First Speeding Ticket? Here’s What Happens When You Get Your First Citation

what happens when you get your first speeding ticket

Aside from that pit in your stomach when you see the flashing lights, what happens when you get your first speeding ticket?

If you’re new to police encounters it may be a mystery to you. Stress not, the more informed you are about what happens after getting ticketed, the better able you are to handle the situation well.

Here’s a simple breakdown of what happens and how to take care of the situation.

What Happens When You Get Your First Speeding Ticket?

With over 41 million speeding tickets issued to Americans each year, you’re not alone in this new unpleasant experience.

Still, there are some aspects of being on the receiving end of a speeding ticket that can be eased if you know what the process entails and how to respond appropriately and timely. 

Safety First

First things first, safety for both you and the police officer should be your top priority when being pulled over. 

It may be useful to consider things from the officer’s point of view at times. Traffic violations can be very dangerous as policemen/women are required to get out and approach an unknown vehicle alongside moving traffic.

When you’re looking for a place to pull over, the first thing to do is show courtesy to the police by turning on your flashers. This acknowledges them and indicates that you are planning to pull over for them, especially if you must drive a while to find a safe place before pulling over. 

Typically, the best location to pull over will be on the right side of the road. Look for a wide shoulder area, or lighted street or lot.

If you are on the freeway, you may find yourself needing to cross several lanes to get over to the right side. In this case, be sure to avoid a common mistake drivers make by crossing lanes hastily and unsafely. Stay cool and move safely. 

Once You Pull Over

Once you’ve pulled your car over, stay inside. Turn the car engine off and roll your window down for the officer to address you.

It’s also courteous to turn on the light inside your car so the officer doesn’t assume you’re hiding something.

Keep Collected

When you’re getting pulled over by a police officer, it’s hard not to get a little anxious. Try to calm yourself if needed. Breathe deeply. 

There’s nothing to be truly concerned about with a speeding ticket, (except the unfortunate reality of an increased insurance policy) unless you were doing something else illegal. 

Actions that will exacerbate the situation include driving intoxicated, driving without a seatbelt, or caring illegal drugs.

Be Prepared

While you may not have planned on speeding, and especially not on getting pulled over for it, you can still be prepared for the situation.

How? Make sure that you always have the proper paperwork stored inside your car where it will be easily accessible.

The following documents and information are likely to be needed by the police officer:

  • Proof of your car’s current registration
  • Your driver’s license
  • Proof of insurance

Once the officer collects these documents from you, they will typically return to their car to run your information and check things out.

This is not a time to argue, fight, or try to convince the officer to not give you the ticket. This most often results in an angry officer and more trouble for yourself. 

When the Officer Returns to Your Car

The policeman or woman will return with a printed copy of your ticket. This will include information about how fast you were going, what your ticket will cost, and the officer’s information.

You will be required to sign a copy of this ticket regardless of whether you plan on contesting the ticket or not.

The officer will tell you what to do to pay for the ticket or contest it. If they neglect to do this, the information will be detailed on the paper copy you are given.

The Consequences

While speeding tickets are not fun, there are far more serious violations. Still, there are some real consequences for getting ticketed for speeding. These may include some or all of the following:

  • Boost your car insurance rate
  • Cost you a decent sum (average ticket cost somewhere around $150), or cost court fees if you decide to contest
  • Negatively affect your driving record

Your Options

News flash, stuffing that ticket into your glove box and forgetting about it is a terrible idea. This could land you with higher fees, getting your license suspended, or worst case scenario, getting arrested.

In short, you have three pretty basic options for taking care of your ticket.

1. Go to traffic school– In some states, you can take a brief traffic school course to either have the ticket removed from your record or to reduce the fine. If you have this option, take it. It’s worth removing this violation from your driving record.

2. Pay for the ticket– In most cases, unless you are required to make a court appearance, you can pay for your speeding ticket online. The printed copy of your ticket will list the website where you can do this.

Be sure to review the ticket and make sure you are aware of the deadline for payment. Often you have somewhere between 30 to 90 days to take care of this.

3. Fight the ticket– If you feel that having the points on your license, or your record impacted is worth fighting the ticket, you can hire a traffic ticket attorney.

The prosecutor will have to prove that you were speeding for you to lose the case. Having a quality attorney will be essential if you choose this course of action.

Getting the Best Help

Now that you have a clear understanding of what happens when you get your first speeding ticket, be sure not to make any comment that admits fault while speaking with an officer.

If you are choosing to fight the ticket, review the background of our many experienced traffic ticket attorneys and see how we can help you fight that ticket.