Personal Finance 

How to Get Out of a Parking or Speeding Citation Ticket

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traffic ticketIn my younger days, I did a lot of stupid things. Some of these stupid things included speeding, or parking in places I knew were illegal. One of the things I quickly learned about citations related to my driving practices is that tickets can be expensive. Not only do you have to pay a fine when you receive a citation, but you will also see an increase in your auto insurance premiums. If you find yourself constantly being cited, you might end up becoming uninsurable.

If possible, you want to try to avoid receiving a ticket for your driving related behaviors. The good news is that you can reduce the chances of being issued a ticket for parking or for speeding.

Documenting Mistakes

One of the best ways to get out of a parking or speeding ticket is to document mistakes made. Whether you are speeding or being cited for your parking behaviors, a mistake can render the ticket void. If something is wrong on the ticket — the time, date, street in question, your state of residency, etc. — the citation will be dismissed in many cases. However, you will have to document the mistake.

Additionally, if signs are unclear, or visibility is difficult, it can be grounds for dismissal of the ticket. Take pictures of the area to bolster your case, emphasizing that the signs are hard to understand, or that speeds or parking instructions are not clearly marked.

Pulled Over? Be Polite

One of the best ways to get out of a ticket when you are pulled over is to be polite. While I have paid my share of fines, I have also managed to get out of a couple tickets as well, simply by being polite. Address the officer in a courteous tone. Don’t argue. Sit with your hands on the steering wheel as the officer approaches. Once the preliminaries (getting your insurance and license documents) are out of the way, you can ask, politely, to see the radar. In many jurisdictions, you have the right to see the radar, and to know if the radar device was recently calibrated.

Don’t press the point, though, if the officer says no. Keep the answer noted, though, so that you can present that information in court. Indeed, it might be a good idea to note down the conversation as soon as you can, in order to keep it fresh, and to have available for court.

At any rate, politeness, acknowledging that you might be in the wrong, and apologizing might help get you out of the ticket, as can asking about the radar, since it might signal that you are on top of things, and understand your rights.

Going to Court

You don’t have to plead guilty when you initially go to court. Indeed, in some cases, when you arrive they will agree to keep points off your license, or not report to the insurance company, if you pay your fine and agree to attend traffic school, or agree to court supervision. Even though you pay your fine, the important thing is that you don’t see an increase in your insurance premium, and you avoid adding points to your license.

If this is not an option, you can always plead not guilty and prepare to fight the ticket, and have a court date set for a hearing before a judge — or even a jury trial. In some jurisdictions, if the police officer misses the court date, you automatically get your ticket dismissed. Whether or not the ticket is dismissed or settled, you have your chance to plead your case. If you can back up your assertions with evidence, and show that, other than this mistake, you are an upstanding citizen, you have a better chance of having the ticket dismissed.

{ 15 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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15 Responses to “How to Get Out of a Parking or Speeding Citation Ticket”

  1. cvargo says:

    I don’t know if i agree with all of this. you can never talk yourself out a ticket or “get” out of a ticket but you can TALK yourself into a ticket. The best thing to do is PRACTICE your 5th ammendment right. I am in law school and here in the state of Utah the radar is not enough for a ticket, so you know the age old question… do you know why I pulled you over? and you answer I was probably speeding… congratulations you just admitted to the crime and are guilty regardless of the tactics you outline. Admission of guilt outlaws no sign posted. The best defense is to sit quietly give your name (required by law) and paperwork, and do NOT answer any other questions, just say I wish to excercise my 5th ammendment right. 9 times out of 10 the cop will not write a ticket because he knows he/she will have to appear in court, so instead they issue a warning and tell you what you did.

  2. Alan Z says:

    One note…if you please NOT GUILTY, the officer needs to be there. If he/she isn’t, they will just reschedule the court date.

    Don’t go this route unless its REALLY not your fault of you really think you were in the right.

    They only dismiss cases if the officer isn’t there and you plead “guilty with explanation.”

    Let’s face it, if you got a ticket, then chances are you were doing something wrong…even if its 1mph over the speed limit. So don’t go in there saying you’re not guilty.

  3. Ron H says:

    The only time I got a ticket I was able to get out of it by having a fellow worker whose father was on the County Democratic Committee get it quashed. The judge apologized for mistakenly summoning me to court. Obviously only works if you know someone well enough connected, but you get no fine and no points. I highly recommend it.

  4. julie trevino says:

    I went through a VERY DIFFICULT time recently. I received a speeding ticket while driving BACK TO MY RESIDENCE (Ojai, Cal) THAT MY HUSBAND HAD “KICKED ME OUT” OF-WE WERE GOING THRU A SEPARATION. I WAS DEVASTATED! I was speeding, when returning to my home for a few of my belongings. My husband, was actually bulling me —saying he would be at the house by 5pm…it was 3pm…I was shaking. The officer did not even flinch when I told him my predicament. I am an educated woman, in my 50ies, no criminal records…. never been in such a “SOAP OPERA” as this sounds to be. I was devastated. I still have not payed my ticket…I requested an extension. What can I do? I am now in Austin Tx.. Ticket needs to be payed in december. ????

  5. govenar says:

    I’ve done Trial by Declaration a few times, in California. One time I got lucky and the ticket was dismissed; I’m guessing that the officer didn’t return the paperwork.

  6. Scott says:

    Best advice I ever got when I got a citation was to stop thinking like a lawyer and start thinking like a psychologist. Judges are human too. Dress up for court? No way, judge will see that you’ve got enough money to afford the ticket and will do nothing for you but help you contribute to local revenue. Dress down for court? You bet, judge is more likely to take sympathy on you and give you a break.

  7. Miranda says:

    Interesting insights and tips, everyone! Thanks 🙂

  8. Cash says:

    Another couple of options (depends on the state you reside in) is the option to have a company do your work for you. I live in Vegas and there are TONS of places that will (for as low as $35) turn your traffic ticket into a parking violation. Granted you’ll still end up paying around $150 or so for the parking ticket but no traffic school and no points! And its easy, just call up with your citation number and your address, phone number, etc and they can do it all over the phone. Very cool!

    Also I got a speeding ticket in California while visiting some friends and found a local place there that will basically investigate the situation, send you all the proper documents to fight the case and all you have to do is send them in and hope it works. Now its not as much a sure thing as here in NV but they do some real extensive work. The company I hired send me about 50 pages with 3 distinct reasons why the ticket should be dismissed and it was dismissed. Cost about $150.

    Point is…Always research ALL of your options and never give up unless your state has no options…then your only option is to drive better.

  9. linda says:

    Funny – I always thought the way to get out of a ticket is to obey the laws…

  10. Dianne says:

    Best way to get out of a ticket…don’t break the law to begin with. Do you really need to speed? Is it really necessary to blast through a red light or a stop sign? If you think the ticket has been given to you unfairly, look at the ticket closely. If there is any mistake on the ticket, you are likely to find the ticket dismissed. Otherwise, I’ve no sympathy for people who get a ticket for something they did wrong and then waste time and energy trying to wiggle out of it.

    • CR says:

      oh god, if it bothers you why are you reading this? Wish me luck, someone, Im going to try to weasel my way out of my well deserved punishment today!

  11. slee says:

    Funny that Linda and Diane both think the best way to avoid a ticket is to follow the laws and rules of the road. If it is that simple….why were they reading this article in the first place? MANY people get tickets (and end up paying for them) who did nothing wrong! So if you don’t like the advise and comments on this article….click the ‘x’ in the top right of your computer screen!

  12. Emily says:

    DON’T EVER APOLOGIZE!!! The second you apologize, the law see’s it as you admitting you were wrong or it was your fault. Even if you were, don’t do it.

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