Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Houston Traffic Tickets: Frequently Asked Questions
What is a traffic ticket?
What is a traffic ticket really?
Why should you retain an attorney to fight your traffic ticket?
Was the Texas Driver’s License Point System Repealed?
Does a speeding motorist have the right to see a radar gun?
Is speeding always speeding?
How can an attorney help me?
What outcomes are possible if I fight my ticket?
What is the appropriate court etiquette?
What is our refund policy?

What is a traffic ticket? Top

A traffic ticket is a citation or summons issued to a person by an authorized government official for breaking a motor vehicle law. The citation requires the accused person to appear before a judge or magistrate in court, but allows that person to remain free until the scheduled court date.         
What is a traffic ticket really? Top

True, traffic laws were created as a safety measure, but over time they have become an increasingly lucrative revenue source for the government. Upon occasion it is the out-of-control motorist who is stopped, but all too often it is the housewife on the way to soccer practice taking a left on yellow, the university student returning home for a weekend visit following the flow of traffic, or the businessman fortunate enough to escape the gridlock of rush hour, only to be stopped by a police officer. In many cases, motorists are reasonably and safely driving when they become a tally in a monthly quota.
Why should you retain an attorney to fight your traffic ticket? Top

You should fight your ticket because you can.  Many people think, “I was given a ticket. There is nothing I can do.” Most people do not fight their ticket and as a result police officers can continue to give tickets that may in some cases be unwarranted.  Simply paying the ticket is an admission of guilt and results in the highest fine as well as a stain on your driving record. A mark on your driving record has several implications depending upon your driving history. A blemished driving record may result in auto insurance premium surcharges, or worse, in loss of coverage as your insurance company drops you. Seeking future insurance with a history of lost coverage will result in increased base premiums. One ticket is not the end of the world, but when combined with an accident or another ticket in a three-year period the consequences can truly be costly. It pays to keep your record clean. 
Was the Texas Driver’s License Point System Repealed? Top

The Texas legislature repealed the point system in September of 2021, passing Senate Bill 354. (The Texas point system assesses points to drivers for certain traffic offenses, with the accumulation of points resulting in license suspension or revocation.)

The main reason for the repeal of the point system was because it was seen as disproportionately affecting low-income and minority communities. The system also faced criticism for being too harsh on first-time offenders and not effectively addressing the root causes of dangerous driving behavior.

Under the repealed system, instead of a point-based system, the Texas Department of Public Safety will now be able to use a risk-based assessment system to identify high-risk drivers and take appropriate action to address their behavior. This means that there will be more flexibility in the enforcement process, and it will be based on a driver's overall history, rather than the accumulation of points for specific offenses.

This change is expected to help reduce the number of license suspensions and revocations and will also result in cost savings for both the state and individual drivers. It will also help to promote safer driving habits by focusing on the root causes of dangerous driving behavior.

It is important to note that other penalties for traffic violations, such as fines, surcharges, and court costs, will still apply, and the police will still issue tickets for traffic violations, with the new system focusing on rehabilitation and education rather than punishment.  
Does a speeding motorist have the right to see a radar gun? Top

A speeding motorist does not have the right to see the radar gun even though it was the reason the official stopped the motorist in the first place. A motorist can, however subpoena the calibration records. In many states there are laws regarding the frequency of the gun calibration. If the gun was not calibrated according to law, you win.
Is speeding always speeding? Top

According to Texas law, it is legal to drive over the posted speed limit as long as you are driving safely. A number of factors go into determining safe driving such as time of day, weather and road condition.
How can an attorney help me? Top

First and foremost, the legal system is very complex. An attorney familiar with dealing with the ins and outs of traffic court provides you with a clear advantage.Your attorney can also guide you through the system, so you spend no more time than it takes to read this answer preparing for your day in court. An attorney can handle many of the time consuming procedures that can deter well-intentioned citizens from exercising their right to contest their ticket in court. For example, on your ticket is a date you are scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment. An attorney can allow you to avoid going to this arraignment and can actually set a court date. An attorney saves you a trip to the courthouse and time. In many courts, individuals must have an attorney to receive deferred adjudication. While you may have gone to court over a traffic ticket once or twice, your attorney probably has handled countless violations. You want experience on your side. Please check an attorney's profile to see how much experience he has. 
What outcomes are possible if I fight my ticket? Top

There are several outcomes that are possible when fighting a traffic ticket. The best option is that on the date of the court appearance, the state’s witness, the police officer, does not show up. Your case is automatically dismissed. You sign some papers and are on your way out of the courthouse. If the officer is there, your attorney may speak with him or her to reduce your fine.  This type of negotiation is possible and a reduced fine may result. Another option for many people is deferred adjudication. This involves completing certain stipulations by the court, in some cases passing a defensive driving course. With this option, you have a suspended sentence and upon completion of the course and keeping your record clean, you return to court on a scheduled date, and the misdemeanor is removed from your record. You may also have a trial by jury, an opportunity to explain the events to a jury of your peers. In this instance, the jury will decide if your case should be dismissed.
What is the appropriate court etiquette? Top

There are a few quick tips to make your time in court successful. When you attend traffic court, it is above all important to be on time. The recommendation is to be early. Your appearance is likewise important. Shorts and tank tops are unacceptable. When the court is in session, you must turn off all cellular phones and pagers, stop talking, and put away all reading material.   
What is our refund policy? Top

For criminal cases, because of the flat-fee nature and quick pace of the work being done, refunds will not be available after retaining our firm. For civil cases, refunds are available on a case by case basis. Please speak with your attorney directly.  


Facing Charges in Harris County Criminal Court

While we all want to believe that if we are charged with a criminal offense, we are innocent until we can be proven guilty, this is not always the case. While there is, certainly, a presumption of innocence, in reality when you are charged with a criminal offense you are facing a long uphill battle against those who believe if you were charged with a crime you must be guilty. Not only must you deal with the Harris County District Attorney, you must deal with law enforcement who are convinced of your guilt, and possibly even a jury of your “peers” who are equally convinced of your guilt.

Because the cards can be stacked against you when you have been charged with an offense in Harris County Criminal Court, you need someone in your corner—someone who is highly experienced in criminal defense, and someone who will fight for your rights and for your future. A Houston Criminal Attorney from Sullo & Sullo can help you through this difficult time. We understand that you are frightened, anxious and completely stressed over your charges. You may have lost your job because of your charges or may be behind bars until you bond can be arranged. Perhaps you are truly innocent of the criminal charges against you, perhaps there were extenuating circumstances behind the offense, or perhaps you simply made a one-time bad decision.

Whatever your specific situation, you may wonder how to find the Best Criminal Defense Attorney and you may be asking “How much does a lawyer cost?” It is a sure bet that if there is any possible way to do so you want to avoid Harris County Jail and Harris County Criminal Records that can follow you for many, many years to come. Since “innocent until proven guilty” may not always be the reality in our criminal justice system, having an experienced Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Attorney by your side can potentially level the playing field, resulting in a better overall outcome to your Houston criminal charges. While there are many valid defenses to criminal charges In Harris County Criminal Court, your specific defense will depend on many factors and the specific circumstances surrounding your charges. That being said, some of the most common defenses to criminal charges include:

  • The Alibi Defense - Possibly one of the most common defenses occurs when the defendant was somewhere other than the scene of the crime, therefore could not have committed the criminal offense. In other words, if you are accused of burglarizing the local Mini-Mart on Tuesday evening at 8:00 p.m., your attorney may be able to present compelling evidence that you were at a local movie theater at that exact time. Obviously, if you were seeing the movie with another person, then your alibi defense is much stronger.
  • "Yes, I did It, but" - Even if you are guilty of the crime in question, you may be able to avoid criminal penalties when your attorney explains the extenuating circumstances. Perhaps you acted in self-defense, that is, if you are charged with assault, your defense could be that your actions were justified because the other person threatened you. In a self-defense case, it is necessary to show who the aggressor was in the incident, and whether your belief that self-defense was necessary was a reasonable one. Further, if your belief that self-defense was necessary was reasonable, was the level of force you used in response reasonable? We are allowed to protect ourselves, our homes and our loved ones, however an overabundance of force could be judged to be a criminal offense. If you did not act in self-defense, perhaps you were not in your right mind at the time the criminal offense occurred. The insanity defense may be employed if your Houston Criminal Defense Attorney is able to argue convincingly that you were unable to either control your behavior or understand that the act was wrong. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, the insanity defense is rarely upheld by judges or jurors. Our legal system is unable to agree on the various definitions of insanity with most psychiatrists, making it even more problematic. Aside from asserting you were unable to distinguish right from wrong, an experienced Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer may argue that you knew the act was wrong, but you were unable to control your actions because of a specific mental illness.
  • "I was Intoxicated at the time" or "I was set up" - Though it would seem counter-intuitive to claim intoxication when the crime was committed—since there are penalties for that crime as well—the criminal defense attorney may choose to argue that because of drugs or alcohol your mental functions were so impaired that you cannot be held accountable. On the other hand, this can be a hard sell, since the rebuttal is that you should have known that drugs or alcohol could affect your mental functions. Entrapment could potentially be argued when the government coerced you to commit a crime, then attempted to punish you for that crime. If the jury believes you would have likely committed the crime anyhow, then this defense may not work, especially if you happen to have a prior conviction for the same crime.  

Even though some feel the presumption of innocence is little more than a symbol in our legal system, it remains an essential element of our criminal legal system. Unfortunately, the media tends to disregard the premise of presumption of innocence, and many people are tried and found guilty through public opinion before they ever make it to a court of law. If you have been arrested for a Harris County criminal offense it is extremely important that you contact a highly experienced Houston Criminal Lawyer from Sullo & Sullo who can help ensure your right to be considered innocent until a jury deems you otherwise is fully protected.

Perhaps you have been charged with a DWI in Texas or a DUI in Texas. If so, then you not only have to worry about the criminal aspect, you also have to worry about whether you will be allowed to keep your driver’s license. A Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Lawyer can attend your ALR hearings, and determine whether your field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests and blood alcohol tests were legal and valid. If you have been charged with another type of criminal offense, the knowledgeable Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers will work hard to help you avoid Harris County Criminal Records and Harris County Jail.

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