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How to make a traffic ticket less painful

When you get a ticket for a traffic violation, the bad news keeps on coming. First, there's the fine for the ticket itself. Then comes the increase in insurance premiums, which for some traffic violations can cost thousands of dollars over the long term. For example, a ticket/charge for reckless driving increases premiums by an average of 22 percent. In some states, these rate increases stay in place for up to seven years.

Interestingly, SmartMoney recently published a few tips on how to lessen the pain after you've received a citation. Firstly, a spokesperson for the National Motorists Association told the site that drivers should always consider fighting their traffic tickets.

"If you fight the ticket, you can almost always come out ahead," he said, even factoring in court costs and time. In some cases, drivers may be able to make plea deals with prosecutors or judges.

Drivers may also be able lessen the pain of increased insurance premiums.

The SmartMoney piece suggests shopping for a new policy. Insurance policy surcharges due to traffic violations are usually a percentage of the base policy rate. If you can get a cheaper policy, these surcharges will usually go down.

In addition, the story suggests that your current or new insurance company may be willing to eliminate or lower surcharges for a first ticket -- but only if you don't get another ticket within a year. Taking a defensive driving course may also lower insurance surcharges, and it could have the additional benefit of lowering the points on your license.

Stay tuned for updates from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


SmartMoney, "Taming the costs of traffic tickets," Kelli Grant, July 19, 2012

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