By: Ashley Elvington
Picture it – you’re driving along on a beautiful day; windows down, your favorite song blasting through the speaker system of your vehicle…when suddenly, there’s flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror. Uh-oh! Somewhere along the way, you got caught up in the moment and lost track of the speed limit. You pull over, hand the officer your license and registration, and before you know it, you’re given a speeding ticket. What next?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost one in ten drivers in the United States is pulled over for speeding, with 70% of said drivers receiving tickets. Depending on the speed violation, these tickets can be costly – to your wallet, car insurance, and driver’s license points system (rack up enough tickets and say goodbye to that license!). While you can take the easier method of showing up to court and paying the ticket, there are other options available to avoid a ticket appearing on your personal record.
The first option is to fight the ticket – this is due to feeling as if you were falsely charged or if you have any other claims you feel could stand in your favor. Settling outside of court may be an option, as well as a written request; however, there is no guarantee your case will win. If you do find yourself in court and the officer who ticketed you appears, you will need to be prepared to state your argument (if the officer is a no show, there is a high probability your ticket will be dismissed simply due to you appearing). If you’re unsure as to whether you can handle the fight on your own, you may also hire a lawyer; this is recommended if you are in danger of license suspension or a more serious consequence. Fees range depending on the case and lawyer. If this is the option you prefer, the prosecutor will present your defense to the court system and you are allowed to bring witnesses to further prove your statements are true. Once the trial has concluded, you may be ordered to pay the ticket in full (if the amount isn’t lessened or the entire ticket isn’t voided); you may also end up paying additional fees to the court.
If this is your first speeding ticket, or the first in a rather long time, never fear – your ticket may be considered for mitigation. With this option, you may receive a ticket of a lesser amount, more time to pay the ticket in full, or an alternative solution that wipes the ticket from your record (this depends upon your jurisdiction). Worst case scenario? You must pay the ticket in full and points are taken from your license, OR it is suspended. Of course, the best method to preventing a ticket is to drive safe and responsibly, abiding by traffic laws. If you or someone you know in the Pee Dee Region needs help with a speeding ticket or any other legal matter, contact Smith Ammons, LLC – Attorneys at Law, located at 516 South Coit Street in Florence.