I understand the desire to want to distance yourself from anything unpleasant. Some people procrastinate and others attack things head on. This is why some people put off paying their taxes until the very last minute while some people rip the band aid off with one quick rip.
Whichever approach you prefer, when you get a traffic ticket, it can be confusing and you should use the time you have (in Florida, it's 30 days) and not rush into anything. If you pay a traffic ticket and then decide you want to fight it, it's usually too late and you are stuck.
So I've decided to put together the three things that I think everyone should know before they pay a traffic ticket.
Does the traffic ticket carry points?
Exactly how much is the ticket going to cost?
Have you explored all of your options?
The first question is critically important to understand, before you pay a traffic ticket because the last thing you want to do is pay a ticket and receive points on your license. Points, of course, are how insurance companies raise your rates, so the last thing you want to do is make it easy for them to increase your premium.
Not every traffic ticket carries points and you may want to go ahead and pay it if it doesn't carry points (we've covered when you should consider paying a traffic ticket in another post), but make sure you look into it BEFORE you plunk down your money.
The second question is not as obvious as it sounds. Many times, there are hidden fees and you want to make sure you fully understand exactly what you are being asked to pay so there are no surprises. Do not rely on the officer's notes on the ticket. Many times the police officer makes a mistake (intentionally or not).
These fees are set up by the legislature and not the officer, so even if the officer writes a lower amount by mistake, you will be forced to pay the actual amount, even if it's higher.
The third question is extremely important because only by exploring all of your options can you make the decision that's right for you. Most of the time, your options consist of paying the ticket, paying the ticket and electing traffic school, or fighting the ticket by yourself or with an attorney. However, some tickets cannot be paid and require a court appearance (but again, in many of these instances, hiring an attorney will allow you to avoid having to go to court).
Every type of ticket is different and every jurisdiction has it's own rules, so make sure you research what you are looking at before rushing in and making a decision you will regret later. I can't tell you how many phone calls I get from people asking me to remove points on their license because they just went ahead and paid the ticket without realizing what would happen.
Don't let anything unexpected happen to you when you pay a traffic ticket. If you have questions or want to know what hiring a lawyer for your ticket can do for you, my office will be happy to give you a free consultation over the phone so you can decide what to do.
Many times, we tell people they may be better off just paying the ticket and explain why. If we feel fighting the ticket is in your best interest, we'll certainly explain that to you as well. If you are thinking of hiring a lawyer, make sure to click the box below to read the 5 questions you must ask before hiring a traffic attorney.