Can I Get My Speeding Ticket Reduced?
Nothing ruins your day quite like getting a traffic ticket when you're trying to get somewhere. Moving violations can be time-consuming, have financial repercussions and can impact your driving record.
While many people will simply pay their fine and move on, it's possible that they are missing an opportunity to clear their record and save themselves some cash. Read on to find out if your infraction is set in stone — and if not, how to get your speeding ticket reduced.
Courts are all about negotiation for expediency, so there's always an opportunity to discuss a compromise, even on a speeding ticket. Your chances of negotiating this successfully largely depend on what you do from the moment you're pulled over.
Following these simple tips can help you have a better chance of getting it reduced.
- Don't admit you were speeding.
- Record the details of the incident in the moment, like weather conditions, traffic and possible visibility obstructions.
- Request information on the equipment used for determining your speed.
- Remain polite through the interaction and cooperate without admitting guilt.
Laying this foundation can help you make a better case when requesting a reduction and can sometimes let you find an element that gets the traffic ticket thrown out altogether.
Depending on your financial situation and the circumstances surrounding your ticket, it might be beneficial to consult with an attorney. Their experience and knowledge could make the whole process much easier for you, but it may cost you more in the long run. If you can't or choose not to work with a lawyer, it's still possible to get results on your own.
Whether or not you have an attorney, you'll probably need to appear in court. Come up with a clear reason why you want your ticket reduced, and get a copy of your driving record if this is a first-time offense for you. Some jurisdictions automatically reduce the fine and penalty if you pay the ticket early by mail. If you were actually speeding and the officer has a reasonable case against you, this may be your best option.
You should try to make it to the courthouse early on the day of your scheduled appearance. Many traffic violations are handled by a prosecuting attorney, although minor violations are sometimes handled directly by the court. Let the court or prosecutor know that you’re interested in negotiating, and see if you can make a preliminary deal.
Deliver the reason for your request in a clear and concise way. If you have a perfect driving record and you want to keep it that way, say that and provide the copy of your printed records. If you can't afford the set fine, let the prosecutor know. Whatever the reason, keep it simple and provide any supporting documentation. If the prosecutor offers you a deal, consider if it accomplishes what you're looking for. You might find the new terms provide a more reasonable payment, or the ticket may be reduced to a non-moving violation. If the offer generally fits your needs, consider taking it.
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If you choose not to take an offer, your next step will be convincing the judge to rule in your favor, so remember to address the judge respectfully. This may happen the same day, or you may have to return for a second court date. Usually, the officer who wrote the ticket will also need to appear in court and present their evidence. The judge can find you guilty or not guilty of the violation, so you’ll need to convince the judge that you weren’t speeding. If you’re planning to admit guilt, you’re probably better off accepting the prosecutor’s offer.
If the judge rules against you, ask if there are any actions you can take to reduce the fine or the number of points added to your record. In some jurisdictions, if it is a first-time offense, judges can give you the option of completing a driving safety class to reduce your penalties. However, the option to reduce penalties is often only available if you didn’t contest the ticket. If you're given this opportunity, make sure to follow through.
Knowing how to get a speeding ticket reduced can help you out in a number of ways. Although it takes a little more effort than simply paying for the ticket, your success in contesting it could help you avoid:
- Points on your driving record
- Paying the listed fine
- An increase in your insurance premiums
- Missing out on work opportunities that require a clean driving record
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