JBSA-FORT SAM HOUSTON –
Despite what people might think, traffic tickets can often have a positive effect. This counts not only for the driver who was pulled over, but also for the drivers that pass by the stopped vehicle.
Traffic tickets are issued for a multitude of violations. Tickets are issued for violations of the Texas Transportation Code, Air Force Instructions, JBSA regulations, Command Policy Letters and Department of Defense Directives.
For instance, Texas State Bill 193 requires drivers to slow down or change lanes while passing a police (or any emergency) vehicle with its emergency lights activated.
As the person that was pulled over, you need to know what the next step is after receiving a traffic ticket.
The answer depends upon what type of ticket you received.
There are two types of traffic tickets issued by the Department of the Air Force police officers throughout Joint Base San Antonio: the Department of Defense Form 1408 (Armed Force Traffic Ticket) and the United States District Court Violation Notice.
It is up to the officer's discretion and the seriousness of the violation whether you receive one of the aforementioned tickets or get a verbal or written warning.
The DD Form 1408 is a multi-use ticket that may be used for anything from parking violations to uncontrolled pet complaints.
Depending upon your status on JBSA, this ticket could be forwarded to your unit commander if you are active duty, your sponsor's commander if you are a family member, or your section manager if you are a civilian or contractor employed by the DOD.
If you are a civilian with no affiliation to the DOD or JBSA, it will be handled by the 502nd Security Forces Squadron.
There is no monetary fine for the DD Form 1408. However, there may be points assessed against your driving privileges on all JBSA locations, including JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, JBSA-Randolph, JBSA-Camp Bullis and JBSA-Lackland.
These points will follow your career for 24 months. The points assessed are directed by Air Force Instruction 31-218(i), chapter 5 and range from one point for a minor parking violation to six points for a major violation.
Any driver acquiring six points but less than 12 points in a six-month period could have their on-post driving privileges suspended or revoked for a period of time, as directed by the 502nd Security Force and Logistics Support Group commander.
Any revocation or suspension of driving privileges based on traffic points will be at least 6 months. At 12 points, driving privileges will be suspended for up to one year.
The United States District Court Violation Notice is issued for state and federal traffic violations.
This ticket not only assesses points against your on-base driving privileges, but also comes with a mandatory monetary fine established by the Chief Justice of the Western District of Texas (Federal Magistrate).
The words "United States District Court" and "Federal Magistrate" should be key identifiers that you should not ignore this ticket. The fine assessments range from $60 to $425, which include a mandatory $25 processing fee for each violation.
The Chief Justice of the Western District of Texas has set the minimum fine of $225 for Failure To Maintain Financial Responsibility or, in other words, driving without insurance. The federal ceiling for this violation is $5,000 if the presiding judge deems it necessary.
At JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, the 502nd SFS extends a courtesy to drivers that declare they actually had valid insurance coverage on the date and time the ticket was written but could not present it during the traffic stop.
They have three days, excluding weekends and holidays, to hand-carry proof of insurance and the copies of their ticket to Security Forces Administration at building 2250 to the Magistrate Court Liaison office.
At the Magistrate Court Liaison office, the ticket will be evaluated for possible dismissal. Insurance purchased after the ticket was written, even on the same day, will not help the case.
If, after the three-day courtesy period has passed, a driver feels their ticket merits dismissal, only the assistant U.S. attorney, during your court appearance, may dismiss your ticket.
Lastly, depending upon the seriousness of the violation and the mandatory background check conducted during your traffic stop, you may be arrested, be directed to a mandatory court appearance, or both.
Failure to appear in court as directed by a federal court order or failure to forfeit (pay) the total collateral due (fine) will result in a federal arrest warrant issued in your name.
The U.S. Marshals Service is tasked with carrying out these warrants for arrest. There are no automatic re-sets just because you missed your day in court.
With the increase of traffic congestion and four-way stops in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic, drivers are reminded public safety is everyone's business.
Both drivers and pedestrians alike are held responsible for their actions.
In addition, the traffic flow plan in the parking lot of the Main Post Exchange is for one-way traffic only.
The maximum speed limit in all JBSA parking lots and the in and out lanes at all base entry control points is 10 miles per hour.
JBSA police officers and 502nd SFS employees wish all JBSA members a safe, healthy and event-free driving experience on all JBSA locations and remind people to "Click It Or Ticket."
(Kevin Rice, the Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Federal Magistrate Court Liaison Coordinator also contributed to this article.)