Senate Bill 5 just recently took effect and is already causing controversy. What can you expect from the new laws and how will they affect you? No matter how it does, Springfield Traffic Tickets will still be here to help you navigate the laws and courts and to keep you on the road.
What The Laws State
The Governor of Missouri called the new Municipal Court Reform Bill “the most sweeping” of all bills in the state’s history and one of the bill’s sponsors called it the “most significant“. Senator Eric Schmitt said that the bill would help address a ‘breakdown of trust’ between people and the government and court system. “Healing that,” he said, “is something worth fighting for.” He said people have the right “not to be thrown in jail because you’re a couple of weeks … late on a fine for having a taillight out.”
What the new laws entail are: “The bill limits fines, bans failure to appear charges for missing a court date and bans jail as a sentence for most minor traffic offenses. It also restricts how much of their general operating revenue cities can raise from court fines and fees.”
“Under this bill, cops will stop being revenue agents and go back to being cops,” Nixon said. Cities are required to provide an annual financial report to the state auditor. A municipal judge must certify that the court is complying with required procedures. Police departments must be accredited, and must have written policies on use of force and pursuit. City ordinances must be available to the public. And the Missouri Supreme Court is required to develop rules regarding conflicts of interest in the court system. Failure to file the reports, turn over excess money or comply with other provisions could trigger the transfer of all pending court cases to circuit court, the loss of sales tax revenue and dis-incorporation. So your traffic ticket fines in Missouri are now limited!
The laws went into place on the 28th of August 2015. Municipalities will have 3-6 years for compliance with some of the laws, however. Most of the criticism is aimed at the part of the bill that restricts the amount of municipal revenue that can be made off of traffic tickets and fines. The cap has been lowered to 12.5% for St. Louis Co. and down to 20% for the rest of Missouri. This makes some people very unhappy.
The Missouri Municipal League calls the municipal court reform bill that is now law an ‘overreach’. Deputy Director Richard Sheets says the tighter limits on revenue would hurt public safety, primarily in smaller cities in out state Missouri. “Cities weren’t using this money to operate their general operations. They were primarily using this money to help fund their police department and maybe their municipal court,” said Sheets.
“Those cities that might have been too aggressive in their traffic control are very few.” Sheets says the League isn’t sure how new reporting mandates and standards might mesh with municipal court reforms the state Supreme Court is preparing. It also has concerns about the new limit to fines of $300 and that cities can no longer issue warrants to those who fail to appear for a traffic violation. ‘The concern there is that will encourage violators to avoid prosecution and just not come back to court and not pay their fine,” said Sheets.
Just How Will This Affect You?
The good news is, for Missouri drivers issued traffic ticket fines is this:
- No jail time for most traffic offenses
- Fines capped at $300
- No extra fees and fines or warrants if you miss your court date for a traffic offense
If you are pulled over in Missouri and issued a traffic ticket, your fine will never be more than $300. You can still accrue points however, so it is still a good idea to call Springfield Traffic Tickets if you are cited. We go to court for you if needed and can often reduce points and even possibly your fine. Even with the cap on Missouri traffic ticket fines, our cost for legal services will still probably be less than your fine. Dan Romine and his team at Springfield Traffic Tickets can help you in Springfield and surrounding areas with the following services:
- Defend Traffic Violations
- Defend DWI Violators
- Appear In Court On Your Behalf For Traffic Violations
- Appear With Defendants Before The Court Judge For Felony And Misdemeanor Charges
- Reduce Penalties And In Some Cases Get Violations Dismissed
Springfield Traffic Tickets can help with just about any traffic fines and trouble you can get into in Missouri. Our lawyers at Springfield Traffic Tickets know the new laws and how they can affect you. A little knowledge is a very powerful thing.