So, you got a speeding ticket. You’re not alone. Every year, approximately 41 million speeding tickets are issued in the United States. The question is, are you going to contest it?
While many drivers prefer to pay the fine and move on, there are many legitimate reasons to fight a speeding ticket.
Five Things to Consider Before Fighting a Speeding Ticket
You’ve probably heard the saying “pick your battles wisely,” and that’s generally good advice when it comes to fighting traffic citations. There are circumstances when it’s worth the time and expense to fight a speeding ticket.
Before you make your decision, consider these five critical points.
1. How Much Will Your Insurance Go Up?
A speeding ticket can raise your insurance by as much as 25%. Paying more for your insurance increases the overall cost of the ticket.
If you fight the ticket and win, you could save yourself from paying hundreds of extra dollars on your insurance each year.
If you pay the ticket, you can expect to pay higher insurance premiums. Switching insurance companies may also be a challenge because you no longer have a clean driving record.
For many drivers, avoiding having higher insurance premiums is reason enough to fight a speeding ticket.
2. Paying the Ticket Is an Admission of Guilt
You’ve probably heard that it’s easier to just pay for the ticket and move on with your life. While it may be easier to pay the ticket right now, going this route could have long-term consequences.
Paying a traffic ticket is an admission of guilt. An admission of guilt can have a variety of consequences, such as:
- Adding demerit points to your license
- Harsher penalties for future citations
- Complications in civil lawsuits
If you pay for a ticket associated with an accident, your payment may be viewed as an admission of guilt. That admission of guilt can be used against you if a personal injury lawsuit is filed regarding the incident.
3. How Will the Ticket Affect Your Job?
When most people get a speeding ticket, they don’t think about how it will affect other areas of their lives. But, in some cases, traffic violations can affect your job or your ability to find employment.
If driving is a big part of your job, you may be required to report traffic citations to your employer. Having a speeding ticket on your record will also increase the cost of your employer’s insurance. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, your job may be in jeopardy.
Even if your job doesn’t involve driving, a ticket can impact your employability if the violation was a criminal offense. Employers may run a background check, and if your speeding ticket shows up as a criminal offense, you may have a hard time getting hired.
Employment problems can also affect personal relationships and lead to financial hardship.
4. Will You Lose Your Driving Privileges?
Speeding violations don’t usually lead to license suspension, but there are circumstances where this does happen, such as:
- Driving excessively over the speed limit
- Accumulating too many demerit points on your license
- Having previous convictions
If you have a history of speeding tickets or other violations, another conviction could very well cause you to lose your license for 60 days or more. In some cases, suspensions can last a year or more.
Losing your driving privileges can affect other areas of your life. It may be harder or impossible to get to work, which puts your job at risk. Everyday errands, like running to the grocery store, will be more difficult and expensive.
5. Was the Ticket Given in Error?
Errors can and do happen when issuing speeding tickets. For example, maybe you had a legitimate reason for speeding. Maybe there were serious errors on the ticket, or you have proof that you weren’t actually speeding. These circumstances can lead to a speeding ticket being given in error.
If the ticket was genuinely given in error, you have every reason to contest it. Why pay for someone else’s mistake? However, the burden of proof will lie on you, so it’s important to make a solid argument backed by evidence. In this case, it’s especially beneficial to work with an experienced lawyer.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Fight a Speeding Ticket?
If you decide to fight your speeding ticket, you may be wondering whether you need to hire a lawyer. Technically, no, you do not need a lawyer to fight a speeding ticket. However, it is in your best interest to work with one.
An experienced traffic ticket lawyer:
- Knows how to fight a speeding ticket
- Has intimate knowledge of traffic law
- Can help you find the best course of action in your case
A speeding ticket can have long-term effects. If you plan to contest the violation, a lawyer can help you achieve the best outcome for your case.