The Pros and Cons of Fighting a Traffic Ticket

By: Staff Writer August 7, 2012
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Ready to Fight or Pay Your Traffic Ticket? 

Visit our Traffic Tickets page to respond to your citation now. Whether you plan on fighting the charge, or simply paying the fine, you'll find all the information you need for your specific state.

Whether you get a traffic violation because you forgot to use your turn signal or a speeding ticket because you were driving too fast on a two-lane road, it's common to freak out when you receive a traffic ticket.

After all, traffic tickets bring annoying, expensive, and sometimes even serious penalties like:

  • Fines and other costs like increased car insurance rates.
  • Driving record points (in certain states).
  • License suspension (depending on the violation or accumulated points).

In light of all that, it makes sense to spend some time weighing the pros and cons of fighting the traffic citation in court.

Fight Traffic Ticket Advantages

The potential benefits of challenging a traffic ticket include:

  • The possibility of having all charges dropped. This means no fines to pay, no traffic ticket added to your driving record, and depending on your state's traffic laws, no driving record points.
  • Winning your case will keep your car insurance premiums in check. Auto insurance providers maintain close watch on driving records. The more egregious the traffic violation – reckless driving, DUI, speeding tickets – on your driving record, the more likely you'll be notified of a jump in your car insurance rates.
  • A plea bargain agreement may be reached before going to court, resulting in reduced charges.
  • You'll maintain your driving privileges. Depending on the state of your driving record, one more traffic ticket could cause the state to suspend or revoke your driving privileges. Keeping the ticket off your record will prevent this, sparing you from the inconvenience of public transportation and soliciting rides from friends and family.
  • Depending on the nature of your work, having charges dropped could save your job. This bears especially true with commercial drivers.
  • Depending on the traffic ticket and your driving record, no mandatory enrollment in a court-approved traffic school, saving you time and tuition costs.

Contest Traffic Ticket Disadvantages

The negatives behind challenging traffic tickets in court include:

  • Major time drain. Contesting a ticket requires at least two weekday court visits. And if you opt to represent yourself, you will need to prepare your case by gathering and organizing evidence, which includes contacting witnesses.
  • You must pay legal fees if you hire a traffic ticket attorney. Depending on the length of the trial and the nature of the case, this could be extremely costly.
  • There are no guarantees. Even after presenting your case, the judge could still rule against you. This means not only will you still face all penalties associated with the traffic citation (fines, points, possible car insurance rate increase...), but you will also be saddled with court and legal fees.

Did we miss anything? Share your traffic ticket experiences with our online community by leaving your wisdom in the comment section below.

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