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How to Get Out of a Parking or Speeding Citation Ticket

Posted By Miranda Marquit On 11/07/2011 @ 12:13 pm In Personal Finance | 15 Comments

In 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 [3]. 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 [4], 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.


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[3] auto insurance premiums: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/car-insurance-premiums.html

[4] fight the ticket: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/fighting-red-light-camera-violation-tickets.html

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