3 Ways to Get Out of a Ticket

You’re cruising along, wind blowing through your hair, when that most dreaded of all sights appears in your rear-view mirror: the blue and red lights. You can choose to go to traffic school if it’s your first ticket in a while, but if it’s the second one you have less options. Here are a few ways you can (hopefully) get out of the ticket.

1. Officer no-show. Once you choose not to pay the ticket, you must appear in court. If the officer that wrote you the ticket doesn’t show for any reason, you’re home free. For that reason, the longer you can delay the actual court date, the better chances you’ll have of getting the ticket dismissed. Police officers transfer, people go on vacation-all kinds of things can happen. Just make sure that you show up.

2. Details, Watson, details. The famous Sherlock Holmes made a living noticing things that other people didn’t. If you can call the officer’s recollection of facts into question, and the judge buys your line of reasoning, you might have a case. If you have the peace of mind to do so, write down everything you can remember about getting the ticket right after it happens. Trying to remember those details months later in a courtroom will be virtually impossible.

3. Hail Mary it. If you’ve tried both of those strategies and failed, go for the Hail Mary pass: a great excuse. There’s just a chance the judge might go for it-if (and that’s a big if) you can provide evidence you’re telling the truth. For example, don’t say your wife was in labor and you were speeding to the hospital if your only child is 12 years old. On the other hand, if you were passing a vehicle traveling at an unsafe speed and resumed a legal speed as soon as you had done so, it might be more likely to be believed.

Remember, the actual cost of getting a ticket is far more than its face value; you have to keep in mind the impact any moving violation will have on your insurance rates. If you are already making high payments for an auto loan, the added monthly expense could wreak havoc on your budget.

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