While traffic tickets may not seem like a big deal they can come with more serious legal consequences than you may expect depending on your driving history or the severity of what you are charged with. Certain serious offenses or having a recent history of violations on your record can ultimately result in:
- A period of increased insurance for your vehicle
- Ineligibility to get or loss of a commercial driver’s license
- Higher fines for repeat offenders
- Loss of a driver’s license if you accumulate too many points
If you are looking to fight a traffic ticket instead of paying it an attorney can help. You can call our firm or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Chicago traffic defense lawyer and review your case.
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Why Should I Fight a Ticket I Received?
Here are a few times when you should fight a traffic ticket fine in traffic courts for signs of irresponsibility:
This is Your First Ticket
There are several reasons why you should consider challenging your first traffic ticket. One of them is that maintaining a driving record impeccably can help you in a number of different aspects.
On average, drivers who don’t have any traffic violations (a good driving record) pay less for car insurance than drivers who have had multiple tickets. And if you’re a safe driver, you might be eligible for some additional savings.
If you’re an overall safe driver and don’t expect to receive any tickets in the near term, it may be best to just move on and deal with the fine for your driving skills. Tickets typically remain on your driving history for a brief period of time.
You Can’t Afford to Have Any More Points Put On Your License
Forty-one states currently use some form of “point’s” system that tracks the drivers’ performance and traffic violations in traffic courts.
If you happen to be driving in one of these states and get pulled over for speeding, you could potentially face a valid license suspension in traffic courts. If that happens to you, you‘d better hope that your lawyer has done his job well so that you don’t lose your license from mistakes with your motor vehicle.
Learn More: How Drivers License Points Work in Illinois
You Broke a Law to Avoid a Traffic Accident
If your reason for not using your signal was to avoid hitting another vehicle or causing a traffic accident, then you should bring it up in court. Avoiding traffic accidents should not have you gain a traffic violation. It’s a traffic obligation to avoid accidents. Defensive driving is a traffic obligation and a driving privilege.
It’s a good idea because the laws say you can claim “exigency” if you‘re forced to quickly switch lanes to escape from another car, pedestrian, or object. The same is true for going over the speed limit to escape from a dangerous situation (traffic accident).
You Have the Right to Challenge Any Criminal Allegations Brought Against You
If you’ve received an unfair traffic citation, you may wonder whether you should take action in traffic courts. A traffic citation can be challenging to challenge, especially if it’s your word versus the word of the police. For these reasons, many people choose not to pursue a traffic citation in traffic courts, even though they know it could clear their driving history. If you’re worried about your driving records and maintaining good insurance coverage, or if there are special circumstances (like, you were speeding to help someone else); consider your options carefully.
All traffic citations are either violations or misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are the more serious offenses in traffic courts, such as reckless driving or DUI. They carry greater penalties and require a higher burden of proof before conviction. In addition, you do not have the same legal protections as you would in criminal prosecution. You cannot demand a jury, nor can you request a lawyer. Your best option is to plead guilty and pay the fine.
You should plead not guilty in traffic courts to a traffic ticket because you might lose the right to drive. A driver who pleads guilty loses his or her right to appeal the conviction. If you plead no contest, you admit guilt without admitting the facts alleged in the complaint. If you plead not guilty, you deny the charges against you. Your attorney will tell you whether you should plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty or no contest, the prosecutor will ask the magistrate to impose a penalty. If you plead not guilty, the prosecutor will ask for a trial.
When people get into trouble they often wonder if they should hire a lawyer. They may think that hiring an attorney is expensive (hundreds of dollars) and not worth it. However, the reality is that hiring a lawyer is actually quite inexpensive. In fact, it is much cheaper to hire a lawyer than to pay fines and penalties. And, if you are facing a criminal charge, then you definitely need to consider hiring a lawyer. A good lawyer can help you avoid jail and keep your record clean.
Court proceedings are not always easy to deal with. Long court hearings are just one part of the problem. There are so many other steps involved before you even reach the courtroom.
You can choose one of three ways to deal with parking different types of violations in traffic courts.
- Pay the fine, and accept the consequences (additional penalties).
- Pay the fine, and attend a driver improvement course for a period of time, if applicable.
- Fight the citation.
The first choice is the quickest way to get the ticket off your record, but it’ll cost you dearly. Accepting the penalty and paying the fines and fees is the same as giving up before the battle has even started. The second choice is almost as bad. Not only do you have to spend more money and a period of time on traffic court, but you also have to deal with the hassle of being late to work or missing important appointments. It’d be like getting hit twice—once with the financial burden of the ticket and once with the inconvenience of having to attend traffic court.
If you choose to fight the tickets yourself, prepare for an enormous amount of time spent researching the tickets, figuring out your defenses, and attending multiple court hearings.
Prevent Insurance Increases
Any major or minor breaking of the rules of the road that appears on your driver’s record can raise your auto insurance premium for a period of time (insurance penalty). In most cases, the amount of money you pay depends on where you live and what type of vehicle you drive. Some insurers charge higher rates if they believe you pose a greater risk because of previous violations. Others base premiums on the severity of the offense.
Your auto insurance rates may not be affected by the number of points on your driving history, but they’re likely to go up if you accumulate a lot of them because of the number of violations on their own.
What Are Some Common Traffic Ticket Defense Techniques?
While the defense necessary depends on the details that resulted in you getting ticketed some common methods include:
Absolute Speed Limit Defenses
The most common defense against speeding tickets involves challenging the accuracy of the officer’s measurements. For example, you may be able to successfully argue that you were not driving at an unsafe rate of traffic when you received your ticket.
- The police officer’s radar wasn’t reliable because the device was not properly calibrated.
- The police mistakenly thought your car was someone else’s.
- The officer attempted to measure your car’s actual velocity, but he misjudged the distance between his radar gun and your vehicle. Therefore, his estimate was incorrect.
Presumed Limit Defenses
When someone accuses you of speeding, the first thing you need to know is if they were actually able to see you drive past them. If they couldn’t see you, then there’s no way for them to prove that you drove faster than the posted speed limit.
- Arguing that you weren’t speeding because you didn’t exceed the posted limit.
- Say that, even though you exceeded the speed limit, you were safe because of the specific road, weather, and traffic condition at the time.
Basic Speed Laws and Traffic Violations
As long as drivers follow the rules of the road, they’re not breaking any traffic law and should not appear in traffic court. For example, driving at the exact 65 mph on the highway would be very dangerous amid heavier traffic, in a thick mist, or during a snowstorm. In common sense terms, such reckless driving is illegal, regardless of the road sign’s maximum allowed rate. Police most often rely upon the basic speeding laws after an incident. The rationale is that you were driving faster than the legal rate, no matter how slowly you were driving, because of an incident.
For more information from a traffic lawyer, call (773) 888-0365 to speak to a traffic ticket attorney about a speeding ticket. Chicago Traffic Lawyers are here to help with a free case review of your driving violations from a traffic ticket attorney. Their law firm is ready to help.