What Are Your Options After Receiving A Traffic Ticket?April 22, 2014 | in Driving and Safety Tips, The Speeder In You
You are cruising along singing to your favorite tunes and all of a sudden you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Cursing silently, you start to pull over hoping that possibly the officer is headed across town, but nope, the police car pulls up behind you. Despite putting on your most innocent face, the officer writes you up for a speeding ticket.
At this point the day is pretty much ruined, so you drive home five under the limit just in case. When you get home, you pull the ticket out to see how much it is going to cost you. These days most traffic violations can cause major sticker shock. This can particularly rub salt in the wound if you feel that the ticket was not justified.
Luckily, pleading guilty and paying up isn’t your only option after receiving a moving traffic violation. Let’s take a look at some things you can do.
1. Check the website or contact the Traffic Violations Bureau
If you are unfamiliar with how your state handles traffic violations, it may be a good idea to go on the website or contact the bureau in charge directly to find out your options. While the options available are generally similar, there can be differences in how points are allotted or who is permitted to reduce their violation. Also, talking with someone about what is going on can help you to calm down and start thinking about your situation logically.
2. Go to Traffic School
Most states will allow you to attend traffic school, rather than placing points on your record if you haven’t had a violation in a certain block of time. Keep in mind, however, that you will still have to pay for the cost of the ticket and pay to go to traffic school on top of that. This may sound like a lousy deal, but it could keep your insurance rates from going up, saving you money in the long run. If you are not sure where your traffic school is, try searching it with your state’s name (for example: traffic school in Florida).
3. Contest the Ticket
If you truly feel the ticket was given in error or just want to take your chances at getting the violation reduced or removed, you can set up a court date to challenge the ticket. If you decide to go this route, be prepared to offer some kind of evidence that the violation was given in error. Pictures and other tangible evidence will help. Otherwise, its just your word against the officer’s. Of course, some people get lucky and the officer won’t show up, so their case is dismissed. Count yourself fortunate if that ever happens to you.
4. Seek a Reduction
Sometimes it is possible to seek a violation reduction outside of court by speaking with the court clerk. State officials are busy too, and will sometimes remove a charge or a fee if it means that a ticket will be paid and taken care of efficiently. Just don’t expect them to completely remove the fee. You will have to go to court for that.
5. Pay Up
Of course, many people want to avoid any hassle and will simply plead no contest and pay the fee. Most states have made this fairly convenient to do by allowing online payment, or if you prefer a traditional route, mailing the check in. Just be sure to watch out for deadlines and any other specific instructions, so the easy way out doesn’t become an even bigger hassle.