There are few things worse than seeing a police car with flashing lights in the rear view mirror. A speeding ticket with a hefty fine could be just the beginning of the financial pain. if the violation affects your driving record, your insurer will likely increase your premium for three to five years, perhaps a lot. Some insurance companies will forgive the violation, as long as you haven’t received such a waiver in recent years and it hasn’t gone too fast.
To avoid paying a higher insurance premium, the best way is to keep the ticket off your driving record in the first place. You can do this by contesting the citation or by trying some of these other steps in court to get the ticket removed.
Reading: How do tickets affect insurance
Insurance companies are not automatically and immediately notified when a ticket affects your driving record. they typically only pull your record once a year, so if you delete the ticket before that “pull” happens, you can avoid a premium increase.
how to remove a ticket from your driving record
While options vary between jurisdictions, here are some methods drivers can use to keep a ticket off their record:
1. take a defensive driving class
Attending and passing a defensive driving course will result in your ticket being dismissed, ensuring that it never reaches your driving record. in most states, however, this is a one-time remedy.
Not all states are out of these courses, but they are available in, among others, Texas, New Jersey, California, and Florida.
Cost and time commitment will vary by course, although most states now offer such courses online, for you to complete at your own pace. your local dmv should be able to provide you with a list of approved courses.
2. get a deferment
The deferment option means that while the court finds you guilty, or you plead guilty, the ticket will not be added to your driving record for a certain period of time. in most jurisdictions, it’s one year.
If you pass the postponement period without receiving another citation, the ticket will be dismissed and will never affect your driving record. On the other hand, if you are issued another ticket during the period, both tickets will go on your DMV record, dramatically increasing your insurance rates. this adds some risk to the option as it reduces your ability to fight that second ticket or removes it altogether.
Deferrals are not an automatic solution. a district attorney or judge must approve it, and there will most likely be a fee; $100 to $300 is typical.
3. just delay
Most traffic tickets come with a court date that is at least a few months away. asking for a continuance can push that date back for nearly a year. If the ticketing officer transfers, retires, quits, or is terminated during that time, he or she can request a recall. this is a last minute option before courtroom options come up.
4. opt for mitigation
If it’s been years since your last ticket, you may be able to apply for mitigation. while the mitigation won’t always keep the fine off your record, it might reduce the fine.
As a mitigating circumstance, you plead guilty, but you can explain the circumstances that led to the ticket and ask the judge for clemency. With this option, there are no guarantees. the judge can buy your excuse and lower the fine or leave it the same.
The judge may also offer ways to keep the ticket off your record. deferments or the opportunity to attend defensive driving school are common mitigation options.
5. contact the court clerk
In certain jurisdictions, the clerk of court has the power to reduce the fine to a non-moving violation. They may also offer you a deferment or allow you to take a defensive driving course to keep the ticket off your record. In most cases, however, he will still have to pay the fine, along with court costs.
To exercise this option, look at your summons and find the contact information for the court. Call this number and ask to speak to the court clerk. in most jurisdictions, the court clerk’s contact information is also online.
6. challenge the ticket
disputing a ticket means you plead not guilty and go to court to argue about the ticket. you can do it yourself or bring a lawyer. this tends to be a remote strategy and should be reserved for major violations on the move.
Your best bet to keep a ticket off your record is to fight back, according to the National Automobile Association (NMA). results can range from a full dismissal to a reduced fine. Unfortunately, most of us don’t take this route; only 5 percent of drivers fight a ticket.
In most cases, it’s a technicality that wins a court case. read your citation carefully, looking for errors. if the time, location, or personal information is incorrect, it may result in termination.
If there is no error, you will have to convince the judge with your argument. the judge will render a verdict after he has presented his case. while there is a chance you could be fired or have your fine reduced, if you are on the losing side, the verdict could require you to pay the full fine as well as court costs.
If you’re headed to court, here are some tips to increase your chances of a positive outcome: