How To Handle a Speeding Ticket

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The really frustrating thing for a lot of drivers is that they’re very familiar with the laws in their home state, but if they’re driving in another state that has different regulations, they’ll be charged according to those rules. The defense “But I didn’t know!” is probably the worst defense ever (although that doesn’t stop people from using it anyway…).

It’s never a good feeling to see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror. And you knew (kind of, maybe, just had a little hunch) that you were speeding, that’s likely to make you even more nervous. So when you do see those flashing lights, what should you do? How do you handle it?

If it’s clear that the cop is the one having the bad day, refrain from fighting your ticket on the scene. Instead, accept the ticket and immediately write down every detail you can think of — the date, time, weather conditions, road conditions, where the police officer was located, and maybe even some pictures of nearby speed limit signs. People fighting speeding tickets in court look a lot better if they come prepared, and you might even be able to prove that there were extenuating circumstances that took your attention away from your actual speed.

If you think that you have a chance at fighting a traffic ticket, you’ll definitely want to make sure that you don’t pay the fine right away. Most minor traffic violations allow the driver to pay the fine (and probably get a point or two on his/her driving record), or schedule a court hearing. If you pay the fine right away, you’re implicitly stating that you accept the blame. You won’t be able to fight your ticket in court successfully if you’ve already admitted that you’re guilty. Instead of paying the fine, make sure to schedule a court hearing right away. Most states give drivers a limited number of days to schedule DMV hearings after getting ticketed for traffic violations.

Additionally, if there are any inconsistencies with the ticket or court process, you likely be able to beat your ticket pretty easily. If the officer fills out the paperwork with a wrong information, or simply fails to show up in court for the DMV hearings, most judges will just dismiss the charge because they don’t want to waste time with such minor traffic violations.

So now it’s your turn to contribute: what are your tips for when you get pulled over? What should you do or not do? Let us, and your fellow drivers, know in the comments section! Great references here:

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