7 Steps to Immediately Take After Getting a Ticket
Getting a ticket usually means paying a fine, receiving points on your license, and possibly ending up in court. To avoid any long-term damage to your driving record, keep reading.
Here we’ll share seven steps to take immediately after getting a ticket so you can safely return to the road without compromising your driving record (or your ego).
Buckle up and let’s get into it!
1. Stay Calm
Getting pulled over by the police is both stressful and unnerving. It’s important to remain calm and respectful during your interactions with the officer.
If you’re unsure why you were pulled over, ask politely. Don’t raise your voice, be defiant, or argue with the officer.
You’ll have a chance to fight your ticket if you think you’ve been wrongfully accused. The side of the road during the stop is not the time or place for this.
In addition to not arguing the ticket, don’t try to bribe, blackmail or convince the officer to let you go without a citation.
2. Follow the Officer’s Directions
Once you realize you’re getting a ticket, it’s time to listen up. The officer will explain why you’re receiving the ticket and ask you to sign it.
They will then present you with your own copy of the ticket. Here, you’ll find information like the citation code for the violation, the officer’s name, the monetary fine associated with the violation, and the court date (if applicable).
Your name, address, and other information will also be listed on the ticket. If anything is incorrect, let the officer know so they can make any necessary changes.
Thank the officer and gather yourself before leaving the stop.
3. Review Your Copy of the Ticket
Once you get to a safe location, review the ticket once more.
Here, you’ll find instructions on what to do next. Some officers will also explain these instructions at the time of the stop.
If you’re unsure of what to do next, call the contact number listed on your ticket. Someone will advise you on how to proceed.
4. Consider if This is Your First Violation
First-time violators have more options than repeat offenders. If this isn’t your first offense, you may need legal counsel or advice on what to do next.
For those facing their first speeding ticket, a defensive driving school may be an option. Instead of paying the monetary fine, violators can attend defensive driving school as restitution.
Most defensive driving courses are 4-hours long and guarantee you receive no points on your license. Not only are points visible on your driving record for several years, but they can negatively affect your auto insurance and future violations.
Defensive driving school is only available in select areas. Call your local municipality for more information.
5. Pay the Fine
If defensive driving school isn’t an option, you may choose to pay the fine associated with your speeding ticket. The fine will vary depending on several factors including:
- Location of the violation (school and construction zones carry more serious fines)
- Your previous driving record
- The exact violation you committed (going 25 miles over the speed limit carries a greater fine and more points that only going 10 miles over)
When deciding to pay the fine, you need to pay the full amount prior to the court date listed on the ticket. Most jurisdictions allow you to pay the fine online or in-person at the court or municipal building.
You may also choose to take your ticket to mitigation. This is where you work with the prosecutor and court to lower the cost of the ticket. You’re essentially admitting guilt but negotiating a better outcome, which may include:
- Paying the fine without affecting your driving record
- Reduced fine
- Extra time to pay the fine
Mitigation is between yourself, the prosecutor, and the court system. You may want to hire an experienced lawyer to help negotiate the best deal.
6. Go to Court
Do you think you were wrongfully accused of speeding or another traffic violation? If so, you may decide to fight the ticket in court.
It’s important to note that regardless of if you win or lose, you may be required to pay court fees in addition to the fine. Speeding tickets are difficult to dispute. It’s your responsibility to prove that you weren’t speeding.
To avoid additional fees and aggravation, make sure that you have a solid case before fighting a speeding ticket in court.
Some evidence that might help you make your case include:
- Photos proving the speed limit sign was obstructed
- Video or cell phone data proving your speed
- Questions regarding how the officer clocked your speed
- Eye-witness testimony
Many of these loopholes take careful planning and research to prove. If the officer who issued your ticket doesn’t appear in court, you automatically win your case.
But being prepared is important. An experienced lawyer will guarantee you cover all your bases in proving your case.
7. Contact Your Insurance Company
Your driving record isn’t the only thing negatively impacted by a speeding ticket. Depending on the offense, you might see a spike in your auto insurance due to careless driving.
In extreme cases, your insurance company might actually drop your policy after repeat offenses. Affordable auto insurance is another reason to abide by traffic laws and always be a cautious driver.
Protect Yourself from Getting a Ticket
Your first defense against fighting a speeding ticket is not getting a ticket in the first place! By obeying traffic laws and being a conscientious driver, you’ll avoid finding yourself in a compromising legal situation.
But accidents happen and the professionals at the Florida Ticket Firm can help.
Call us toll-free at 1-844-FLA-FIRM or use our helpful contact form to request more information.