The financial and driving record damage from traffic tickets in Delaware can be minimized by knowing about your options and taking prudent action. There may be unpleasant ramifications to your Delaware traffic tickets but taking care of them appropriately can help reduce their negative effects.
What to Do If You Get a Traffic Ticket in Delaware
You should respond quickly when getting a traffic ticket in Delaware. Your citation will state what violation you are charged with, and where you may pay your fine and by what deadline. Generally you have thirty days to respond in Delaware but this could vary by court. You are best served by carefully reading your traffic ticket.
Delaware offers an opportunity for you to pay your ticket called a “voluntary assessment”. You may also decide to contest your traffic ticket by pleading not guilty. Delaware has three types of courts. There are Alderman’s Courts, Courts of Common Pleas, and Justice of the Peace Courts. Where you were cited will determine which court is handling your case, and this should be on your ticket. A Voluntary Assessment Center is set up in Delaware to assist with questions, and they may be contacted at (302) 739-6911.
if you fail or forget to take action regarding your traffic ticket your license will be suspended and you will likely face an arrest warrant. It is not a good idea to ignore your Delaware traffic ticket.
Is a Court Appearance Required?
There are two situations where you MUST appear in court in the state of Delaware. The first is if the driver cited is under the age of 18, and the second is if it is noted as such on your traffic ticket.
Of course if your intention is to enter an innocent plea and contest the citation you will also be required to appear in court to defend yourself.
Delaware, like many states uses a point system. Negative points are assigned to drivers in a range from 2 to 8 points per violation with suspensions starting at the accumulation of 14 points. Additional point accumulation will result in longer suspensions with 22 points resulting in a one year suspension.
Delaware drivers can lose their licenses for a variety of offenses including DUI, reckless driving, street racing, using a vehicle in the commission of a crime. Failure to show up in court for a violation that requires a court appearance will likely lead to additional charges, along with a license suspension.
There are options in proceeding with your traffic tickets in Delaware. They are:
Option 1 - Pay Your Ticket
In Delaware this is called a “voluntary assessment” as opposed to most states who call it not guilty or no-contest. If you know you were in the wrong, simply paying your fine and moving on may be your best choice. If you select a voluntary assessment and your citation was given to you because of speeding up to 14 miles above the speed limit, you will not get any points assessed to you driver’s license. You will however, have to pay a fine.
While you cannot have a ticket dismissed in Delaware by taking a traffic safety course, you may have points deducted from your driving record by completing one. This is an option very much worth considering.
Option 2 – Plead Not Guilty
By entering a plea of not guilty in the appropriate court, a court date will be assigned to you. This will allow you, and presumably your attorney, time to prepare your case.
In preparing your case, you’ll want to consider what witnesses, evidence and testimony may help your case. If you succeed in pursuing a not guilty verdict, the fine and points will be dismissed. However a guilty verdict will result in a fine, points added to your driving record and a potential increase in your auto insurance premiums.
Option 3 – Appeal Your Case
If your case results in a guilty verdict, you may still appeal should you believe there were mistakes made that lead to your guilty verdict. An appeal will certainly add to your expenses, but may be worthwhile if you feel an appeal will be fruitful.
Taking on Online Driving Course
Remember, in Delaware, you may not have a ticket dismissed by taking a defensive driving course in Delaware, but successful completion may provide for a reduction in points assigned to your Delaware driving record.
Delaware not only allows for a 3 point reduction for your driving record in the state by successfully completing an approved defensive driving course, but also allows for a 3 point “credit” for future use should you accumulate additional points. This can be a valuable tool in keeping your driving record intact, and in saving you money in fines, potential suspension, and even on your auto insurance premiums.
Further Delaware is one of the few states in the country that mandates that insurance companies operating in Delaware provide you with additional discount of up to 10% on your auto policy if you complete a state approved defensive driving course