Traffic tickets on a driving record can have lasting consequences in the form of high fines, an increase in auto insurance rates and even suspended driving privileges, which lead to costly reinstatement fees. Also, fighting traffic ticket fines may prove more expensive than paying the ticket itself, so it is up to the driver's discretion to determine which avenue to take. Learn about how to pay a speeding ticket and other moving violation citations in the sections below:
- How to pay a traffic ticket fine in the U.S.
- Traffic ticket attorneys.
- Pleading not guilty.
- Dismissal of charges.
- Lost tickets in the U.S.
How to Pay a Traffic Ticket Fine in the U.S.
To pay traffic citation fines, you must examine the options that your state offers, as every state has a different set of payment methods available. Many states allow traffic fines online payment submissions as an acceptable means of fulfilling the fee requirements. Other locations, such as the District of Columbia, allow for payment to be made through the mail. Paying driving fines by mail requires drivers to check with their residing state's regulations regarding the types of payment allowed through post (i.e. check or money order). Some states, like West Virginia, have hotlines drivers can call to verify their payment of tickets. Furthermore, motorists can pay driving ticket fines in person in some states, such as in Arizona, by bringing in the citation with an acceptable form of payment and proper identification.
Traffic Ticket Attorneys
Some traffic tickets can be contested, which may require an attorney who specializes in citation laws. A traffic ticket defense for a DUI citation is recommended so as to avoid harsher consequences that may arise from a drunk driving conviction. Fighting traffic ticket violations may also help a driver prevent driving license suspension or revocation, and a traffic law expert can help in such an instance. Additionally, a traffic ticket attorney can reduce or remove points from a driver's record (if the driver resides in a state that employs a DMV point system) by disputing the citation.
If you need to learn how to fight speeding tickets, a traffic lawyer is the best source for information on all laws related to speeding. A traffic attorney can also tell a motorist whether the infraction he or she is accused of is considered a moving violation or a non-moving violation, which makes a significant difference regarding how a court might proceed with the charge.
Pleading Not Guilty
In many states, traffic tickets payment is considered an admission of guilt. To dispute traffic tickets, however, is considered a plea of "not guilty" to the violation on record. To fight traffic ticket accusations, drivers or legal representation must appear in court on a set date and enter a plea of "not guilty." California drivers can fight traffic fines by submitting a written declaration for trial. In any case, some states require the motorist in question to be present at the hearing, so having only a lawyer appear is not acceptable.
To challenge speeding tickets, specifically, drivers must prove there was a lack of evidence for the violation, as some states, such as Alaska, consider speeding a "strict liability" offense. Motorists cannot be convicted for the charge if there is not sufficient proof that they committed the violation.
If you cannot beat a traffic ticket and are convicted of the violation, you may be able to take a traffic school course to offset the repercussions of the conviction, depending on your state of residence. Arkansas drivers, for instance, may enroll in traffic school to reduce points on their record, which can accumulate from traffic ticket convictions.
Dismissal of Charges
To dismiss traffic ticket charges, you must pay close attention to the details of the traffic citation to find any unclear or incorrect information that can lead to doubt regarding the violation in question. Specifics such as where the traffic fine was issued, the vehicle make and model, and the date and time of the violation can make a ticket invalid if it was written up incorrectly by the police officer.
Lost Tickets in the U.S.
Lost traffic citations cannot go ignored, as the citations and penalties will remain on a driver's record, and failing to either pay them or contest them can lead to a warrant of arrest. In many states, motorists with lost traffic tickets must contact their local motor vehicle department or the proper court that handles traffic citations in order to obtain the specific details that were included on the ticket.