California has some of the highest car insurance rates (even if the driving record is clean) and most expensive traffic ticket fines in the nation. So getting a traffic ticket can be very costly. Even just one ticket could mean thousands of dollars when you include the additional fees from court and county and the increase in car insurance rates for the next three years. For this reason, it is essential for every California driver to know how to reduce their traffic ticket in order to save money, time and major headaches.
How Much Is the Typically Fine for a Traffic Ticket?
The typically fine for a traffic ticket is difficult to calculate because it depends on the county, the severity of the offense and type of violation. However, drivers can expect to pay at least six times the amount of the base fine. So if you receive a $35 traffic ticket then you will have to pay $230 or more. This isn’t taking into account the insurance hikes. California drivers’ insurance premiums can increase from anywhere from 15% to even as high as 40% for the next three years after receiving a traffic ticket.
How Can I Reduce My Traffic Ticket?
When we receive traffic tickets and see the cost, our immediate thought is how can I get this reduced or dismissed. Here are your 2 main options to fight your traffic ticket:
Show Up In Court
You have the opportunity to appear in court on the assigned date in order to plead your case. Or you can contact the court beforehand and ask for an arraignment in order to enter your plea. From here, you can plead guilty and discuss how the fine should be paid – or you can plead not guilty and ask to receive a trial date. If you do contest your traffic ticket in court or hire an attorney to represent you, there is no guaranteeing that the ticket will be reduced or dismissed. This means you may have to pay expensive lawyer fees on top of everything else if you are not successful.
A Trial By Written Declaration
According to CVC 40902, the defendant can fight their traffic ticket via mail instead of physically appearing in the court. This is called a trial by written declaration. A trial by written declaration is seen as the best and easiest way of getting a ticket dismissed. However, the written defense must be presented clearly and in the right manner. If you are successful in doing this, you will not have to pay the fine, go to court and you will avoid points being added to your driving record. This saves a lot of time, effort, energy, and money.
What About Traffic School?
Many drivers think about going to traffic school in order to reduce traffic ticket costs. But bear in mind that traffic school only helps to keep insurance rates low. It does not remove the traffic ticket from your record. Simply, traffic school hides the points from insurance companies. That means you will still have to pay the entire fine and the violation remains on your record for three years. So any additional traffic tickets could mean suspension of your license.
That is why we recommend first to try to fight your ticket through the trial by written declaration process. If you choose the trial by written declaration and the ticket is not dismissed, you will still have the option to go to traffic school. This is not true if you fight your ticket in the courtroom. Whatever the judge decides on your case in court means that is it.
What If I Refuse the Traffic Ticket Immediately?
When you are pulled over by an officer, you are asked to hand over your car’s registration, license, and proof of insurance. They will then come back and hand you a ticket and ask you to sign it. Now, you can choose to not sign the ticket, but in doing so you’ll be arrested on the spot and presented in front of a judge. While this may, on the off-chance, work out for you, it is wise to avoid this kind of negative instance. Chances are the judge and officer will be irritated by your refusal to sign the ticket so therefore make you pay the full fine.
TicketBust Can Help You
If you’re in a spot of trouble in terms of your traffic violation, then TicketBust is here to help. At TicketBust, we help customers build a strong written defense that they then can mail to court. Just provide a photograph of your license and ticket, tell us about your circumstances, print the documents, and send everything to the court. Get started today!