You’re usually the safest driver on the road. You follow the speed limit, put your lights on in the rain, don’t tailgate, and generally watch out for yourself and everyone else on the road. But today wasn’t your day — you went a little too fast, and now you’ve got a ticket. What happens next?
Decide What to Do About Your Ticket
You have three options when you get a ticket out on the road. You can pay the fine, contest it, or choose mitigation. Here’s what you need to know about your options.
Pay the ticket: When you pay the fine, you’re accepting the citation as is and accepting responsibility for the violation. It also means you accept the consequences of the ticket.
Contest the ticket: This involves fighting the merits of the ticket, often going to court and defending yourself to prove you didn’t do what the police officer cited you for. You may need a lawyer which can, in some cases, cost more than the ticket.
Mitigation: Consider this the compromise between the first two options. You’ll have to admit your guilt, but you may be able to lower the amount of your ticket or receive more time to pay it.
Mitigation offers you more flexibility and saves you the time of fighting a ticket in court. In some cases you can reduce the points you may receive on your licenses or avoid paying the fine by taking a defensive driving course instead.
The Consequences of a Ticket
The consequences you can face when you get a ticket out on the road — speeding, not yielding, running a red light, etc. — vary slightly depending on the severity of the citation. In most cases, your ticket will impact your driving record and your auto insurance.
One big concern with a ticket are points being added to your license. Accumulate a certain number of points over time, and your license can be suspended. Do something bad enough — like driving under the influence — and the suspension will be automatic.
The second big concern is how your ticket will impact your auto insurance rates. Getting a ticket sends a signal to your insurer that you may be a risk out on the road. Accumulate enough points, over time or at once, and your insurer will likely increase your insurance premium rates or refuse to renew your policy.
This is why contesting and mitigating tickets are such attractive options in the case of severe fines and citations. Paying the ticket means you accept guilt and the consequences. Fighting the ticket or mitigating it allows you the option to reduce or eliminate those consequences.
If You Fight a Ticket
For anyone willing to choose option two, contesting their ticket, keep a few things in mind.
On the day you get your ticket:
- Stay polite and say very little, because it can be used against you later in court.
- Write down what happened as soon as you can after you receive your citation while it’s fresh in your memory.
Going to court:
- Don’t rely on the police officer not showing up. There’s a good chance they will.
- Only tell the truth and refer to the notes you took on the day you received your ticket.
- When possible, hire an attorney. They’ll understand the law and legal system and help you navigate it.
If you’ve received a ticket and it impacted your auto insurance, you have options. You don’t automatically have to pay expensive premiums. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote on a new policy.