Posted: 21 November 2017
Have you been issued with a traffic ticket recently? Find out when to fight your traffic fines and how to avoid getting one in the first place.
You’re driving to work one morning when suddenly you see flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror.
You check your speedometer and realize with dread you were doing 45 in a 25. Now not only are you late for work, but you’ve got to pay a $300 ticket!
No one wants to pay so much for such a little mistake, but what can you about it?
We can help you there. We’re gonna show you the ins and outs of traffic fines, how to avoid them, and what to do if you get busted.
How to Avoid Traffic Fines
The best way to get out of a ticket is to not get caught in the first place.
Avoid the fuzz by not making common mistakes like speeding, talking on your phone, and not wearing your seatbelt.
We’ve all done it. Maybe we’re caught up in a song on the radio. Maybe we’re late for school. Maybe that old person in front of us is going way too slow.
Either way, speeding is one of the most common traffic violations.
Traffic fines for speeding cost about $150 on average including court fees. If you’re thinking, “Well that doesn’t sound too bad,” don’t get ahead of yourself.
Actual rates vary from state to state and are often calculated based on how far you went over the speed limit. In Texas, for example, driving 15 miles over can cost you $240 while driving 30 over can cost $300 or more!
Keep an eye out for posted speed limits and stay within them. Your wallet will thank you.
Don’t Text and Drive
This one should be obvious, right? We all know that a distracted driver is a dangerous driver.
But for some reason, we do it anyway.
A recent survey found that 98% of drivers who own cellphones know the dangers of texting while driving, yet three-quarters of them admit doing it.
Most states now have laws banning the use of cellphones behind the wheel. If you get caught, you could face hefty traffic fines.
Your best bet is to invest in hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth. In fact, most newer cars come with Bluetooth compatibility. All you have to do is sync your phone with the car’s computer.
If you can’t afford Bluetooth, you’re better off leaving your phone alone. No text is worth your life. It can wait until you’re off the road.
Wear Your Seatbelt
It’s there for a reason. On average, seatbelts save 15,000 lives every year. Not wearing one can cost you more than just your life.
In Florida, for example, traffic fines for a seatbelt violation can cost you $30. That number only goes up if you have more passengers not wearing seatbelts, especially children.
When you do wear a seat belt, wear it properly. The chest strap doesn’t go behind your back. The bottom strap doesn’t go around your ankles.
Wearing a seat belt improperly can be just as dangerous as not wearing one at all.
What You Can Do About Them
Let’s say you skipped the first section of this post and got busted. What do you do now? Do you even have options?
The answer is yes. Most lawyers, like the attorneys at the Florida Ticket Firm, recommend always fighting your ticket, whether you’re guilty or not.
Odds are you’ll come out on top. You could reduce your traffic fines or even pay nothing at all!
Gather All Your Information
Paying traffic fines is like signing a confession. You admit guilt and volunteer to pay the highest price.
The truth is though, you don’t have to pay right away. Often you’ll have up to 90 days before you have to do anything. You can use that time to explore your options, most of which don’t require a lawyer.
The first step is to make sure all your ticket information is correct. Did it happen at the time the cop says it did? Was it at the intersection he or she specified?
You can file a “discovery of motion” with the judge and get all the information related to your case. If you see any irregularities in the report, you can use it in your defense should your case go to trial.
Seek a Lower Fine
Of course, odds are your case won’t go before a judge. Most traffic courts are backed up worse than L.A. at rush hour. Often, you can petition to receive a lower fine.
For example, if you’re a first time offender, check with a clerk about a special “no contest” plea. It could reduce your fine and the citation won’t be released to your insurance company.
If your lead foot has gotten you in trouble on more than one occasion though, don’t worry. You have options too.
Some cities allow you to strike a deal with the district attorney by pleading guilty to a lesser infraction. You reduce your traffic fines and save the D.A. a trip to court.
Reschedule Your Court Date
If you fail to get a lower rate and your case does go to trial, you can still get out of it. If you reschedule your court date, it might prevent the cop who caught you from showing up.
Because you have the legal right to face your accuser, the judge may throw out your case if the cop doesn’t show.
That said, make sure you do. Traffic courts handle hundreds of cases at a time.
If you’re serious about fighting your traffic fines, the court will be more inclined to cut you a break, if only so they can move on to the next case.
Everybody hates traffic fines. They can make a good day bad and bad day worse.
Your best bet is to avoid common infractions so you don’t get pulled over. If you do, however, you have plenty of legal options available that can get you a lower rate or get the case dropped altogether.
Be smart, be serious, and you’ll come out on top.
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