This is a contributed post on how to get out of traffic tickets.
Getting a traffic ticket is definitely not on anyone’s daily to-do list. Even if you are an excellent driver, the chances of breaking even the most minor traffic law are not unthinkable. It could be not using your turn signal, or not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. It can happen to anyone.
Either way you slice it, getting a ticket is not a fun experience and can be quite costly. For example, according to texasdrivingschool.com, speeding in a school zone here in Texas costs:
- A base fine of $102
- Court costs of $72
- $8 for each additional mile over the speed limit
That means, if you are clocked at 41 MPH over the 25 MPH listed in the school zone, your total out of pocket costs will be $302. For many Texans, that’s the food budget for the entire month!
The good news is that there are a few ways you can make a traffic infraction simply disappear. It takes a bit of know-how and persistence, but definitely achievable. Even if you gave the money to pay a ticket, it’s best to keep it off your driving record and insurance policy.
How to Get Out of a Traffic Ticket
The following four ways to get out of a traffic ticket can serve as your quick guide. Let’s dive in!
Just Be Nice
Emotions can run pretty high when getting pulled over, especially if you are late picking up the kids, or running way behind for an important appointment. However, letting your emotions get the best of you is not recommended when getting a traffic infraction, especially if you’re here in Austin.
Instead, just be nice! A smile can go a long way for a police officer, even more so if you live in a bigger city like Dallas; where officers are dealing with potentially dangerous situations every day. Pulling over immediately, turning off the engine, rolling down your window and having license and registration shows immediate compliance and tampers down the officer’s anxiety.
So how do you employ the “kill them with kindness” traffic stop approach? First, follow basic traffic stop rules to help the police officer feel comfortable since their number one priority is getting home every day. Next, smile and spark a conversation, helping humanize you and potentially keep you from getting a ticket.
Never Flirt or Name Drop
This may seem a bit odd, but flirting and name dropping can actually increase your chances of getting a ticket. People are not naive, especially police officers. If you get pulled over and flirt or name drop, you can bet they know exactly what you are trying to pull.
Instead of doing this, try to have a genuine conversation with the police officer that pulls you over. Drop the act and be genuine. You may be very surprised how fast you will get out of a ticket, rather than flirting.
Take Time to Weigh Options
If you can’t talk your way out of a ticket, you will need to take some time to weigh options for getting out of it. Never simply pay your ticket as fast as possible and go about your life. This can be harmful to your insurance premiums, as well as your driving record, which some employers check.
Instead, wait a bit and explore your options. In most situations, you have about 60 to 90 days before you have to appear in court or pay your traffic infraction. For example, if it is your first-time offense, ask to enter a plea of “no contest” in return for a lesser fine and nothing on your driving record.
You should also get all the information from the stop and information on the ticket in order to do a bit of fact-checking. If any information is not correct, you may be able to get the violation dropped and everything dismissed.
Try to Claim “Mistake of Fact”
This is a very good option for anyone trying to get out of a traffic infraction. Mistake of fact is a legal term used to say that the circumstances in which you got a ticket were simply unavoidable or an honest mistake.
For instance, if you were pulled over for running a stop sign and given a ticket, you may have not seen the stop sign due to overgrown bushes or trees blocking the signage. This would not be your fault and can be an eligible defense for mistake of fact.
If this is the case, however, you will most likely need to provide proof to the court in order to have the ticket thrown out. So be prepared to do a bit of leg work prior to your court date.
Bonus Tip: Know When to Stop
Of course, there are times when you can get away with a traffic ticket. But some roadside mistakes aren’t just traffic tickets; perhaps you were driving while under the influence; even if you feel perfectly fine, blowing 0.01% over the legal limit is enough to constitute multiple tickets. Other contingencies can play a role too, such as whether the driver is on parole or probation.
It’s important to know that you shouldn’t fight a ticket every time you’re pulled over. In these cases, it may work in your benefit to hire legal representation for your ticket, depending on your circumstance. This can help you avoid points on your license, curb hefty fines, and avoid other potential issues.
In Conclusion . . .
If you make an honest mistake and get a traffic ticket, you may be surprised by the many ways you can get out of it. This is very important, especially since the money you may need to pay in new car insurance rates adds up quickly. You can also keep your driving record clean, which is also helpful in the future.
The above four ways to get out of a ticket are only the tip of the iceberg. However, they are among the top. Remember to be nice when pulled over, strike up a natural conversation, don’t flirt, and look for ways to use the law to your advantage. Do you have any tips for getting out of a ticket?
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.