When you receive a traffic ticket, your first instinct may be to try and fight it. You are well within your rights to do so, but fighting a traffic ticket involves more costs than the amount written on the ticket. Here are two things to consider when deciding whether to do battle in the courtroom or just pay the ticket and be on your way:
The Ticket is Less Than the Lost Opportunity Costs
You may want to carefully consider whether it's worth fighting the ticket if it will cost you more to dispute the alleged violation than the ticket is worth. There are a variety of hidden costs you may not realize you'll have to pay if you choose to go before a judge.
For instance, you may have to take a day off work to go to court, which may not be an issue if you're a salaried employee who gets paid regardless of which days you work during the week. If you're an hourly employee earning $15 per hour, taking a day off could represent an up to $120 loss in potential wages. This loss may not be worth it to fight a $25 speeding ticket.
Other costs you should consider include transportation, child care, food (if you're traveling a long way), and fees for tolls and parking.
The Consequences are Severe
On the other hand, you may want to do everything you can to dispute the ticket and win your case if doing so will help you avoid even more severe consequences. For instance, in Virginia, your license will be suspended if you get 12 points within 12 months or 18 points within two years. If you stand to lose your license because of the new ticket, then you should fight it with all you've got.
Another consideration is the effect the ticket will have on your insurance. Insurance companies base your premiums on how likely you are to get into an accident. If you accumulate too many traffic violations, your insurance provider may put you into a high-risk category, which can result in higher premiums or having your insurance canceled.
Take a holistic view when deciding whether it's worth challenging a traffic ticket in court. If you'll suffer a serious hit to your finances or lifestyle, you should make the effort to get the ticket canceled.
For help disputing a traffic ticket or advice on other traffic-related legal concerns, contact a law office like Tolbert & Tolbert, LLP.