There are few things that can ruin a good day faster than getting a traffic ticket. Not only are you likely to face a stiff fine, but there may be some unanticipated consequences to consider as well, such as points on your driving record and the impact to your auto insurance premiums.
So, what do you do when you find yourself with ticket in hand? You may have a few options available to you.
Contest the Ticket
If you doubt the veracity of the officer’s findings or feel you weren’t in the wrong, you have the option to contest the ticket by going to court. It will fall upon you to establish the burden of proof, or in other words, why you are not guilty of the citation.
FindLaw offers a few recommendations for increasing your odds of beating the ticket, such as understanding the letter of the law you have been accused of breaking, as well as what doesn’t work. In short, ignorance and sob stories won’t exonerate you, but proving that procedural abnormalities or faulty technology were involved with the citation may help you beat the fine.
Attend Traffic School or Take a Defensive Driving Course
In many states, drivers who haven’t had previous tickets over a predetermined course of time, are allowed to attend traffic school or take a defensive driving course to have charges reduced or often dismissed outright.
While no one likes the idea of giving up a Saturday to attend traffic class, it can help you avoid points being applied against your license and the increase in insurance premiums that often go hand in hand with traffic tickets. It isn’t uncommon to be forgiven the fine entirely, and if not, payouts can be reduced by taking a course on traffic and roadway laws. You may find your insurance company is more forgiving as well.
Pay the Fine
If you can’t beat the fine, then by all means pay it. Failing to do so within the time specified, can result in additional fines or the suspension of your license, and will likely have a more negative impact on your premiums than the initial citation.
Traffic tickets aren’t the end of the world, and except for the most severe cases, will usually drop off your insurer’s radar within a few years. To make sure your insurer isn’t holding past transactions against you, review your coverage and get new quotes from other companies each year.