Knowing how to beat a traffic ticket doesn’t just save money on the fine, it keeps insurance costs low. These tips for fighting fines aren’t just about hiring traffic ticket specialists or paralegals; they include what you can do to beat your speeding ticket in traffic court.
“While many people instinctively want to ‘beat the system’ after receiving a traffic ticket, there are some factors which should be considered before deciding whether or not it is worth the effort to fight a ticket – or how a ticket should be fought,” says lawyer Aaron Larson. “Many people are disappointed by their first experience with traffic court. It is not uncommon to hear people complain that the magistrate overseeing the traffic court did not listen to a single word of their defense, or that the police officer lied and got away with it. When you consider fighting a ticket, be aware that it is usually an uphill battle.”
Yikes. But while beating a traffic ticket may be an uphill battle, there are things you can do to fight fines – especially if you have a book like Beat Your Ticket: Go to Court & Win!
How to Beat a Traffic Ticket – 7 Tips for Fighting Fines
1. As soon as you get the speeding ticket, write down everything. How fast were you going? What signs did and didn’t you see? Were you attempting to slow down before you received the traffic ticket? Even you don’t think it was important, write down everything you can remember after you get the speeding ticket. In order to beat a traffic ticket, you need to have a sharp memory for the details.
2. Check to make sure you were fined the right amount. “Most people don’t know the appropriate fines for the ticket, and many have flaws,” says Frank Alfano, a paralegal with Xpolice Traffic Ticket Services (in “How to Beat a Speeding Ticket”, Globe & Mail, February 2011). Most initial consultations with paralegals or ticket fighting specialists are free, so it doesn’t cost anything to ensure your traffic ticket was the right fine.
3. Consider hiring a paralegal to help you beat the ticket. Yikes – this tip for fighting a fine may seem contradictory: paying a traffic ticket specialist $400 to fight a $200 traffic fine, but it’s not just about the money. “Insurance premiums are what make our kind of practice cost-effective,” says Alfano. “Insurance companies care about the number of entries on your record, and can a minor conviction to increase your premiums for three years.” Before you hire someone to learn how to beat a traffic ticket, talk to your insurance company about how the fine will affect your insurance rates.
4. Be prepared to take time off work to fight the fine. Fighting traffic tickets takes time – sometimes not just one day in court! Learn what you’ll need to do to beat your speeding ticket, and make sure your boss is willing to give you the time off. This is another short-term cost of fighting a ticket that can be worth it in the long run. It’s one of those money saving tips that pays off later.
5. Ask for the police officer’s evidence. This tip for fighting fines requires you to know your legal rights! You have a right to see the evidence that will be brought against you in court. To beat a speeding ticket, you need to see the copies of the police officer’s notes, witness statements, and information about the equipment used to record your speed. “There are all kinds of ways to throw a wrench in the case,” says Alfano. “The police officer will say he’s qualified to use the equipment, and then you start asking questions like, ‘Who trained you?’”
6. Plea bargain your traffic fine. Police officers, law courts, and the legal system are most interested in stopping people from speeding! So, they may be satisfied to deter you by punishing you “halfway.” That is, they may reduce your fine and demerit points if you show up in court with evidence. This is where a paralegal or someone who beats traffic tickets professionally may come in handy!
7. Say you’re sorry. One of the best tips for fighting fines – both when you’re getting them and after, when you’re fighting them – is to be contrite. Be respectful of the law, and honest about your role in breaking the law. Treat the police officers, judges, lawyers, and whoever else is involved in the speeding ticket with respect.
What do you think of these tips for fighting fines or beating speeding tickets? Comments welcome below!