You certainly don’t need to read this blog to understand that getting a traffic ticket is one of the biggest annoyances you can face in your daily drive. Depending on the state and city you are driving in, a simple traffic ticket can mean a couple hundred dollars in fines in some cases. You might even get “points” accumulated on your state driver’s license and face higher insurance rates if you accumulate too many tickets.
But when you work as a driver with Uber, Lyft, or other ridesharing service, that next traffic ticket can mean not only the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges by the state (which will obviously prevent you from driving for Uber or Lyft), but also that, even when that doesn’t occur, Uber or Lyft may decide that you are too much of a liability to keep on as a driver. Read on for important facts to keep in mind regarding traffic tickets as a rideshare driver and what you can do to fight your next traffic ticket so you can save money, keep your license, and maintain your Uber/Lyft driving privileges.
That Background Check You Passed? A Second One Can Come Without Warning
If you are a current driver with Uber or Lyft, then you no doubt are at least somewhat familiar with the background check that you had to pass before you could drive for those companies. That background check looked into whether you have a criminal record, but it also looked at your record of both civil and criminal driving citations, which can include tickets for illegal u-turns, running a red light, speeding, and so on.
Lyft’s policy is that you cannot drive for the company if you have had more than three moving violations in the three years prior to the background check. Uber appears to have the same policy of no more than three traffic violations in the last three years, although anecdotal evidence suggests that even a single violation in the past year might disqualify you.
Okay, okay, you might say, but I’ve already passed the background check – I’ve got nothing to worry about right? Wrong. There is nothing to prevent Uber or Lyft from running a second background check on you (you might need to consent to certain aspects of the background check, but the companies are free to not consent to you driving for them anymore if you refuse).
A second (or third, and so on) background check might come as a result of a customer complaint (after all, customers whose rides were stopped by the police pulling you over may have good reason to send in a complaint about you), Uber/Lyft simply updating their records to make sure nothing else has shown up on your record, or even new state laws requiring additional background checks, like the law just passed in Massachusetts.
Fighting Your Traffic Ticket
Because there is an awfully good chance that Uber or Lyft might come to learn about your new traffic ticket sooner or later, you should understand by this point that you have additional incentive to fight that traffic ticket so that it does not go on your record. You might say, hey, the traffic ticket was only $100, why spend time and money on research and/or an attorney to help fight it? If that $100 traffic ticket means you are unable to work for Uber or Lyft for a year or more, taking those extra steps to fight it might make a whole lot more sense.
Obviously, specifically how to fight your traffic ticket is going to depend upon the laws of the state and/or city where it was issued, what law enforcement agency issued it, and the court procedures in your given jurisdiction. In some cases, you can simply get online or visit your local courthouse for information on how to fight the traffic ticket, but in many other cases working with an attorney to fight the ticket is your best bet at keeping your record clean.
Hiring an attorney may fill your imagination with gold-plated conference rooms and outsized hourly legal bills, but there are many convenient options out there for attorneys who handle traffic tickets on a low-cost, flat-fee basis. For example, The Law Store in Missouri offers convenient legal services from licensed attorneys inside Wal-Mart stores throughout the state, where you can simply show up without an appointment, get free initial advice on your situation, and pay a flat-fee for help with your traffic ticket legal matter. If you are not in the Missouri area, do your research to see if a similar legal service is available near you.