Is It Worth Fighting a Speeding Ticket?
When you get a speeding ticket, your first thought is just getting through the traffic stop as easily as possible. It may not occur to you until much later how it will affect your wallet, particularly when it comes to car insurance rates. Some people find that it benefits them to fight the speeding ticket and try to avoid getting points on their license. However, there are some cases where this may not be the best thing to do. Is it really worth it to fight a speeding ticket? Read on to find out.
How a Speeding Ticket Affects Your Car Insurance
A speeding ticket can greatly affect your car insurance premiums. You will notice the increase when your policy renews. On average, Americans see an increase of 20 to 30 percent over traditional rates when they get a speeding ticket. But this may not be the sum total of your additional car insurance costs.
If you have previously been a good driver, you may be getting a good driver discount from your car insurance company. When you get a speeding ticket, you lose that discount in addition to the rate increase for the ticket. This means that your speeding ticket could cost you as much as $600 per year for three to five years.
When Speeding Tickets Can Be Fought
There are some situations in which a speeding ticket is likely to stand, and fighting it is futile. If you were going far over the speed limit, you probably won’t be able to prove that you weren’t speeding. There are some situations, however, in which a speeding ticket can be fought. You can fight a ticket alone, but you may want to hire an attorney who is aware of the letter of the law.
One defense to a speeding ticket is to claim that the radar gun was not correctly calibrated, and therefore the reading was invalid. Radar guns have to be calibrated every 30 to 60 days depending on the brand and model. If there is no documentation that this has been done, you may be able to get out of the ticket.
You may also be able to fight speed camera/radar tickets where no officer was present. Most of the time these tickets are thrown out when fought. The courts will not bother with pulling up the video or photo for court, and therefore they cannot prove that you were doing anything wrong. In addition, the only person who can testify against you is the officer who viewed the footage, and since they were not present you can claim hearsay.
There may be additional ways that you can get out of a speeding ticket if you take the matter to court. It is important that you discuss your options with an attorney if you are serious about fighting your speeding ticket. If you aren’t sure it will be worth the expense, an attorney can tell you your honest chances of getting the ticket overturned.
On average, an attorney will help you get out of your speeding ticket for about $500. You may also be forced to pay court costs and an associated fine, even if the speeding ticket is reduced to a lesser charge. On the whole, fighting a speeding ticket could cost you around $600 or more. Yet when compared to hiked car insurance rates, this may be worth the effort and cost. Considering that your car insurance could go up at least $600 per year for three to five years, a one time cost of $600 to keep it off of your driving record could be well worth it.
You may have other options for keeping your speeding ticket off of your driving record. Some states and jurisdictions allow drivers to attend a traffic school or defensive driving course in exchange for not having the ticket on their record. You will likely have to pay a fine for this privilege, as well as the cost of the class that you take. If this is an option, it allows you to save on your car insurance and keep the points off of your driver’s license even though you were guilty. This is a good option if you know that you will be unable to win your case if you take it to court.
The Bottom Line
If you get a speeding ticket and you know you were in the right, you should definitely fight the ticket. It will be well worth the cost of the attorney and court fees. If you get a speeding ticket and you know you were guilty, talk to a lawyer about loopholes that may allow you to get it thrown out in court. If all else fails, see if your jurisdiction allows the exchange of traffic school for the ticket not being on your driving record.