5 winning strategies to fight that traffic ticket
There's no more sinking feeling than seeing those swirling red and
blue police lights in one's rear view mirror. A traffic ticket can
be far more than an annoyance; the true costs can rise far above the ticket fee.
Depending on the traffic code violation you're charged with, coupled with your driving record and accident history, that ticket could cause your auto insurance rates to spike or your policy to be cancelled altogether. That citation might even threaten your driver's license, damaging both your lifestyle and, quite possibly, your livelihood.
So the next time you see that police officer at your window, it may be time to seek legal help. Here are five key ways:
1. Know when to fight
The time to fight that traffic ticket isn't when the officer is writing
you up. It rarely pays to argue your case then. Worse, being rude or uncooperative
can be counterproductive. The best tactic is to comply with the officer's
requests, responding without embellishment.
2. Protect your driver's license
Certain non-DUI moving violations are more serious than others, with a few even resulting in the suspension of your driver's license. One of the most common and most serious is passing a school bus when its red lights are flashing. Being found guilty of this infraction results in an automatic 60-day license suspension in Pennsylvania. In addition, speeding and other moving violations that occur in active work zones often carry the risk of a driver's license suspension.
3. Add up the points
Pennsylvania, like many states, has a point system associated with most of its moving violations. The more serious the violation or the higher over the speed limit the driver is accused of going, the more points placed against the driver's license. These points can add up, too, meaning that even minor violations can threaten one's driver's license and auto insurance coverage if you are found guilty over a short period of time.
4. Know the secret code
There's a little-known loophole to Pennsylvania's driver's license point system known as moving violation code Section 3111. This code, which covers obedience to traffic control devices, carries no points. The driver still pays a fine, often at the original amount, but the driver saves far more when it comes to avoiding points and the costs associated with increased auto insurance rates and an at-risk license.
5. Let a lawyer drive your case
A lawyer in the driver's seat will assess your overall driving record and points, and review the alleged incident for possible problems with traffic control and enforcement devices. Even if you already pled guilty to a traffic violation, you have up to 30 days to appeal your case to county court, where a new round of negotiations with the district attorney's office can be opened in hopes of a more favorable resolution.