How Much Will A Traffic Ticket Really Cost You, And What Can You Do?
If you receive a traffic ticket, it usually says the fine right on the ticket. Unfortunately, that's probably not going to be the only cost. Here's what your other costs will be and what you can do about them.
The traffic fine listed on the ticket is the obvious cost, but it may not be the final cost that you pay. It's what you pay if you plead guilty and mail in the ticket with a payment, but it may not be what you pay if you go to court. The judge may have the discretion to lower your fine or even to raise it if the law allows for a range above what's listed on your ticket.
Judges usually won't raise the fine except in egregious situations such as you failing to make a factual or legal defense to the ticket but instead blaming the police officer for writing the ticket even though you aren't challenging the charged offense. In some cases, you can get a lower fine by negotiating to plead guilty to a traffic violation with a lower fine than the one on your original ticket.
If your ticket is a moving violation, you can usually expect your insurance premiums to go up at your next renewal. Tickets will usually stay on your insurance record for several years but the extra charge at each renewal for having a ticket will often be smaller the older the ticket was. All insurance companies can see your ticket history, so you can expect to receive a higher rate even if you shop around. The best way to avoid your insurance going up is to work with your traffic lawyer to plead guilty to a non-moving violation or to become eligible for traffic school.
If you hire an attorney to handle your traffic violation, you're going to have to pay. However, the cost is often much less than you might expect since attorneys can handle multiple cases in the same traffic court session. While you can try to defend a traffic ticket on your own, an experienced attorney might have a better understanding of how to beat your ticket. This means you can save money on other things like the fine, insurance increase, traffic school costs, or other costs associated with your ticket.
To learn more about how to reduce the cost of your traffic ticket, contact a local traffic ticket attorney today.