A friend of mine recently got a speeding ticket. She’s not alone. Many police forces have been issuing unusually high numbers of tickets, says Gary Biller, president of the National Motorists Association. People aren’t driving faster—municipalities are using ticket revenue to close budget gaps.
My friend, who admits she was speeding but had never gotten a speeding ticket before, wondered if she should contest her ticket. Biller says that it’s usually worth a try. Drivers sometimes are offered plea bargains that keep their driving records clean and auto insurance rates low. That’s what happened to my friend. She contested the ticket and was invited to make a “pretrial appearance” at the court. When she arrived, the prosecuting attorney had already looked up her record, and because it was her first offense, she got off with no points on her license and the cost of the ticket was cut in half. She didn’t have to take a driving class, which sometimes is a condition of a reduced fine.
Delay tactics can work, too. Someone my friend knew got a speeding ticket that had a box to check off if he wanted a written report of the traffic stop. He sent the ticket back with the box checked but never got a report. When he called, he was told that the case had been dismissed because legally the court had been required to send a report within 30 days.
Postponing the court appearance is another option. The officer who wrote the ticket might not show up, and the ticket will be dismissed.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating speeding. As my friend said, getting stopped by the police was a good thing. She’s been hugging the speed limit ever since.