What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Speeding Ticket Fines
Every year, nearly 40 million speeding tickets are issued by traffic police with an average price around $150 each. If you have a little bit of an issue with a heavy foot on the gas, you could receive multiple speeding ticket fines in the course of a year. This could add up pretty quickly and be a real pain if you don’t have the money to pay.
In some states, unpaid speeding tickets mean that you could face a license suspension or inability to renew. Frequent unpaid tickets can even add up to a warrant for arrest.
To avoid any of the headaches of not being able to travel or even being arrested, you should find a way to handle your speeding ticket fines. If you don’t have the money to pay, you still have options.
Here are 8 potential scenarios to save you from paying the full ticket fee.
1. Fight Via Mail
If you got pulled over while you were driving through another city or state, you could try to contest your ticket via mail. In this “trial by deceleration“, the issuing officer is required to write a rebuttal to your contest. This is often one of the only options for dealing with a ticket remotely.
Thankfully for you, the officer in question often has too much else to worry about. If they skip out on their rebuttal, your case will be automatically dropped and the fine will disappear.2. Strike A Deal
No matter what they say, the officer who issued your ticket has the power to dismiss it at any point. The best way to get this ball rolling is to call the officer and ask if they can arrange to have a meeting.
Before you go into their office or have your phone call, you should prepare yourself by presenting the case for your reason for speeding. List the reasons that the officer should consider dismissing the ticket. These can include any personal struggles you’re going through or financial hardships you’re experiencing.
Make sure that the details you’re disputing are what appears on the ticket and be sure you’re quoting facts. If there are any major errors on the ticket, this can help your case. Kindly bring it up during your meeting.
Check the local police station in the city where you got your ticket. You should be able to get their phone number or address in order to get in touch.
3. Contact the Judge and Law Clerk
If you contact the judge and clerk that are set to see your case, you could save yourself from going to trial.
Be humble when you’re in touch with the judge. You’re asking for a favor and asking for forgiveness, so it’s reasonable to have humility.
State your case as clearly as possible. Bring up any personal issues that are relevant to the case and, most of all, be honest.
4. Follow Up With Thank Yous
If you didn’t get a final response from either of the above meetings or conversations, be sure to send a thank you note to the officer and judge. You can briefly restate the case and thank them for their consideration.
Be kind and professional while adding a bit of your own personality. Don’t make an argument. Just be cordial and clear.
Contacting officials can sometimes go poorly for you, however. Try to take the temperature of how the officer or the judge feel when you first reach out. Don’t waste too much of their time overstating and dramatizing your case.
If you feel them pull back, retreat. Send a note apologizing for intruding and hope for the best.
5. Asking for Community Service
Community service is a great alternative to paying speeding ticket fines or going to court. Bring this up with the judge. If you already have a group you’d like to work with, bring that up as well.
If the person running the program where you’ll be volunteering is up for it, all you will need is for them to sign a form stating you were where you said you’d be. You could be doing something you love that’s great for the community while putting your ticket behind you.
6. Attend Traffic School
Depending on the state you’re in, you could be eligible for a short traffic program in response to your citation. This will take the place of paying your fine and allow you to brush up on driving concepts.
These classes are often quite cheap and can save you money if tickets have piled up. You could spend much less time in class than it would cost you to earn all that money back for tickets.
7. Asking for a Reduction or Extension of Time
Often you’ll have a set amount of time to pay off your speeding ticket fines. It’s typically about 30 days. If you’ve run a red light on your way to a job that underpays you, $120 could be a significant amount of money to have to pay for that.
If you can’t get your ticket thrown out, ask if the fine can be reduced. Otherwise, ask if you can have another few weeks to pay it.
8. Set Up a Payment Plan
You might not have to write one big check to cover all of your traffic tickets. Negotiate with the judge and ask if you can pay these hundreds of dollars for a plan.
With all of the included court fees, you could be facing huge fines that you can’t come up with at a moment’s notice. A payment plan could save your hide.
Speeding Ticket Fines Can Be Paid In Other Ways
Whether it’s through your community service or through traffic school, there are other ways to pay off your speeding ticket. In an ideal world, your tickets would be thrown out, but unfortunately, you sometimes end up with harsh consequences for minor violations.
If you’re looking for other kinds of help with your speeding ticket fines, contact us for more tips on what you can do.