When you get cited for a traffic violation, you typically have several options for dealing with it. Here are some things to consider before deciding whether to fight a traffic ticket.
Before deciding whether to fight a ticket, it might be helpful to consider the consequences of a traffic violation conviction. A traffic conviction could lead to:
In some states, a traffic ticket can also lead to jail time. But even in these states, serving time in jail for a minor traffic violation isn't common.
Knowing the possible consequences of a conviction can help inform your decision about how to handle your ticket. For example, if you're trying to avoid points and rising insurance costs, traffic school can be a good option. And, if you aren't eligible for traffic school and another conviction will lead to license suspension, fighting the ticket might be the way to go. In other situations, it might be better to just pay up and move on with your life.
If you want to fight a ticket, one route to take is to hire a traffic attorney. Hiring an attorney will, of course, cost money but minimize the time and energy you'll spend fighting the ticket.
However, if you want to fight a ticket on your own, you should expect to:
Of course, every case is different. So, the investment of time and energy necessary to do a good job will depend on the circumstances.
It's definitely possible to beat a ticket in court. In fact, many drivers beat tickets just by showing up to court. If you come to court on your trial date and the officer doesn't, you win. But even when the officer does show up, you might be able to win your case by preparing a reasonable defense and convincing the judge there's reasonable doubt as to your guilt.