Getting a speeding ticket can put a lot of stress on your mind, your wallet, and your car insurance rates. On top of a fine or worse punishment, your insurance can take quite the hit, depending on the offense. So, what steps do you need to take after a police officer gives you that little printed sheet? Here are some tips.
What to do if you get a speeding ticket.
1. Pull the car onto a shoulder, side road, or parking lot as soon as possible.
The instant you know that the officer is pulling you over, look for a safe place, out of the way of traffic, to bring your car to a complete stop. Not stopping in a timely manner could give the officer the impression that you are trying to evade them or a negative outlook of your situation before they even speak to you. When you do stop, put the car in park and turn off the engine.
2. Have your information ready and both hands on the wheel when the officer gets to your car.
If you have time before the officer gets to your car, it can help to have your license and registration already out in the open. Use slow, even movements to retrieve your documents, roll your driver side window down, and place both hands on the wheel while the officer is approaching the car.
3. Answer the officer’s questions and respond respectfully.
The officer may ask you a few questions, and they’ll explain why they’re pulling you over. Respond to any questions honestly and respectfully. Don’t give any more information than necessary or argue. During the traffic stop, this could be construed as disobeying an officer, which could result in another charge. If you have any complaints or arguments against the tickets, save them for the court date that will be printed on the ticket (more on that later).
4. Listen carefully to the officer & be observant.
Make sure you clearly understand all of the information they’re giving you and what you’re being cited for. Note the road conditions and if there were any external factors preventing you from obeying the speed limit. The officer may also ask you to sign a document when they pull you over. The document isn’t an admission that you were speeding; it’s just an acknowledgment that you have received the speeding ticket.
5. After you’re given the ticket, drive safely to your destination.
You may be a little shaken up from an encounter with the police. Breathe slowly in and out before you pull off. After you’ve safely arrived at your destination, carefully read the information on your ticket. It’ll tell you how to proceed.
6. Read over the ticket carefully
Read over the ticket carefully and understand the noted reason for the stop. Make sure you know how far over the limit they registered your speed, and if they’re citing you for any other offenses. These factors can affect the number of points added to your license. In the state of Georgia, if you have 15 total points on your license within two years, you could have your license suspended.
7. Find the court date/due date of your ticket.
Every traffic ticket issued will have a court date noted on the document. This is the date on which you must appear in court if you have not paid the fine beforehand. Here’s where it’s important to understand your options:
- Pay the fine
The easiest and quickest way that most drivers put a traffic ticket behind them is to pay the listed fine before the court date on the citation. Remember to read your ticket carefully when it comes to paying your fine. Some counties in Georgia may still require you to show up in court even if you pay the fine beforehand.
Paying the ticket may be an immediate fix, but depending on where you were issued the speeding ticket, the fine may be hundreds of dollars. Plus, the offense will be marked on your MVR, which may raise your insurance rates in the long run.
- Take a defensive driving course.
In some cases, a speeding ticket may be dismissed if you agree to take a certified defensive driving course. You’ll need to call your local municipal court to find out if this is an option for your situation, where to take the course, and what type of documentation you’ll need to prove that you’ve attended.
- Appear in court
You can also choose to fight your ticket in court on the date that’s printed on the citation. Before you appear, build your case noting what type of speed tracking device the officer was using, the time of day you were pulled over, and any legally justifiable reasons that you may have been going over the speed limit (i.e. a speed limit sign that was not clearly visible, a recent change in the timing of a speed limit in effect, a medical emergency, etc.) You’ll have to do some research on what a court may find to be a “legally justifiable” reason to speed.
Keep in mind that if the citing officer doesn’t show up in court on your court date, the ticket will more than likely be dismissed. But don’t count on them not showing up! Be prepared!
- Do nothing
Of course, you could always choose to do nothing. You could choose to ignore the court date and not pay the fine. However, this would either result in your license being suspended and/or a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear in court.
Overall, it’s important to remain alert and drive at a safe speed whenever you’re on the road. Doing so can keep you and other drivers safe, save you from paying hefty fines, as well as keep your car insurance rates down. However, if you do find yourself being pulled over, it can help to know exactly what to do during and after you’re given a speeding ticket.
For other sticky situations, our agents are here to save you money on the right car insurance. We can give you quotes on the coverages that fit your specific situation at prices that fit your needs. To get started with your quotes, call us today, fill out our easy online form, or LiveChat with an insurance professional today!