Get a Speeding Ticket?

What Should you Do…

Traffic Tickets are a fact of life.  Eventually, almost everyone gets a ticket.  It might be for speeding, it might be for crossing the center line.  Different tickets carry different fines and costs as well as a different amount of points against your driver’s license.  It is also different if you get your ticket in a municipality vs. the county, such as within the City of Fond du Lac as opposed to an unincorporated area of Fond du Lac County.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will suspend your driver’s license if you get 12 points within a 12 month period.  But losing your license is usually the least of your worries.  It’s about the insurance hikes.  Just one moving violation can cost you hundreds of dollars each year in increased insurance rates.  And if you carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you may be out of a job.

Did you know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only about 8.4% of automobile accidents are caused by driving too fast for conditions.  Most experts agree that speed, while it may increase the severity of an accident, does not itself usually cause automobile accidents.  Speed variance, or the difference in speed of vehicles is a much greater cause.

Traveling with the flow of traffic is thought to be much safer than traveling above or below that speed to any great degree.

Each District Attorney is charged ultimately with protecting public safety.  Most prosecutors have enough life experience to know that rigorously enforcing every single traffic infraction without compromise doesn’t necessarily accomplish that goal.  For a driver with 30 years of history and no accidents or tickets, full punishment for a speeding ticket that doesn’t engager safety may simply be too punitive.  Why should the insurance company receive all that extra money when there is no corresponding reasonable risk of an accident?

Sometimes a traffic ticket is the only interaction between the public and the criminal justice system.  Engendering positive feelings and letting the public know that the people behind the machine have a conscience and are not just technical robots creates good will.  The Justice System gets enough of a bad rap from the media.  

Most prosecutors will therefore listen to requests to compromise in certain cases.  Some jurisdictions even have programs designed to allow people to choose non-moving violations, sometimes with a higher one time fine, rather than bear the insurance hike from an anomalous ticket.  Defective speedometer is a popular amendment which carries only 2 demerit points against your license and is usually considered a non-moving violation by insurance companies.  Prosecutors also know that it marks your record so the next time they will recognize you were given a break.

When you get a ticket, you are wise to send in your not guilty letter and take the time to talk to the prosecutor.  You can also hire an attorney to do the same.  Most criminal defense attorneys handle traffic infractions.  You might just be able to save yourself a lot of hassle with your automobile insurance rates.