Tag Archives: tickets

A call to put teeth back into enforcing traffic violations

Did the 2015 municipal court reforms for traffic violations go too far?

That is the subject of a great editorial by the Kansas City Star a few weeks ago talking about how too many people with traffic tickets are not paying their fines and are getting away with it. Since the state-wide municipal court reform after the Ferguson uprising, there doesn’t seem to be any punishment for not paying fines and not showing up to court.

In many communities, traffic violators have figured out that they don’t need to show up to court because the effective tools of punishment such as higher fines, warrants for not showing up to court, or suspending a person’s license is not an option.

Maximum fines were lowered from $500 to $225. Many cities coffers are severely depleted and are finding it difficult to impossible to enforce law violators without an adequate budget. This has also carried over to enforcement of residential nuisance ordinances that are designed to keep housing safe, particularly with abandoned properties.

For example, one person who didn’t show up to court in a town near Kansas City had been arrested four times for a $450 ticket from 2015 for driving with no insurance and driving with a suspended license. She still hasn’t paid, and likely never will.

One judge was quoted as saying, “These people just continue to drive, except they don’t drive to court.”

One state senator tried to pass a bill to put some teeth back into law enforcement. His idea was that if a citizen fails to show up for a court date, a judge could order community service, issue a civil fine or put a hold on a driver’s license.

The editorial calls for Missouri to revisit its 2015 reforms with the goal of restoring some authority to its municipal courts to better find a balance between being overbearing on constituency and effectively punishing and enforcing our traffic laws. Because as the editorial states, “As of now, they’ve been effectively defanged.”

Legislature proposes a bill to curb racial profiling by law enforcement

Lawmakers in Missouri are reviewing a bill that is designed to curb discriminatory policing among law enforcement agencies. The bill, which recently had a hearing before a legislative committee, calls for disciplinary options and procedures that would be a check on discriminatory practices.

The bill places penalties on both individual law enforcement and on their agency when they are found engaging in discriminatory policing or racial profiling. Discipline could include counseling, termination, or training of any officer found to have engaged in discriminatory policing.

If a law enforcement department is found to have a disproportionate number of minority drivers stopped compared to the state average, the attorney general can provide resources to address it. If the problem continues for another three years, the attorney general could remove the agency’s funding by directing the local governing body to forfeit 25% of the police department’s revenue received from court costs, bond forfeitures, and fines.

Additionally, the bill calls for officers to use a consent search policy and requires information to be gathered from every vehicle stop. The data collected will then be analyzed by the attorney general.

The consent search would require that an officer prior to requesting a search would have to clearly state, either orally or in writing, in a language the person being questioned clearly understands that their consent must be voluntary.

Next, an officer would have to get recorded audio or video or written consent from the person who was stopped.

Officers will be expected to collect 11 pieces of information that include a reason for the stop, whether a search was conducted, and whether a warning or citation was issued.

Then by March 1st of each year, the agency must submit its report to the attorney general who will analyze the data and submit a report to the state legislature by June 1st of each year.

MO Vehicle liability insurance coverage explained

Insurance. It’s something we hate to pay for until we need it.

Mandatory Car Insurance

Each state has different requirements for automobile insurance. In Missouri, all motor vehicle operators and owners are required to have liability insurance, which covers the policyholder’s legal liability from injuries to others and damages to their property. The technical term for this is Financial Responsibility. Failure to have Proof of Insurance can result in a ticket and four points on your license. 

Minimum Insurance Coverage

Missouri has a minimum coverage requirement when it comes to liability insurance. Liability insurance covers you when injuries or property damage to others are a result of your actions and negligence. The minimum level of coverage required is $25,000 per person for bodily injury; $50,000 per crash for bodily injury; and $10,000 per crash for property damage. You also are required to have uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per crash. This last coverage is used in cases where another driver hits you but does not have insurance of their own or a driver hits you and drives away from the scene.

What Counts as Proof of Coverage?

To get people to buy coverage, the state mandates that vehicle owners show proof of insurance when it comes to registering their vehicle or renewing license plates.

When you go into the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles, you have options to show your insurance coverage: a copy or original of your liability insurance policy; a paid insurance receipt showing the policy information; an ID card issued by the department when a surety bond, real estate bond, or security is filed with the department; a certificate of self-insurance from the Department; or a hand held electronic device showing your policy.

Other Insurance Options

Surprisingly, insurance coverage from an insurance company is not the only way to meet the states coverage requirements. There is self-insurance, which if you have 25 vehicles and you can show you will pay for damage caused by your vehicles. Or you can make a deposit of $60,000 cash with the State Treasurer, which will issue you a certificate of self-insurance.

Finally, another option is the use of Surety bond, Real Estate bond, Certificate of Deposit, or some other Negotiable Security. If you can show $60,000 (or $120,000 if a real estate bond) to the Department of Revenue, the department will issue you a certificate of self-insurance as proof of insurance.

In a nutshell, these are the basic ways to obtain the required amount of liability insurance in order to drive motor vehicles in Missouri. Commercial trucking drivers must meet different requirements of insurance coverage.

Rehabilitation specialists help extend your ability to drive

As you get older and into your Golden Years, your driving skills begin to deteriorate. Your ability to respond as quickly as you did compared to just 5 years before is noticeable not only to your friends and family but to you. Your confidence to drive at night is diminished. If this is a scenario for you or a loved one, then you may want to consider having a driving evaluation done by a certified driving rehabilitation specialist. This person can help you to adapt new technology to extend your driving years.

Because of new technology, your ability to drive into later years of your life has been extended. Some of these adaptive technologies are as simple as swivel seats for more convenient access or hand controls for a driver to safely operate a vehicle.

But each person and their skill and physical levels are different and require different forms of technology. The NHTSA recommends seeking the help of a driver rehabilitation specialist to help people choose the correct adaptive devices for their automobiles.

A rehabilitation specialist will take into consideration your future equipment needs based on your medical condition and the repetitive stress an adaptive aid may place on a particular muscle group.

Also expect a vision screening as well as testing for muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion; coordination and reaction time; judgment and decision-making abilities; and ability to drive with adaptive equipment. Once the evaluation is done, you should get a report with recommendations for you such as restrictions or requirements and a list of any vehicle requirements and modifications. You will likely also receive a recommendation for on-the-road training to practice using the new equipment and to learn safe driving habits.

To find a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist, you’ll find rehabilitation centers for each State listed on the Websites for the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) and the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA). These associations maintain lists of qualified driver rehabilitation specialists in most states. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has put together helpful information called “Adapting Motor Vehicles for Older Drivers.” See their Website.

Missouri task force looks to strengthen driving safety laws

Safety was the key word in discussions at a recent task force meeting in Jefferson City, Mo., that discussed Missouri’s transportation system.

The task force, named Missouri’s 21st Century Transportation System task force, is charged with reviewing the funding of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

Between 1999-2016, MoDOT installed 800 miles of guard cable on Missouri interstates. According to MoDOT representatives, the guard cable has saved more than 500 lives. The cost of the safety cables, approximately $125,000 per mile. And another $10,000 per mile is needed to maintain annually.

Missouri has the seventh-largest state highway system, with 33,884 miles of roadway.

MoDOT says fatality crashes increased nine percent in 2016. Hood testifies 950 people died in Missouri traffic crashes in 2016.

Deaths continue to occur as motorists continue to drive without buckling up, driving intoxicated, texting while driving, and speeding. Sometimes deaths result because all of these factors. Deaths from traffic crashes increased nine percent in 2016, with 950 deaths in 2016 alone.

There are 16 states, including Missouri, without a primary seat belt law. Considering that Missouri is 50th ranked in a safety report by the National Safety Council (NSC).

This fact has MoDOT out front pushing state lawmakers to approve a primary seatbelt law. Already 53 municipalities have passed their own primary seat belt laws.

Some of the suggestions for increased driving safety have been strengthening laws for child passengers, no-texting laws, seatbelt laws, and the use of red-light traffic cameras.

MoDOT has come out to describe distracted driving that includes texting to be an epidemic, with nearly 40,000 deaths a year across the nation. MoDOT bans its drivers from driving and texting, and some 250 companies across the state are committing to ban its employees from texting and driving while on duty. Recommendations from the task force are expected by the first of next year.

With Missouri being the 47th lowest in fuel taxes in the nation, the task force is looking to fund the increased safety measures with a potential fuel tax increase. Strong opposition is expected to block any fuel tax increase.

Columbia bill makes texting and driving an offense for all ages

The City of Columbia, Missouri, is considering passing a bill that will ban texting while driving for drivers of all ages.

Currently, there is a statewide rule that prohibits texting for drivers 21 years old and younger. If passed, the ordinance would make Columbia one of the few Missouri towns that bans texting for all ages.

However, the legal grounds to pass such a regulation is questionable. 

Supporters of the bill argue that they will have different approach for violators 22 years and older. Columbia police will be directed to issue tickets to the older adults only after another primary traffic offense has happened. The current state law for 21 and younger makes driving while texting a primary offense that police can pull the younger drivers over. The law prohibits the use of a cell phone to “send, read or write a text message or electronic message.” The older drivers must first commit another violation before they get a citation.

The law, however, is different for commercial motor vehicle driving. Those drivers are prohibited to use hand-held cell phones to text or make a call.

The consensus among the legal community is unclear whether municipals have the power to pass more restrictive laws on texting. In St. Louis County, the City of Kirkwood has adopted a more stringent ordinance but most other cities have not because attorneys disagree about the issue.

The Columbia ban was a recommendation from a 2016 Mayor’s Task Force on Pedestrian Safety.

Distracted driving, which includes texting while driving, is a common reason for deadly or injurious traffic crashes in Columbia.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, since the start of 2017, there were 125 vehicle crashes in related to distracted driving, a category that includes driving and texting.  Of those, 24 of the crashes involved injuries, with five injuries disabling.

Zipper merging = the safer way

The next time you drive up to a road construction site transportation experts want you to think “Zipper.”  So instead of merging into a single lane early as possible, experts state that it is better to drive to the end of the lane that has to merge and proceed to take turns merging in a zipper-like fashion.

The problem typically occurs when most drivers see the first “lane closed ahead” sign in a work zone and they immediately slow down and attempt to merge into the lane that will continue through the construction area. People assume that if they don’t merge early they no-one will allow them to merge later, or that it is impolite to pass up the line to merge closer to the work zone.  And sometimes driver’s will react angrily that another car has passed them up after they had been waiting in line first and for a longer time.  Some will even straddle the center line between the two lanes to prevent such attempts.

But the reality is that the passersbys are following proper protocol while the lane straddlers are in the wrong.  Zipper merging is the most efficient way for traffic to come together when the number of lanes has been reduced.

This early merging behavior often leads to dangerous lane switching, serious crashes and even road rage.

Experts state the benefits of zipper merging is that research shows it decreases the possibility of dangerous lane switching and other accidents that lead to road rage.  Don’t worry about being nice at the first sight of a construction zone.  Stay in your current lane up to the point of merging. Then alternate with other drivers to safely ease into the remaining open lane.

So the bottom line is that courtesy driving in the context of lane closures is to proceed to the end of the lane where you take turns merging into the open lane.  This will lead to less accidents and road rage.

Creve Coeur Municipal Court

Located in St. Louis County

Creve Coeur Municipal Court Jody Caswell, Court Clerk 300 N. New Ballas Rd

Creve Coeur, MO 63141

(314) 432-8844 (314) 432-1962 (facsimile)

http://www.creve-coeur.org/101/Municipal-Court

Prosecuting Attorney Richard Bresnahan, Esq.

Court Dates and Docket Dates Wednesday Evenings at 6:00pm

Payment Docket begin at 5:00pm

Housing Dockets at 4:00pm

Hours The office hours are 8:30 am –4:00pm, weekdays. Wednesday the Court closes at 3:30pm.

In 2012, the Municipality of Creve Coeur filed almost 20,000 tickets. Did you get a ticket in the municipality of Creve Coeur? What should you do?

If you received a moving violation you have 3 options:

  1. Pay it
  2. Go to court and try to fight it yourself
  3. Hire an attorney.

If you pay it, there will be points assessed to your license. This can cause your insurance rates to go up and/or cause your license to be suspended. Eight points in 18 months can result in a license suspension.

If you try to fight it yourself, the first time you appear in court, your case will not be heard. You will be required to wait and then stand in front of the judge to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, the judge will set your case for trial and you will have to come back at another date. Taking care of the ticket yourself will result in at least two court appearances taking upwards of an hour a piece. Then if you lose, you will be required to pay the fine anyway.

If you hire an attorney, you will likely avoid the appearance and our goal is to get your moving violation amended to a non-moving violation. We have worked in the Creve Coeur Municipal for over 15 years. We work with the prosecuting attorney to get your ticket reduced. Often we are successful getting the ticket amended to Other Parking Violation instead of a moving violation. We then notify you via email and hard copy and all you have to do is mail in your payment. Usually this process requires no appearance in court on your part saving you time and energy. For a free consultation, fill out our easy ticket submission form and one of our attorneys will contact you.

Creve Coeur MIP Defense

  • Our Creve Coeur MIP lawyers handle MIP defense, where the object is keeping your record clean and your driver license from being suspended

Creve Coeur DWI Defense

  • Our Creve Coeur DWI attorneys handle drunk driving defense, where your driver license and your freedom are at stake. In 2012, Creve Coeur filed 222 alcohol or drug related charges.

Let our Creve Coeur Traffic Lawyers start helping you today. Contact Us

Creve Coeur Traffic Court Information

This page contains Court information Links for Creve Coeur, Missouri.

 

MO Speeding Ticket Lawyers | MO DWI Lawyers | MO MIP Lawyers

 

Missouri Speeding Ticket Defense | Missouri MIP Defense | Missouri DWI Defense

 

Kinloch officials ordered to court to explain traffic ticket

A St. Louis County circuit court judge ordered City of Kinloch offices to appear in court to explain why they allegedly would not allow a citizen to contest a traffic ticket she received last month.

The individual, Kathy Grant of Florissant, received a $125 traffic ticket in the mail on March 6.  The ticket accused her of driving 51-mph in a 40-mph speed zone on North Hanley Road in Kinloch on February 16. 

Grant denies she was speeding.  The ticket was mailed to Grant’s husband but she admits she was the driver of the car, heading to work that day.

The ticket showed a photo of the back of Grant’s car and license plate but no photo of the driver.  Also, the ticket did not contain a specific address as to where she was caught speeding. 

 The ticket payment date for the fine was April 5, however, she gave her ticket to an attorney to handle.

According to court documents, Circuit Court Judge Douglas R. Beach ordered City Manager Justine Blue, Kinloch Mayor Darren Small, and a Kinloch judge, Christopher Bent, to appear in court last week on May 11 to explain why the ticket was not a violation of Missouri law.

The ticket apparently allows the fine to be paid directly to a private company, and was not filed in Kinloch municipal court, according to the order.

Apparently a party had asked the Municipal Court for a trial on the allegations against them.  They were told that the notice was not a ticket. At this point, due process was not granted nor is it available to challenge the notice, the judge’s order stated.

The concern is that the notices are misleading to the public that they are part of the court process with due process of law.

 

MO Appellate Court rules on State’s driving eligibility rule

The Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District (Division Three) held last week that Missouri substantive law governs the Director or Revenue’s decisions when it comes to issuance, suspension, or revocation of a Missouri license regardless of the driver’s home state at the time of conviction. The interstate Driver License Compact does not supplant the Missouri 10-year ineligibility rule under §302.060(9), the appellate court said.

 

Here is the background of the case.  The Director of Revenue appealed the trial court’s judgment ordering the DOR to issue a Missouri driver’s license to William Thanner.

 

Thanner received three DWI convictions while residing in Georgia between 1996 and 2010. He completed all requirements for reinstatement in Georgia and had a valid Georgia license when he moved in 2015 to Missouri. The Director of DOR denied Thanner’s application for a Missouri license, citing §302.060(9) imposing a 10-year ban following two or more DWI convictions. Upon judicial review, the trial court ordered the Director to issue Thanner a Missouri license, reasoning that Thanner’s Georgia license was entitled to reciprocity under the interstate Driver License Compact (§302.600).

 

The trial court’s judgment is reversed, and the cause is remanded for the trial court to reinstate the Director’s denial of Thanner’s application for an unrestricted license and proceed on his request for limited driving privileges.

 

 The opinion was written by Judge’s Lisa Van Amburg with judges Angela T. Quigless and Robert G. Dowd, Jr., concurring. The attorney for Appellant was Rachel Jones and the attorney for Respondent was Keith Liberman.

 

The appellate court stated the following as to its analysis:

 

“Here, the trial court adopted Thanner’s rationale and conclusions of law, relying entirely on a dissent opining that §302.160 applies only to drivers holding a Missouri license when the out-of-state offense occurred, and citing full faith and credit without analysis.2 Johnston v. Director of Revenue, 305 S.W.3d 465 (Mo. App. E.D. 2010). In that case, a Kentucky driver was convicted of DWI in 1996, but his conviction was not affirmed on appeal until 2006. In the interim, Johnston’s conviction remaining unreported, and he moved to Missouri and obtained a Missouri license in 2005. When the Kentucky DWI conviction was finally affirmed and reported in 2006, the Director suspended Johnston’s Missouri license. Despite the fact that Kentucky was Johnston’s home state at the time of the offense, this court affirmed the Director’s suspension, reasoning that the Director was entitled to rely on the conviction date as reported by Kentucky. While unusual on its chronological facts, Johnston remains instructive for its adherence to a strict liability approach to Missouri’s 10-year rule under §302.060(9), consistent with other appellate decisions cited above.

 

Thanner did not develop his full faith and credit argument into legal analysis and essentially abandoned it at oral argument, conceding that it does not mandate reciprocal recognition of state-specific licenses (e.g., drivers, teachers, lawyers).  Simply put, Missouri substantive law controls the Director’s issuance, suspension, or revocation of a Missouri license regardless of the driver’s home state at the time of the conviction. Nothing in the Compact mandates differential treatment.”