It’s never a good feeling when you glance in your rearview mirror and see those blue and red lights flashing behind you. While merely paying for a traffic ticket may seem like the easiest option, it might be in your best interest to consider pleading not guilty – especially if you are. After all, once you pay the initial fee for your traffic violation, your car insurance rates can increase by hundreds of dollars per year after a ticket.
According to a study by NerdWallet, an average 40-year-old driver with good credit and minimum insurance coverage will end up paying $148 more per year with just one ticket on their record. Tickets may seem minor, but they can have potentially long-lasting and expensive consequences. Here’s how you can fight to minimize or even eliminate a traffic citation from your record:
Talking your way out of it
If an officer has ever pulled you over for a traffic violation, you know that sometimes they might let you off with a warning. By remaining polite, calm and providing your information when the officer asks, you can increase your odds of getting away with a warning. While pulled over, you should also:
- Say as little as possible – anything you say can be used against you in court.
- Don’t argue or be impolite
- Ask which method the officer used to determine if you were speeding
- Write down all details about the incident, including the time, location and anything that may have affected the circumstances like the weather or missing speed limit signs.
Going to court
If you do get a ticket and wish to fight it, you will need to go to court. Sometimes, a judge may drop a traffic violation if there is inaccurate or incomplete information on the document. Make sure all the details on your ticket are correct. Other times, the court may drop charges if the officer that issued your ticket doesn’t appear in court. If you have any evidence that you weren’t speeding, such as a dashcam camera, smartphone data or pictures from the scene, these can help your case.
Hiring an attorney
If fighting your own ticket in court sounds intimidating, you can enlist the help of a lawyer. Working with an attorney who specializes in traffic citations can drastically increase the odds of getting your ticket dismissed or lessen the charges. With the right legal help, you may be able to avoid negatively affecting your driving record and paying more money in the long term.