prosecutor’s offer of amendment with your payment, so the original moving violation is reported to the Missouri Department of Revenue and 2-3 points (depending on the nature of the charge) are added to your driving record.
Several months later, while attempting to renew your car insurance, your insurance agent reviews your driving record and informs you that there are points on your driving record for the ticket you thought had been amended to a non-moving violation.
How Many Points Can You Accumulate Before Your Missouri Driver’s License is Suspended?
Keep in mind that, if you accumulate 12 points on your driving record within 12 months, the State of Missouri will revoke your driver’s license for 1 year. If you rack up 8 points within 18 months, your license will be suspended for 30 days if it’s a first-time suspension, or 60 days if it’s a second suspension.
In addition, insurance companies usually review your driving record before quoting a price for car insurance, and having points on your driving record is generally believed to cause your insurance premium to increase.
How Can You Find Out How Many Points You Have on Your Missouri Driving Record?
If you want to find out how many points you have on your driving record, call the Missouri Department of Revenue at (573) 526-2407 and press extension 2 after listening to the recorded message. If you want a copy of your driving record, you can go to any Department of Motor Vehicles office and purchase a copy. You will have to show a photo i.d. and pay a fee of $7.88.
What Should You Do to Prevent Points from Mistakenly Being Added to Your Driving Record?
In order to prevent points from mistakenly being added to your Missouri driving record for a speeding ticket or other traffic violation that has been amended to a non-moving violation, I suggest you do the following:
1) Request a receipt from the court clerk whenever you pay a traffic ticket fine. If you mail your payment to the court, you must include a letter requesting a receipt and enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope, or else the court will not send the receipt to you. If a court clerk refuses to mail a receipt to you, then go to the court and pay your fine in person and request a receipt for your payment.
2) When you pay the fine, make sure you provide the court clerk with a copy of the Prosecuting Attorney’s written offer of amendment that your attorney will give to you. This document is sometimes called a “Recommendation” or a “Plea Agreement” and is your only record that the Prosecutor has offered to amend the moving violation to a non-moving, no-point violation. If you fail to provide this document to the court clerk when you pay your fine, then it is possible that a court clerk could mistakenly report to the Department of Revenue that the fine you paid was for the original moving violation, instead of for the amended non-moving violation charge.
3) Follow up by calling the Missouri Department of Revenue at (573) 526-2407 ext. 2 to confirm that no points were added to your driving record.
To learn more about Missouri traffic law, go to our traffic law resources page for links to information regarding Missouri speeding tickets, points, Missouri drivers licenses, courts, and other traffic-related issues.
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