How to Take Care of a Speeding Ticketby Karen Hertzberg
Getting a speeding ticket is inconvenient at best, and downright expensive at worst. Not only will the court likely assess a fine, but you also run the risk of increased insurance rates. There are several ways to take care of a speeding ticket, and each has its pros and cons. The best route depends on you and your situation.
Paying the Ticket
Look at your ticket for information on how to pay your ticket, where to pay it and by what date the fine is due.
Check online or call your state's Department of Motor Vehicles or Transportation. You may be able to find additional resources to help you decide how you'd like to handle the speeding ticket.
Pay the ticket. Some states allow you to pay fines online. In others, you may be able to mail in your ticket with your payment or deliver it to the local courthouse. Paying the ticket indicates that you do not contest the charges or the consequences listed on your ticket. Points will be removed from your license accordingly.
Fighting or Amending the Ticket
Call your local traffic court to obtain information about what to do if you wish to contest your speeding ticket.
Appear in court on the scheduled date. You will likely be given time to discuss any mitigating circumstances with either a prosecutor or judge prior to entering your plea. If you have evidence to present (such as a mechanic's bill for replacing a faulty speedometer, or photos showing obstructed views of traffic signs), bring it with you because you may have an opportunity to present it at this time.
Ask the judge or prosecutor to reduce the fine, amend the points assessed against your license or both. You may be asked to attend traffic school, but doing so should result in fewer (if any) points being assessed against your driving record. Although you'll pay for traffic school and you'll likely pay the fine for your ticket, keeping any points off your driving record can keep your auto insurance company from raising your rates.
Plead "not guilty" when asked to enter a plea if the judge or prosecutor is unwilling to reduce the fine or point assessment and you still believe you have a case. A plea of "not guilty" means that a court date will be arranged and you will be asked to appear in court to present your evidence.
Obtain an attorney to represent you if the speeding ticket includes a serious violation (such as excessive speed or reckless driving). Although hiring an attorney can be a costly option, the attorney can help prevent you from potentially losing your license and suffering increased insurance costs.
- Be courteous when dealing with police officers, court officials and attorneys. Belligerent behavior won't win you any favor and, in fact, could make your situation worse.
- Don't hesitate to contact the court clerk if you have any questions about how to proceed with taking care of your speeding ticket.
- Whatever you do, don't fail to either appear in court or pay your fine by the date it is due. Failure to pay traffic fines can result in serious consequences such as suspension of your driving privileges or even the issuing of an arrest warrant.
- police car up close image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com