You’re cruising along the highway with nary a care in the world, windows down, bumping your favorite artist. All of a sudden, you see something out of the corner of your eye in your rearview mirror. Your heart sinks. Frantic, flashing blue lights now fill your mirror.
You’ve just been pulled over, and a short five minute conversation later you’ve been awarded with a shiny new slip of paper: a speeding ticket. Now you may be thinking: is it worth fighting a speeding ticket?
If you’re trying to decide whether or not it’s worth fighting the speeding citation you’ve just received, we’ll clear that up for you in this post. In this article, we list 10 factors for you to consider when you receive that citation, and what to do when you get a speeding ticket.
1. Some Tickets Aren’t as Bad as Others
First things first: consider what you got on your ticket. Some citations just aren’t as bad as others.
If you got a 10 over speeding ticket, that’s very different in most states than a speeding ticket over 20 mph. If the difference between your speed and the posted speed limit is high enough, you can cross a threshold that will introduce you to superspeeding fines or worse.
For instance, one man was arrested and spent three nights in jail for driving at 93 mph on a 55 mph highway. If you got a ticket for a very significant offense, then depending on your state the judge at the court may not look well on you.
2. Points on Your License = Bad
Another factor to consider, however, is whether the conviction of the citation will add points to your license. A few things can skyrocket your insurance rates like points on your license can.
If you’re in a situation where the citation you’ve just received will add more than a couple points on your license, ALWAYS fight it. Not only will having those points on your license cost you heavily in the long run with insurance, but if you’re convicted of another offense within a short duration you may have your license suspended or revoked for a period of time.
3. Your Insurance May Go Up
As we discussed above, insurance costs almost always go up depending on how many points you get on your license, and how far over the speed limit you were going.
Research how much your insurance company tends to penalize drivers with points on their license. Then, do a quick calculation to see if paying the court costs and/or a law firm to help you out with fighting the ticket is worth it. Typically, you’ll come out ahead if you do fight the ticket and win.
4. The Cop May Not Show Up to Court
Do cops show up to court for speeding tickets? The answer is simple: not always.
The process with fighting a speeding ticket is as follows: first, you’re given a court date to appear before a court of law and plead one way or the other. If you plead not guilty, another court date is set where the officer who ticketed you is required to be present.
There are many instances, however, of the police officer not showing up due to work or some other reason. In those instances, you automatically win. That alone could make it worth fighting the ticket if you were ticketed by a police department notorious for not showing up to court.
5. How Certain of Your Lack of Fault Are You?
The ideal scenario when you’re deciding is it worth fighting a speeding ticket is when you’re really not at fault. The cop had you at at the wrong speed, the speed limit signage was unclear, etc.
If you’re completely certain that you were not at fault, then fight the ticket. Even if you’re unsure how to prove your innocence, a law firm can help you out with that part.
6. Was Your Conduct Legally Justified?
There are some extreme instances where even if you were technically at fault, you can be acquitted due to extenuating circumstances. For instance, if the speed limit signage was obstructed by a tree, that’s the county’s fault for not having clear and obvious signage.
This can be used as an argument to show that your speed was legally justified given that you were not given the correct speed limit.
7. Lack of Evidence Presented
How did the officer clock you? Did he hit with you a radar gun, or was he keeping up with you and clocking your speed with his vehicle?
If your conversation with the officer makes you feel that he didn’t actually have any evidence recorded, but instead just thought that you were going over the speed limit based on his sight, then you stand a good chance of winning as he may fail to present evidence.
8. Time Is Money
Deciding is it worth fighting a speeding ticket is a factor of how valuable your time is to you. If you’re fighting a ticket, you’ll typically need to make at least 2 court appearances. So you’ll spend time in court, spend time driving back and forth to court, and spend time researching strategies to fight the ticket.
How valuable is your time to you? If you value your time at $200/hour, and you’ll spend 4 hours fighting a $200 ticket, then that may not be worth it. However, if you’re able to hand things off to a law firm to handle it for you, then you could be looking at positive ROI. That, however, is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself.
9. Check Your Ticket for Errors
If the officer in question made any errors when he recorded your offense on a ticket, then you’re home scot free. If he wrote down the wrong highway, car color, car model, or posted speed limit, then that citation is inadmissible to court and your case could be dismissed. Check to make sure there are no errors before you proceed to fight it.
10. Professional Help Goes a Long Way
As discussed above, if your time is worth too much for you to fight your ticket by yourself, then consider calling in professional help. The right law firm will have had significant experience fighting speeding tickets and can tell you immediately whether or not you should pay a ticket or go to court.
Is It Worth Fighting a Speeding Ticket?
In summary, the answer to “is it worth fighting a speeding ticket?” has to be determined by you. Just keep in mind the impact of what a conviction would do not only to your bank account when you pay the ticket, but also your insurance costs and license status.
If you’ve decided that a professional traffic consultation is the right next step for you, then call us today to figure out how we can help you fight this ticket!