22 Oct What should you do if you get a traffic ticket?
What should you do if you get a traffic ticket?
When you get pulled over by the police, your first thought probably isn’t, I hope I don’t get a traffic ticket! But it happens to everyone, no matter how careful you are on the road. The good news is that you have options when you get pulled over, so don’t panic if you find yourself in this position. If you want to keep your driving record clean and avoid any unnecessary hassles with the law, read on to learn what to do if you get a traffic ticket.
3 steps for dealing with your first traffic ticket
It’s happened to all of us: You get pulled over by a police officer and end up with a traffic ticket. What you choose to do at that moment can impact your future for years. So what’s best, fight it in court or just pay it? The answer is more complex than it may seem on first blush. In some cases, fighting your ticket can save you time and money in attorney fees down the road. In other cases, having an open violation on your record can have ramifications far beyond whether or not your fine was reduced when taken to court. Read below for three steps to take when facing your first traffic citation.
If you think you are guilty
In many cases, whether or not you’re guilty of an offense is obvious. If there are witnesses, video footage, police reports, etc., then it’s easy to discern what happened. In these cases, accept your guilt and pay your fine to avoid any further complications. However, just because you think you’re guilty doesn’t mean that’s what a judge will find in court. Cases can be dropped for a number of reasons—including reasonable doubt—so it never hurts to ask for reduced charges or penalties in exchange for not going to trial. You can also try to dispute charges based on mitigating circumstances (like heavy traffic) but sometimes judges won’t take any excuses into account when deciding what punishment is appropriate.
Things not to do after getting a traffic ticket
After getting a traffic ticket, it’s easy to make mistakes. Do not ignore it. If you don’t pay it and don’t go to court, your license will be suspended and points added to your record. Don’t try and handle it yourself – most tickets can be handled by mail or online; we’ll also tell you how to request an in-person hearing and what happens there.