What To Do When You Get A Ticket

As drivers, many of us have gotten a traffic ticket at some point in our driving career. Whether it’s for speeding, running a red light, running a stop sign, none of us are perfect, and let’s face it: It really can seem sometimes that there are just too many rules of the road to follow them all perfectly 100% of the time. We’re all human, and though the officers issuing the tickets understand this, it’s also their job to uphold the law, and this is where breaking those laws gets us.

Scenario: You’re speeding – say 65 in a 55, just for the sake of the story – and you get pulled over. The officer comes to your window, and the usual exchange occurs – do you know why I pulled you over, license and registration please, wait a while, ticket is issued, have a nice day. You’re probably thinking at this point that you don’t wish the cop a good day, but now you have a different problem to worry about – your ticket. What do you do once your ticket has been issued? Sure, if you’re not required by law to appear in court because of it, you have the option to just pay the ticket and move on with your life, but you have other options as well.

Need To Take An Online Traffic School? Check Out Our Top Recommendation Here

Simply paying the ticket is usually the easiest route, and the one most people opt for, but there is a downside to this option: The infraction gets slapped right onto your record. This leaves one of two options if you’d rather avoid some or maybe even all of the consequences – fight the ticket, or seek mitigation. For those of you who’ve never done either and have always just paid your ticket off, here’s how both options work.

Fight the Ticket

This option works under certain circumstances, and it’s important to note that if you fail, you likely won’t be able to appeal in court. If you have evidence that you weren’t actually speeding, or that your ticket is unjustified for any other reason, you could attempt to contest the violation. While most people think this automatically means you have to appear in court, there are other ways of doing things. In some places, you’ll actually start off contesting it with a settlement conference, during which you may negotiate a less serious penalty – for instance, a less expensive ticket or fewer points on your license – without the time and money it takes to go to trial. In other places, you can actually contest the ticket in writing.

Finally, in other instances, your case will go to trial. After all, there is always the chance that the ticket will be dismissed if the issuing officer doesn’t show up to your court date, and that’s always a good day. However, if you do decide to show up for your court date, or request a court date for your ticket, you should always come prepared to argue your case, whether the issuing officer is there or not. Of course, you always have the option to hire a lawyer to fight your case for you, but the chances that this will be more expensive than just paying your ticket are high – unless, of course, you’re facing the possibility of your license being suspended.

If you find yourself in court, the prosecutor will have to provide evidence that you committed the violation in question, and this will be by a “preponderance of evidence” rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt” due to the actual nature of speeding tickets being civil matters, not criminal. They will likely rely on the issuing officer’s testimony and the readings from their speed measurement tool, and if you had someone in the car with you at the time, you can call them as a witness.

Either way, this option could end one of three ways: The judge orders that you pay the full fine, the judge reduces or suspends the fine, or the judge throws out the ticket altogether and you get off with a warning. If you lose, though, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to pay the whole ticket as well as any court costs, so be wary if you choose to go this route.

Seek Mitigation

Seeking mitigation is mostly for those who are getting their first speeding ticket, or those who are getting their first ticket in several years, and are specifically used to keep the violation off of your driving record. Generally during this process, you will admit to the violation and explain the circumstances under which it happened, in the hopes that this leads to the judge being lenient. Under this option, you won’t be required to challenge the ticket, but there is still the possibility of reduced consequences, such as a reduced fine, an extension on paying the fine, or an alternative to at least some of, if not all, of the penalty.

Attend Traffic School

Alternatives, if this is what you are given, depends on the jurisdiction you are in. For example, California allows qualified drivers to avoid a point on their license if they attend traffic school courses, where Washington will defer a violation and wipe out the ticket entirely for drivers who keep a clean record for a year – though in both cases you will have to pay administrative costs.

Keep in mind, however, that under this option the court can also reject your arguments and still require you to pay the full cost of the ticket, as well as adding points to your license, so you should be very careful when choosing either option for getting out of or reducing your ticket.

In case you need to attend traffic school, here are some of our recommended online traffic schools that you can take the course from:

  1. iDriveSafely – well known for providing a straightforward course curriculum that you can complete easily. They are one of the frontrunners of online driving education in the country, and no one can deny that in terms of the quality of education, school reputation, and course fees. Their over 20 years of experience and expertise attest to that.

Although straightforward, their course content is loaded with animations and videos that will keep the lessons interesting enough for students to finish the course without getting bored.

  1. MyImprov Traffic School – Drivers know this, courses from MyImprov are hilarious! Not in a negative way, okay. 

Unlike other online driving and traffic school courses, they rely on humor to instill a positive attitude in drivers when it comes to driving safety. Strongly backed by science, they make their courses fun using the so-called “edutainment” teaching style. They incorporate memes, comedy skits, and jokes in between lessons to keep students entertained. These are hilarious because the script (and the lesson itself) is written by professional comedy writers.

  1. GoToTrafficSchool – is the go-to school for those who are on a tight budget simply because they offer the most affordable online traffic school course online. They are willing to match the price of the cheapest course in your state, so no school can beat them when it comes to pricing.

Regarding course content, theirs may be a bit bland as compared to others, well, just think of it as a downside for paying the lowest course fee. But don’t worry because even if it lacks entertaining and cool videos to make the lessons fun, the quality of their course content is at par with the others.  

  1. Aceable – for those looking for a more modern application and course content. This school is fairly new, so their materials are the freshest that you can find. Downside? Their traffic school courses are only available in California, Texas, Indiana, and one district in Florida. If you’re lucky to be living in one of those states, this is a hands-down choice for you no questions asked – check their customer’s reviews to see what I mean. 

Anyway, all these schools meet our strict TSC Certification requirements, which include an A+ BBB rating, reliable customer support, at least 500k customers, and a minimum of 5-year business history. Pick one from them if you need to complete the course to dismiss a ticket and you’ll never regret your choice, whichever school you pick. Just make sure you check with your court or local DMV to see if your choice satisfies the requirements in your state.