Traffic can wear away at anyone's nerves, especially under time restraints. Even the most prepared drivers can find themselves in a situation that tempts them to press the pedal to the metal. Think of times when a school bus stops to let nearly all passengers off, or when a five-car pileup jams the interstate. These frustrating situations may leave the best drivers itching to find a roundabout, driving five to ten miles over the speed limit. Unfortunately, these pressing times may also lead to flashing red lights, a three hundred-dollar ticket, and a tension headache to last for the rest of the day. Actually, that tension headache may last for a few years once insurance costs fly through the roof. Try not to sweat it too much, because legal experts say there are many options to explore before paying that ticket. In many municipalities, fines collected from traffic infractions amount to billions of dollars. Many legal experts suggest fighting traffic tickets in court, regardless if guilt plays a role, to minimize fines and prevent insurance premium spikes. According to the Communications Director of the National Motorists Association, insurance premiums can rise by up to thirty percent over the years following the initial infraction. In fact, a minor traffic infraction can cost upwards of a thousand dollars when considering fines, court costs, and increased insurance premiums. That could amount to more than a week's pay for most drivers. Statistically, only five percent of drivers contest their tickets while others simply pay the fine and move on. The traffic court system relies on drivers to accept guilt, pay the fine, and call it a day. Most traffic citations allow drivers up to ninety days to enter a plea or pay the fine. This gives plenty of time to explore other options to help reduce the fine amount. In some jurisdictions, first-time offenders can enter a "no contest" plea to reduce their fine and stop the release of their citation to the insurance company. Some state may provide the option to take a defensive driving course to reduce the fine and remove points on your license. Offenders with one or more infractions may not have this option, which means they must take other steps to lessen the punishable fine. First, start by examining the ticket for correct information to see if the officer falsified the documentation. Look for inaccurate citation numbers, incorrect location of the infraction, and time of day. File a "discovery of motion" to request all of the other details to help the investigation process. Incorrect information usually qualifies as grounds for dismissal. In addition, if an officer fails to show in court, then the infraction may be thrown out. Court procedures and grounds for dismissal vary from state to state. For example, check out these state guidelines to help fight traffic citations in California, Florida, and Texas: California Traffic Tickets and Court Procedures If you received a traffic citation in the state of California, then you may be in luck. Many jurisdictions grant first-time offenders the option of going to a state-approved traffic school to lessen punishable fines. This will reduce the fine and remove points on your license. Drivers may either enroll online or in-person. Drivers who successfully complete this course may prevent traffic violations from damaging their driving records. A defensive driving course educates drivers and raises safety awareness while on the road. If you have exhausted these options, then you may need to fight the citation in traffic court. Drivers may need to appear in court on a scheduled date. Drivers may choose to enter a plea bargain to lower fees, or pursue the citation in court for dismissal. They may also choose to represent themselves or hire an attorney. Some drivers may not need to appear in court; however, they may have to wait for a response by mail. A dismissed traffic ticket by judicial decision usually means the driver does not pay any fines, except for court costs and legal fees. Florida Traffic Tickets and Court Procedures If you received a traffic ticket in Florida, then you must pay the fine within thirty calendar days. Drivers have three options to pursue to satisfy traffic citations, including electing to attend a traffic school, paying the fine, and requesting a court appearance. Electing to enroll into traffic school will lead to a reduction in fines, and will remove points on your license. It will also prevent your insurance premium from going up or from being canceled. Requesting a court appearance that leads to a conviction may assess points on your license and impose civil penalties. Therefore, it may be wise to hire an attorney to represent you in traffic court while fighting citations. Texas Traffic Tickets and Court Procedures If you received a traffic ticket in the state of Texas, then you might qualify to have it dismissed along with points removed on your license after completing a state-approved driving safety course. Check with the Texas Education Agency for state-approved courses. The first step in getting the citation dismissed is admitting guilt or signing a document of no-contest. Next, contact the traffic court to request permission for taking the defensive driver's course on or before appearing in court. The state of Texas will not grant this option for speeding violations exceeding 25 miles over the speed limit, or violations committed by commercial drivers. In these cases, drivers should request for an appearance date and attempt to fight the violation in traffic court.

Guide To Dealing With Tickets