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Should I fight a traffic ticket?

After you receive a traffic ticket, you have two primary options. You may usually either pay the fines and accept the marks on your record, or you can fight the ticket. While some people might not think a traffic ticket warrants mounting a legal defense, others would never dream of letting a traffic ticket go unchallenged.

Depending on the specifics of your ticket, you may have grounds to challenge it and get it dismissed. Even if you believe that the evidence against you is strong, there are often aspects of the law that offer you more flexibility to fight the ticket than you realize.

Before you decide how to proceed, it is important to consider what you stand to lose if you simply accept the ticket. You may also have the option to attend a defensive driving course to dismiss the ticket. In most cases, it is wise to at least consult with an attorney to discuss your options.

Doing something is preferable to doing nothing

Even though traffic tickets are among the lightest legal actions you can face, they still may end up costing you dearly. Not only do traffic tickets often involve fines, they may affect the overall cost of your auto insurance. In some cases, the expense of fighting a ticket is offset by the cost increases it helps you avoid elsewhere.

Regardless of how you choose to move forward, you should explore all the legal options you have. Sometimes something as simple as showing up to your court date rather than simply paying the ticket can result in a dismissal. If the officer who issued the ticket fails to appear in court, the ticket often gets dismissed automatically.

Even if you simply request a different court date, this increases the work the issuing officer must do in response. The date on the ticket may be a date where the court hears many traffic tickets, and the officer may count on taking care of all his or her issued tickets on that single day. By moving the date, you force the issuing officer to go to extra lengths for a relatively small matter, reducing the likelihood that he or she actually appears on that date.

Don't pay the ticket before you do the research

If you simply pay a ticket when you receive it, you automatically lose money and may face other consequences. Instead, it is worthwhile to understand the laws the officer who issued the ticket accused you of violating before paying the ticket.

If you find any grounds to fight the ticket, it is wise to wait on paying the fine. Once you pay the fine, you may lose the opportunity to dispute the charges. Some courts consider paying the ticket a tacit admission of guilt.

Get the help you need to assess your options

Professional guidance helps you examine all your options and understand the scope of the consequences of paying the fine and accepting the allegations that serve as the basis for the ticket. Be sure to use every tool at your disposal to keep your driving record clean.

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