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You got a speeding ticket. What do you do?
If you pay the ticket, you’re at a guaranteed loss. If you fight the ticket and win, you may save yourself some heartache. But if you lose, you may be out the ticket cost plus lawyer or court fees.
Take our advice to make sure the ticket doesn’t cost more than it should.
Speeding Tickets Suck
If you hate speeding tickets, you’re not alone.
It gets worse.
Some studies suggest that ticketing is racially biased. In Missouri, black drivers are 85 times more likely to get pulled over.
An investigation into Missouri’s Ferguson Police Department also showed that African Americans were twice as likely to receive a ticket as white motorists.
Our most important advice is this: don’t avoid dealing with a speeding ticket.
Ignoring a ticket can lead to worse consequences, including arrest.
These are three ways you should handle a ticket:
1. Pay the ticket
The first option is paying the ticket. If you were in the wrong and can pay, then this may be the right move for you.
But keep in mind your insurance payments will probably go up anywhere from 8% to 43% if you have a speeding ticket on your record. Ouch.
2. Take it to court
Fighting a ticket in court means showing up for a hearing and trying to get the fine removed.
If the officer who pulled you over doesn’t show up, you usually win on the spot.
Otherwise, you’ll have to defend yourself to the judge and explain how you didn’t break the law.
If you do have to defend yourself, the only way to prepare is learn about traffic laws in the jurisdiction you were fined in and find a legal reason you weren’t in the wrong.
You’ll also need to offer evidence in your defense. This can be things like the speed limit not being posted or dashcam footage showing you driving under the limit.
You can hire a traffic lawyer to assist you, but lawyers will probably cost more than the ticket.
Only higher a lawyer if the fine is excessive or you stand to lose your license.
3. Negotiate your fine
If this is your first ticket or you have a valid reason for speeding—like a trip to the emergency room—you may be able to bargain with the judge.
To do this, you’ll have to admit that you were speeding and provide the reason.
If the judge sympathizes with you, they may lower your fine, even exchange the ticket for traffic school hours, or allow you to pay without marking your driving record.
Our best money-saving tips for speeding tickets
According to AllState, if you’re over 25 years old and haven’t had a similar citation in the last three years, your car insurance rates may not go up.
However, if your premium does go up, check to see if your state offers a test to prove you’re a safe driver. New York lets drivers finish a course that shows they are low-risk drivers, which can decrease their insurance costs.
You can also shop around for new insurance with better rates. Call other providers and see if they can give you a better rate.
Last words of advice
If you get pulled over and feel safe enough to do it, try to ask calmly how the police officer tracked your speed. Take note
Also record the time, where you were pulled over, and any evidence you have backing up your claim.
Consider recording the incident using your phone if tensions run high.
This information could support your court case if you decide to go that route.
Good luck and safe driving.
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