Traffic Violations Defense Attorney in Covington, Kentucky
Kentucky’s roads and highways are some of the most traveled in the country. With road-trippers passing through heading to popular East Coast and Gulf Coast vacation spots, people visiting our state’s tourism attractions, and semi-trucks traveling to and from UPS headquarters in Louisville, we see a high volume of out-of-state drivers and a wide variety of vehicles on the road. An unfortunate byproduct of this transportation influx is increased opportunity for being charged with traffic violations.
If you have received a ticket for a moving or non-moving violation in Kentucky, it’s important to understand your rights and what steps to take next. Our criminal defense and traffic law attorney at Ganote Law, LLC is an experienced and passionate litigator who's ready to help you seek justice. Get the dedicated legal support you deserve when you call our office in Covington, Kentucky.
Types of Traffic Offenses
While the majority of traffic offenses are categorized as violations (also called infractions), depending on their severity, they can also be classified as misdemeanors or felonies.
The least serious traffic offense, a traffic violation is typically defined as an act or omission that's prohibited by law but is not a crime. Traffic infractions can be further broken down into moving violations and non-moving violations.
Violating a traffic law while your vehicle is in motion could constitute a moving violation. Common examples include:
Changing lanes without signaling
Failing to stop at a stop sign
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Racing other vehicles
Eluding an officer
On the other hand, non-moving violations are typically understood as violations that occur while your vehicle is not in motion. Common examples include:
Parking in a crosswalk
Parking in front of an expired parking meter
Parking illegally in a handicapped spot
Parking in a no-parking zone
However, Kentucky also recognizes infractions like inattentive driving, driving with a broken taillight, and not wearing a seat belt while driving as non-moving violations. What truly separates moving violations from non-moving violations is how they’re handled by the court and the Department of Licensing (DOL). A speeding ticket, for instance, would be reported to the DOL, but a non-moving violation, like parking in front of a fire hydrant, would not. Certain infractions are ordered by law to not be reported to the DOL and insurance companies.
As you can see, traffic laws and violations can be confusing to navigate, especially when considering the nuances involved in each case. That’s why consulting a knowledgeable attorney is crucial to understand the best way to respond to your ticket and how it will affect your driving record.
Understanding Kentucky’s Point System
After getting a traffic ticket, many drivers opt to just pay the fine so they can get the process over with as soon as possible. However, paying a ticket fine is essentially the same as pleading guilty to a traffic offense. Motorists who choose to plead guilty should be aware of the possible consequences:
Certain traffic violations, like speeding, will be automatically reported to the Kentucky Driver Services Division. In an effort to keep the country’s roads as safe as possible, Kentucky routinely shares information concerning infractions with other states.
The points you receive will be added to your driving record.
Kentucky is one of multiple states that utilizes a point system. When you receive a ticket, it will have a specific point value associated with it, as outlined below:
3 Points: Speeding 11-15 MPH, failure to yield, improper lane usage, careless driving, stop violation (traffic signal, railroad crossing, stop sign)
4 Points: Reckless driving, tailgating/following too closely, changing drivers, out-of-control vehicle
5 Points: Improper passing
6 Points: Speeding 16-25 MPH, failure to stop for a school bus, committing 2+ violations at once
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of your offense, its corresponding point value will go on your driving record and accumulate with any previous infractions. The more points you have, the more you’re at risk of losing your license, receiving harsher penalties for future traffic offenses, and being assigned higher insurance rates.
While this point system helps the state and DOL keep tabs on dangerous drivers, it also makes it possible for unjust citations to snowball into unfair consequences. Don’t let this happen to you. If you’ve received a traffic ticket in Kentucky, reach out to our attorney for help with fighting the violation.
Fines and Penalties for Traffic Violations
Your fines and other penalties will depend on the severity of your traffic infraction, as well as the amount of points you have on your record. Receiving numerous traffic violations can lead to convictions, license suspensions, and revocations. These penalties will show up on your 3-year and 5-year driving records, which can have negative implications for your insurance rates and future employment opportunities, especially for those who drive commercial vehicles for a living.
If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you have to notify your employer within 30 days after a violation. Some violations carry federally-mandated penalties that can severely impact your income and career.
You may be able to dismiss traffic tickets and remove points from your driving record by completing an online defensive driving course, but you can only take a traffic school class once every 12 months. To qualify for point reduction, the traffic school you choose must be approved by the state.
Because your driving record can affect your auto insurance rates, your career, and your freedom to drive, it’s important to make sure your record is accurate and to dispute any violations that you can. Whether you’re a CDL holder or casual driver, our attorney can help you understand your rights and challenge your ticket.
Fighting a Traffic Violation
Motorists get pulled over for a variety of reasons. Depending on the circumstances of your traffic stop, one of the following strategies could be used to get your ticket discharged:
Disputing the Officer. If you have received a ticket that required the officer who pulled you over to make a subjective decision about the situation, you may be able to challenge their judgment. Example: If an officer cites you for going 70 MPH in a posted 60 MPH zone, you could challenge their judgment by arguing that it actually would’ve been unsafe to drive at or below 60 mph, because all the cars in your lane were also traveling at 70 MPH.
Disputing the Evidence. Sometimes, an officer’s judgment cannot be called into question. In these cases, you have to challenge the fact that the officer truly saw you commit an infraction by presenting evidence in the form of eyewitness statements, pictures, or videos of the event. If you can prove that the officer didn’t have a clear view of your vehicle, your ticket could be dismissed.
Mistake of Fact. Extraneous factors can also inhibit our ability to drive safely or in accordance with the law. Say you ran a stop sign because you couldn’t see it, maybe due to unkempt branches or because it’s tilted from a recent storm. If an officer issued you a ticket, you can argue that your violation was a mistake of fact, because you wouldn’t have run the stop sign if your ability to see it hadn’t been hindered.
Action Was Justified. There are also instances where we have to drive “illegally” to keep ourselves safe. For example, if a child on a bike rode out into the road and you had to swerve into another lane to make sure you didn’t hit them, your action (which could have been deemed as inattentive/reckless driving by an officer who misjudged the situation) would be justified because you made a decision that helped protect both you and the child.
No matter what your situation entails, you have the right to explore your defense options. Our attorney, Jodie Drees Ganote, is ready to investigate your case and pursue your best result. Reach out to us today to get started.
From our office in Covington, Kentucky, we accept clients from Campbell County, Kenton County, and Boone County, Kentucky. We’re proud to serve those throughout Northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati metropolitan area.
Traffic Violations Defense Attorney in Covington, Kentucky
After getting a ticket in Kentucky, paying the fine may seem like the simplest resolution. But because of the state’s point system, a series of minor tickets can manifest into unfortunate consequences. Protect your rights and freedom by turning to an experienced traffic violation defense attorney in your area. Contact us at Ganote Law, LLC in Covington, Kentucky, today to set up a free consultation.