Been pulled over in Missouri? Can't afford the extra points on your license? Can't afford the expected increase in your auto insurance premiums? Don't just bite the bullet – you have options.

While the state of Missouri's Revised Statuses has an existing point system in place for those that have been pulled over for a traffic violation or some other action, there are ways for Missouri residents to get out of the ticket counting against their record. How? By taking – and completing – a driver improvement program, which are also commonly referred to as defensive driving courses. Successful completion of such courses in approved Missouri counties can remove accrued points on a driver's license as well as prevent any recent tickets from counting against your driving record.

Over 50 Missouri counties have already approved authorization of a Fine Collection Center, which will OK attendance at any defensive driving course so that Missouri drivers can avoid accumulating points on their license. In these cases, all the driver simply needs to do is be within the proper qualifications and enroll and complete a defensive driving program to avoid additional points on their license.

And in counties that have yet to approve the Fine Collection Center for defensive driving courses, there's still hope for not accruing the license points, it's just a little bit more of a process that drivers have to go through. Here's a look at how to take a defensive driving course and avoid point accrual in these circumstances:

  • Enter a not guilty plea to the Fine Collection Center.
  • Following your guilty plea, your ticket or citation will be sent to a county prosecuting attorney.
  • Your citation will be filed with the court and you'll be assigned a court date to fight your citation.
  • At your court date, if you enter another not guilty plea, the court can decide whether or not a defensive driving course is a suitable way for you to avoid any point accrual.
  • This decision of whether or not to allow you to attend a defensive driving course is determined on an individual case basis, so know that there's no guarantee that you'll be allowed to take this alternative route to avoid point accrual. For these reasons, we recommend getting in touch with the county you were cited in to see what they're policies are regarding this means.

MO Driver Improvement Programs

As we already told you, over 50 Missouri counties have Fine Collection Centers which allow eligible drivers to take a defensive driving course in lieu of accruing points on their license, which can not only help keep their driving record clean, but also prevent their auto insurance premiums from jacking up as soon as the driving citation is reported. What's more is that taking a defensive driving course can also give drivers a nice refresher on the do's and don'ts of the road. However, there are requirements that drivers have to meet in order to be eligible for such a course. Here's a look at them:

  • Defensive driving courses aren't able to be taken by anyone with a commercial driver's license, or CDL. This means long haul truck drivers that are cited would not quality for this program if they're cited while driving their commercial automobile.
  • A defensive driving course isn't mandatory. These courses are taken voluntarily.
  • For those that choose to take a defensive driving course in lieu of point accrual, it must be completed within 60 days of any guilty plea. What's more is that following course end, you need to send evidence that you successfully completed the program to the Driver License Bureau of the Missouri Department of Revenue. Should you pass the course and provide proof, your license will not be assigned any points.
  • Can I attend a class like this if I've been cited while riding a motorcycle? The answer is “yes,” but know that you must take a course that's specifically for motorcycle riders.
  • Not all citations will qualify you to take such a course. Be sure to check with the Missouri Department of Revenue to determine if your citation will qualify you to take such a course or program.
  • You can't take the course prior to your court date.
  • There are also limitations on how often you can take a defensive driving course. For instance, you can't take it more than once within a 36 month time period.
  • Are you an out of state resident that was cited in Missouri? You can still take the defensive driving course, but there are no guarantees that successful completion will apply to your home state. In situations such as this, we recommend you get in touch with your home state to see if this would suffice. Or else, you're just wasting your time.

So the next time you're pulled over in the state of Missouri, know that you have options for the would-be points counting against your license. Alternative programs such as defensive driving courses can help your license and help keep money in your pocket.