What to Do If You Get a Traffic Ticket
In a worst-case scenario, a traffic ticket can raise your car insurance rates for up to five years as a result.
You could lose a good-driver discount, which can be as high as 20% - although many insurance companies let your first ticket slide.
Many insurers add a surcharge to your policy - usually around $150 per ticket for up to 3 years. Others may raise your rates by up to 20%.
Some states prevent insurance companies from raising your rates as long as you only get one traffic ticket every 3 years.
What to Do if You Get a Ticket
The best strategy is to avoid getting a ticket by driving carefully and obeying the traffic laws, but if you do get one, it always pays to fight it in court if needed.
You always have the chance of winning for a good reason or if the police officer doesn't show up. Pro tip: When getting a traffic ticket, refrain from getting angry at the officer. Don't say things like "I'll see you in court". Otherwise, the officer will make a special effort to be present.
Even if you lose in court, the judge may reduce the fine and points, especially if you have a good driving record.
If it's your first or even second traffic ticket, you may not even need to go to court to have it expelled from your driving record.
Many states allow you to go to traffic school (which you can attend online these days), and as a result, the ticket will not appear on your record or affect your car insurance.
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- Gregg Fidan
About: Gregg Fidan
Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.