Is Going to Court For a Speeding Ticket Worth it?
You’re driving along, minding your own business. Then you hear that dreaded “whoop whoop” and see the red and blue lights flashing behind you. You end up with a pricey speeding ticket…enough to ruin anyone’s day.
At this point, you have a decision to make: pay the ticket or fight it. While many people pay the ticket and take the hit, going to court for a speeding ticket can save you more than you think. There are many other expenses and problems with a speeding ticket beyond the ticket cost itself.
The True Cost of a Speeding Ticket
The problem with speeding tickets is that there are more consequences than you realize. If you pay your fine, it’s considered to be a guilt admission and it comes with a long list of potential expenses.
The most obvious cost of a speeding ticket is the ticket price itself. Depending on how fast you were driving, this will be hundreds of dollars.
Some people can take that expense into their budget, but if you can’t, it seems to amplify. For people who need to sacrifice paying other bills to pay the ticket, they wind up with late fees, potential credit problems, and more.
Of course, if you don’t pay the ticket, you incur even more expenses because the state can suspend your driver’s license.
Higher Insurance Rates
For most people, this is the most expensive part of a speeding ticket. Your auto insurance carrier will see the ticket as evidence that you’re an irresponsible driver, so they’ll raise your rates.
The exact increase will depend on your carrier. In many cases, the carrier raises the rates by as much as 20% for two to three years.
Let’s do that math. If your insurance costs $200 per month, a 20% rate hike costs you $40 per month. If this lasts for three years, you’re paying $1,440 on top of the ticket cost itself.
That’s assuming you only have one speeding ticket throughout those three years. With multiple tickets on your record at one time, your rates will increase far more.
Increased Risk for Further Consequences
At first glance, one speeding ticket doesn’t seem like a big deal. With Florida’s point system, though, each minor ticket adds up.
In Florida, you get points on your license for every traffic violation. This is how the state tracks repeat offenders. A speeding ticket gives you three points.
If you accumulate 12 points within a year, your license is suspended for 30 days.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you can get four traffic tickets before your license gets suspended. Causing a crash under certain circumstances can rack up as many as 6 points. If that happens and you already have two speeding tickets on your record that you could have easily fought, you’ll get a suspension you could have avoided.
Added Costs for License Suspension
With each speeding ticket putting you one step closer to a license suspension, you need to know all the expenses that suspension leads to.
The initial cost of a license suspension is high. The shortest suspension period is 30 days. That’s 30 days of paying for public transportation, rideshare services, taxis, or other modes of transportation.
When you’re paying money from your pocket every time you go to work, the grocery store, and everywhere in between, it adds up. Remember that your car payments and insurance premiums don’t go away during this time, so you’re also paying for a vehicle you can’t drive.
In addition to transportation, a suspension itself has extra fees. To get your license back after the suspension period, you’ll need to complete an Advanced Driver Improvement (or ADI) course.
You’ll need to pay a fee to buy these courses, anywhere from $20 to $100. Don’t forget that you’re spending your valuable time on those courses, too: usually four hours at minimum.
Finally, when your suspension period is over, you have to pay a $45 reinstatement fee.
Potential Career Hurdles
All the costs above are tough to swallow for someone with a desk job. If driving is part of your job, you have far more to lose.
Any time you look for a new job, you can bet that employers will be checking your driving record. Even if you don’t have enough tickets to affect your commercial license, you’ll lose out if the employer is also considering another candidate who has no recent tickets.
When it puts your career at risk, the cost of a speeding ticket can be infinite.
Is Going to Court for a Speeding Ticket Worth It?
With all the costs above in mind, is it worth it to go to court for a speeding ticket? The answer is a solid “yes.”
Of course, going to court has its costs, too. You sacrifice your time to attend court. To have a reliable defense, you’ll need to hire a lawyer as well.
However, you may be surprised how often you can win against a traffic ticket. Something as simple as the officer choosing not to attend can take the ticket off your record.
Considering how much you stand to lose if you pay your speeding ticket, the small cost of going to court is worth the gamble.
How to Fight a Speeding Ticket in Court
If you’ve decided to fight your ticket, the first step in going to court for a speeding ticket is to hire the right lawyer.
You need an attorney who specializes in speeding tickets and other traffic violations. We have the expertise to know how to defend your case and give you the highest chance for success.
To take the first steps today, contact our traffic lawyers to discuss your case.