7 Reasons it May be Worth it to Fight Your Traffic Ticket
Traffic tickets can be more expensive than they seem on face value alone. In addition to their direct cost, they have implications for insurance rates and even whether one's license is revoked. As a result, fighting the ticket can be a good option.
Many people know the sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach when they see a police officer’s flashing blue lights behind them. When a driver is ticketed for breaking a traffic law it will usually lead to more problems than just having a fine to pay. Even with this being the case, most people are content with just paying the citation off and moving on with their life. It is important to know, however, that an officer’s statement accusing a person of breaking the law does not equate to an automatic conviction. There are at least seven instances in which a person may benefit from fighting a traffic ticket.
Speed was measured with a Radar Gun
Radar guns are mechanical instruments that require maintenance. A driver should obtain manufacturer instructions for the radar guns their local police use and also visit the police agency to review the maintenance logs of the radar gun in question. If the device wasn’t maintained as instructed by the manufacturer, the legitimacy of the radar gun results will come into question and the ticket will likely be dropped.
Ticket is Especially Expensive
Many people don’t take the time to fight a traffic ticket because they believe a lawyer would be expensive. According to North Carolina speeding ticket law firm Powers McCartan, many lawyers will often handle traffic tickets for fifty to two hundred dollars due to the small amount of time they usually take. The law firm reminds drivers that "No speeding ticket is really a 'simple' speeding ticket. It can have significant impact on your driving record and your insurance, now or in the future." If a ticket exceeds the amount of having a lawyer handle the ticket, it is probably best to hire an attorney to have the ticket reduced or dropped.
Speed Limit not Posted
A person cannot obey the law if it is not posted. If a person was driving on a road with no posted speed limit, it will be hard for an officer to claim that they should’ve known the limit. This is also true if the speed limit sign was somehow obstructed from view (i.e., by a tree). The defendant will need to get pictures showing the sign obstructed for this defense to be viable.
Presumed Speed Limit State
It is illegal to go even one mile over the speed limit in absolute speed limit states. States with presumed speed limits, however, only post speed limits that are presumed to be the maximum safe limits. It is presumed that a person is breaking the law when they go over this speed. If a driver admits to going over this limit but can show that they were traveling at a safe speed for traffic, road and weather conditions, they will likely be able to avoid the fine.
It is also pertinent for a person to fight a ticket if they feel they were legally justified in their actions. Driving too slow while in the left lane, for instance, can get a person a traffic ticket, but it was legally justified to do so if the person was about to make a left turn. Stopping on a freeway will also get a person a traffic ticket, but if they were doing so because their car started making dangerous sounds and the driver thought pulling over was the only way to keep other drivers safe, they were likely also legally justified in their actions.
A person with a history of traffic tickets should definitely try to fight their case. These citations often equate to points being put onto a person’s license. If a person accumulates enough of these points, their license will be suspended for a period of time. Insurance rates can also go up drastically if a person receives numerous tickets. The fact that some insurance companies drop drivers who receive frequent tickets should be reason enough to fight the fine.
Traffic School is an Option
This is not really considered fighting a ticket, but it is a way of avoiding the repercussions. Many states will allow a person to have their ticket reduced or dropped altogether if they agree to take traffic school classes. Even if this school costs money, it will likely be cheaper than the increased insurance rates and fine a person will face after being ticketed.
Getting a traffic ticket usually turns into a hassle that most people could do without. Fighting a ticket may take more time than just simply paying the fine, but in many cases the additional time is well worth it. The consequences of paying a traffic ticket, which is basically pleading guilty, can likely be avoided in several situations.
Image Credit: CC BY-ND 2.0 (Flikr)/wyoguard
Ebele Okocha is a freelance writer who has had the unfortunate pleasure of receiving a few traffic tickets. She is also a contributing author for Powers McCartan LLC, a legal firm dedicated to providing its clientele with a North Carolina speeding ticket lawyer that is experienced and determined to protect the right of clients when they face charges for issues relating to traffic violations, such as driving with revoked license and speeding tickets.
Copyright © Ebele Okocha. Used with permission.