58% Of People Who Fought Traffic Tickets In Washington D.C. Won

How likely is it that I’ll win if I fight my traffic ticket in court? This is a question we get a lot and the truth is that it varies pretty wildly depending on the location.

It’s rare to get a straight answer from local governments on this topic but a recent report in the Washington Examiner exposed some interesting statistics on ticket fighting in Washington D.C.

Here are the bullet points:

22,693 moving violation challenges
58 percent of drivers won

117,656 parking ticket challenges
41 percent of drivers won

20,251 photo ticket challenges
37 percent of drivers won

2,211 appeals from lost initial challenges
33 percent of drivers won

The last statistic refers to situations where a driver challenged a ticket and lost initially but then filed an appeal of the decision.

As you can see, the odds are actually much higher than most people would think. And the odds would likely increase if more people fought their tickets. The Examiner also presented statistics that show that most people don’t bother to even try fighting tickets:

  • Overall, the city issued some 2.4 million tickets in fiscal 2009.
  • Only 3 percent of photo tickets were challenged .
  • 7 percent of parking tickets were challenged.
  • 20 percent of moving violations were challenged.

The paper quoted AAA, ostensibly to give the everyday drivers’ perspective on the statistics, but instead they offered their (increasingly typical) anti-motorist perspective:

“These numbers are so staggering to me,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend, whose agency unearthed the performance plan. “Something is wrong with the system.”

As an auto insurance company, AAA, is probably upset that they’re missing out on the additional revenue that those dismissed traffic tickets would have generated. The system is broken, but successful challenges of traffic tickets are a good sign. The discouraging part is the low percentage of people of who are taking their cases to court.

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