If you’re like most adults, odds are you’ve seen the red and blue cherries in your rearview mirror at some point in your life. Because the majority of drivers have been pulled over at one point or another, most people are willing to open up about their experiences and share some advice about how best to get out of a traffic ticket. Unfortunately, not everything you hear about beating a traffic ticket is rooted in fact. Here’s a closer look at three common myths we hear about fighting a traffic ticket.
Myth #1 – Agreeing with the cop is the best way to get out of a ticket.
How you conduct yourself during the traffic stop goes a long way in helping you get out of a ticket or putting you in the best position to beat the ticket in court. We always tell our clients you want to be polite yet forgettable, and never admit your guilt. If a cop asks, “Do you know why I pulled you over” or “Were you aware you were speeding back there,” don’t give them the answer they are looking for, as it can be considered an admission of guilt. “No officer, I was not aware” will be your best friend in this scenario. As for being forgettable, if you choose to challenge your ticket in court, the officer is going to need to recite interaction details from memory. If you are abrasive or rude, the officer will have an easier time remembering the interaction.
Myth #2 – Just pay the fine and be done with it
Sometimes paying a fine and getting on with your life is the best route to pursue in the wake of a speeding ticket, but that’s not always the case. A traffic violation typically results in a monetary fine, but it also often results in increased car insurance premiums and can even lead to the loss of your license, which could cost you your job. A “minor” traffic ticket could end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars, so don’t be quick to admit guilt and pay the fine. Do some research on how your insurance premiums might be affected, and if you’ve had a few violations in the past, ensure the newest citation doesn’t strip you of your driver’s license before you decide to pay the fine.
Myth #3 – It’s just a traffic ticket, you don’t need a lawyer
Playing off the above point, even minor traffic tickets can end up costing you a lot of money in the long run, so it’s worth your time to speak with a traffic ticket attorney about your case to learn about your options. You’re probably thinking that the initial consultation with the attorney may cost more than the traffic ticket, but most attorneys offer free consultations so that potential clients can better understand their options before making a decision. Also, unlike other violations like a DUI or assault, your lawyer won’t need to spend hours pouring over witness statements or police recordings, and your lawyer is likely aware that you don’t want to spend more on an attorney than on the ticket itself, so odds are you’ll find that legal counsel for traffic tickets is very cost-effective.
Brett Appelman is the owner and managing partner at Appelman & Associates, a criminal defense law firm located in Aurora, Illinois. His firm specializes in criminal matters, traffic citations and family law. If you run into trouble just west of Chicago, give Brett and his team a call.