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Fight It or Pay It?

Answer these six questions.

By Damon Dallah

Here are some important things to consider when deciding if fighting your ticket will be a wise choice.

Q1. When Should I Fight A Speeding Ticket?

I urge everyone to fight all of their speeding tickets, no matter what. I especially urge them to fight their tickets if one of the following consequences is a possibility:

1. Loss of your license
If this ticket means you have gone over your point limit and your license will be suspended, then by all means - FIGHT IT! In this case you have nothing to lose (except your driver's license). But you would have lost that even if you didn't fight your ticket.

2. Jail time
If this ticket has the possibility of jail time behind it, then it would be very wise for you to fight it.

3. Huge increase in insurance
If your insurance rate has the potential to skyrocket because of this ticket, than taking the matter to court sounds like a smart idea. Although all speeding tickets eventually increase your insurance, the actual rate increase is often decided by how many tickets you have had in the past and how serious the charge.

So, if this will be your third ticket this year, your insurance rate may increase by as much as 200% or more!

Q2. Should You Hire a Lawyer?

If any of the three penalties above is a possibility, then hire an attorney to represent you in court. It would be foolish to tackle the legal system on your own if your license or freedom is at stake.

When searching for an attorney, the best one for the job is an attorney who specializes in traffic law and has had a number of cases under his belt. Unfortunately though, such a person is hard to find.

Rarely do lawyers specialize in traffic law.

Your next best choice is an attorney who has handled at least a few traffic court cases and is familiar with the local traffic laws and ordinances. This is extremely important.

Not any attorney is right for the job. Click here for more information on this topic.

Q3. Is My Ticket Beatable?

Now that's a tough one to answer. It really depends on the circumstances of your particular ticket.

All other traffic tickets aside, let's deal with the speed issue here. With speeding tickets, you will have to weigh your chances of beating it in court by considering a few things:

A. How much over the limit were you're accused of doing?
It's hard to beat speeding tickets when you have been caught doing some inordinate speed, like 70 mph in a 35 mph zone. This is just way too fast and a judge is not going to listen to what you have to say.

B. Where were you caught speeding?
It's always easier to fight a speeding ticket given to you on a highway rather than a city or residential street. The logic being - higher highway speed limits are safer to exceed than city speed limits.

Not only that - but traffic and pedestrian congestion is usually heavier in a city, especially near a business district.

It is also difficult to beat a speeding ticket in a school zone.

C. Your actions before, during and after the stop.
Did the cop have to chase you down with sirens blaring for a whole mile before you stopped? Did you treat the cop with disrespect? Did you pull off in a rage with spinning tires squealing and kicking up dirt and rocks?

All of these things will have relevance when the judge rules on the case. Even with a good defense, you may still be found guilty just because of your actions during the stop.

Evaluate your situation carefully. It's quite easy to determine if you have a winnable case.

If you weren't speeding through a flashing school zone, or a parkway or while intoxicated, you should have a decent chance at beating your ticket.

Even so, simply by pleading not guilty you have improved your chances. Many times, for a number of reasons, the officer will fail to show up to court. If he doesn't, most courts in the country will automatically dismiss your ticket!

I'm willing to take that gamble and hope the officer doesn't show. Now, I won't go to court empty-handed without a defense strategy and just my fingers crossed hoping the officer won't show. But I will take that first step and plead not guilty.

You should too.

Q4. Does It Matter How I Was Caught Speeding?

No. Regardless of how you were caught speeding, it doesn't bear any weight when you trying to contest it. Whether it was radar, laser or VASCAR, it doesn't matter any which way. They are all equally beatable.

Q5. Does My Driving Record Have Any Importance In My Case?

Absolutely not! It is against the law and completely irrelevant for the prosecutor (or judge for that matter) to bring up your past driving history.

Even if you have had dozens of tickets in the past, they are immaterial for this particular case. The issue at hand is this speeding ticket and this speeding ticket only.

The one time your driving record will have relevance during the trial is after you are found guilty and the judge issues a fine based on your driving record. A clean driving history may get you a small fine whereas a lengthy driving record can get you hit with a $200, $300 or even a $400 fine!

Q6. What Happens If I Lose?

How can you lose? Simply by pleading not guilty you have a 30 to 50% chance of winning! Those are great odds to start off with.

But, plenty of people have been found guilty after a sound and reasonable defense was made.

If this happens to you, it's good to know that all is not lost yet. If you clearly presented your case to the court and were still found guilty by an overzealous judge, a higher court can overthrow his decision (or give you a new trial).

Believe it or not, there is even a way to get a completely new trial and a second chance to defend yourself. I explain how to do it inside Beat the System.


Related Articles:
Traffic Ticket FAQ
Speeding Ticket Facts
Hiring a Speeding Ticket Lawyer
Differences Between Traffic Tickets

More Articles...


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