Surprisingly, a small percentage of ticketed drivers (around 3-5%) actually contest tickets in court. So, most people are accumulating fees, fines and insurance points that may have been avoided had they decided to fight.
But how do you know if you should just pay the ticket or fight it?
We of course think you should fight in almost every circumstance where a charge may appear on your driving record. Even if it seems very minor, accepting a conviction on your record when you may otherwise be able to avoid it could be a decision you regret sometime in the future. Perhaps there will be unexpected consequences from the ticket itself or perhaps you will receive another ticket in the future that might become a headache only in conjunction with the first ticket that you just paid.
There are many reasons why you should consider fighting a traffic ticket and lots of variables to help make your decision. Many people don’t fight a ticket because they don’t want the worry and hassle of going to court, or they just don’t think they have a chance to win.
Why you should fight a traffic ticket
You’ll always have a chance to win or perhaps have the charges against you reduced. Perhaps the officer took poor notes at the scene or otherwise will have issues when testifying in court or perhaps a prosecutor is willing to reduce the charge against you simply because it’s a quick way to alleviate a caseload. Maybe there’s some defense or justification that will help your case.
You can avoid points, license suspensions and more. Speeding ticket points alone range from 3 to 11 (enough for a suspension from a single speeding ticket) depending on how far over the limit you were driving. Speeding tickets and other moving violations are not good for your driving record and certainly not good for your automobile insurance.
10 questions to determine if you should fight a traffic ticket
Here are some quick considerations when determining whether to fight a traffic ticket…
1. Is it a violation that will add points to your license?
2. Is it a violation that may cause an insurance increase?
3. Are you facing additional DMV surcharges or assessments?
4. Is there potential license suspension as a result of the conviction?
5. Is there potential imprisonment as a result of the the conviction?
6. Is it possible for the conviction to affect your employment status or ability to drive to work or for work?
7. Is there a reasonable chance of success if you proceed to a trial?
8. Might the prosecutor and/or judge be negotiable regarding a reduction of the charge and penalties?
9. How much time and/or expense is necessary to fight the ticket relative to the potential penalties?
10. Is there someone knowledgeable and experienced with whom you can discuss all this?
If you’ve received a ticket and are currently in the process of deciding what to do with it, feel free to give us a call. We’re your “10” above and can help you assess what you are facing and what options are available to minimize or eliminate the potential damages.
Feel free to read more about New York State speeding tickets or some other common NY traffic violations and misdemeanors.
Submitted by Scott Feifer