PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 30, 2012

ASK A COP: Proof of insurance, driver's license points

Rickey Antoine
The Port Arthur News

— ATTENTION, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

There have been additional NO LEFT TURN signs placed in the 3600 Blk OF 57TH Street, On the north side of Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams Elementary School. Left turns are prohibited btweeen the school zone hours of 7:30-9:00 a.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also, Please pay attention to the NO U-TURN signs which are now placed in the 5700 Blk of Ninth Ave in front of Lucian Adams Elementary. U-TURNS in the 5700 block of Ninth Avenue are now prohibited within the traveling area of the NO U-TURN signs. After the last NO U-TURN, it is permissible to make a legal U-TURN.

• Chris from Port Arthur asks- Officer Antoine, how many points does the Department of Public Safety give on your license for speeding tickets, and how many points can you get on your license before the State suspends your license?

• Answer-Excellent question Chris, thank you so much for this question. This is very important information to know especially if you have been convicted of violating laws in the Texas Transportation Code. The department assigns points to a person’s license as follows: Drivers will receive two points for every moving violation of the Traffic Law of Texas or other state and three points for a moving violation that resulted in an accident. The department may not assign points to a person's license if convicted for driving under 10 mph of the posted speed limit, unless the conviction for speeding was in a school zone. Each year the department shall assess a surcharge on the license of a person who has accumulated six or more points during the last 36 months . The amount of the surcharge under this chapter is $100 for the first six points and $25 for each additional point.

The department will also automatically assess the surcharge for three years from the date of conviction for violations of (violation, fee): No Insurance, $250 yearly; Driving While License Invalid (revoked, suspended, or cancelled), $250 yearly, and No Driver’s License, $100 yearly. If you fail to pay the surcharges, the department will suspend your driving privileges. Remember, having a Driver's License is a privilege not a RIGHT. The Department will also notify you by first class mail when you have been assigned your fifth point to the most recent address on your license. My statement to live by Chris is, "It's not free to drive.”

• Curtis from Port Arthur Asks- Officer Antoine, I thought police officers can tell if you have insurance when they stop a vehicle. You stopped me and I had good insurance, I just could not find a current copy when you stopped me. But you still wrote me a citation for no insurance. Why couldn't you find that out? I went to court and proved I had insurance and the case was dismissed.

• Answer- Good question! Curtis have you ever heard the statement, “If I have heard that once, I have heard it a thousand times?" That’s what comes to mind when I read your question. Police officer's hear this everyday. Yes Curtis, officers can ask dispatchers to verify if the vehicle in question has the state minimum insurance. It amazes me when are caught doing wrong, we try to right our wrong and make it look like our wrong is somebody else’s fault. Curtis what you want me to do seems like this. You go to the store but the credit card you give the cashier is expired, and you tell them to call and check with your bank because you have money in your account. Now that doesn't sound reasonable does it? So why do you want me to call and verify if you have insurance. This is something we ALL know we are supposed to have if we are going to operate a motor vehicle on the roads of Texas. Remember, it is your responsibility to PROVE to me you have insurance, it’s not my JOB to find out if you have insurance. If you are not able to produce the evidence of a current insurance card at the time of the stop, Curtis, you will receive a Citation for "NO INSURANCE.” I find people won't even give their insurance cards when stopped, they tell me, "You can look it up right?” Chris, I am aware if you are able to produce a current insurance card at the time of your court date, and the court verifies with your insurance company that you had the state minimum amount of insurance coverage at the time of the traffic stop, the court normally will dismiss the case. Now look at all the hoops you've had to jump through when all you had to do was keep a current copy of Evidence of Financial Responsibility (Insurance) in your vehicle.

Remember to email your questions to rantoine@portarthurpd.com, or call 409-984-8541 to leave a voicemail or mail Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can "Ask A Cop".

Port Arthur Police Officer Rickey Antoine answers reader's questions every Monday in the Port Arthur News. To read the full version of "Ask a Cop," see the online or print edition of The News



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