Why Fight a Traffic Ticket?

Did you ever feel that when you received a traffic ticket you were already considered guilty even though under the U.S. Constitution you are innocent until proven guilty?

This includes any kind of traffic ticket coming from either a law enforcement officer or an automated camera ticket writing machine. The expectation is that you will just pay the ticket.

Make no mistake, the courts are intimately enmeshed in the traffic ticket industry. Traffic tickets are the only significant revenue source, besides taxes, for the court system. Most cities and towns with a police force place the amount expected from traffic tickets as part of its yearly budget. Conflict of interest bleeds through the entire system. This is why traffic ticket defendants are guilty until they prove their innocence, police officer testimony is automatically given more credence than that of ticket recipients, and those same officers are allowed to testify via scripts that have little bearing on reality or facts.

There is a delicate balance of threats, indifference, bribes (plea bargains), “good cop/bad cop” routines, and inconveniences, all designed to discourage traffic ticket defendants from taking their case to court. Keep in mind that there are tens of millions of traffic tickets issues every year.

Even though in some states, ticket quotas are illegal, there are stories every week about police departments caught up in some sort of traffic quota scandal. Police officers are frequently reprimanded if they do not produce enough traffic enforcement tickets. Ticket quotas undermine the public trust and take away police discretion and puts the focus on arbitrary numbers rather than on public safety. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration bases federal highway traffic safety grants on data driven enforcement and a yearly traffic safety plan for each state.

The average person’s experience with the police is nearly always with a traffic stop. Most of us are nervous with this singular encounter. The expectation is that you have been caught doing something against the law and the expectation is that you will just take the punishment of paying the fine.

But what if you feel you did not violate the law? The NMA always encourages anyone whether they feel they are guilty or not, to FIGHT YOUR TICKET! If just ten percent of all traffic tickets went to trial, the court system would cease to function.

You can fight your speeding ticket with simple math! You can Fight Your Ticket on your own! Stay focused on the basics when you represent yourself in traffic court! There are many good reasons why you should fight your out-of-state speeding ticket!

The average person certainly has little experience with challenging “authority,” using the legal system, or representing themselves in a courtroom situation. When viewed from the outside, the process can seem stressful and intimidating. To some degree the “insiders” —judges, clerks, prosecutors and attorneys—strive to maintain this impression.

Elements of arrogance, annoyance, bureaucratic indifference, and condemnation are not uncommon. The reasons range from inflated egos and job protection to the need to protect the system from being overwhelmed by citizens who realize they are being exploited, cheated, and abused by their own government.

But there are far more practical reasons for fighting your traffic tickets.

Let’s start with the negative; you just pay the ticket and eat the points.

Not only have you lost your money, but in a sense you are encouraging the government to continue this exploitative system. Of course, your insurance company is in on the game and your insurance is jacked up for three or more years.

Run into a spate of bad luck and your license might be suspended, perhaps resulting in the loss of your job.  This is your reward for taking the path of least resistance.

Once you commit to fighting your ticket a whole new situation evolves. You increase your chances of avoiding a financial penalty or jeopardy to your license.

Another possibility is that your financial penalty will be reduced, or your license points protected, or both. And if you do go to trial, win or lose, you will have eliminated any ‘profit’ the government would have otherwise realized from your ticket.

Could you receive a larger fine or lose more points by fighting your ticket? You could, but it would be an extremely rare event. It is far more common for a fine to be reduced at trial, even when the defendant is found guilty.

Fight Your Ticket!

If you would like to help spread the word on encouraging motorists to fight their tickets, JOIN the National Motorists Association TODAY!  If you become a member, you would then be eligible for the NMA Traffic Justice Program—a great way to help you win even if you lose fighting your ticket!  (Qualification criteria applies.)

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Leave a Comment

3 Responses to “Why Fight a Traffic Ticket?”

  1. Tom McCarey says:

    If 10% of people getting tickets challenged them in court, the system would collapse under its own weight.

    Always, always fight every ticket.

    Tom McCarey


  2. James C. Walker says:

    In most venues, fighting unfair for-profit tickets at the first round doesn’t involve more risks than just paying the ticket without a fight. And fighting for just the first round at least takes all the profit out of the unfair for-profit ticket racket for that venue.

  3. Starla Lowry says:

    The last ticket I fought, I lost. I was driving early one morning in Anniston, Alabama, and timing the change of traffic lights. A light changed from red to green only a few yards before I got to it, so I sped up and without expecting it to change, I did not look at the light again, but looked in my mirror at at a truck behind me because I was going to change lanes. Surprised, the blue light was spotted behind me. I got a ticket for running a red light. I was nervous, so I began to walk to settle my nerves. I was arrested for disorderly conduct (the first and only time in my life I was ever arrested). In court the disorderly conduct charge was dismissed, but the judge’s ruling was that I had no defense because I did not look at the light before it changed. I went back early one morning to time the light and the light changed anywhere from FOUR SECONDS to 45 seconds. If I had seen the light change within the 4 second time, I would have had to slam on my brakes to stop and I doubt very many people doing that. Four seconds is too quick no matter where it is located.