A long drive can be a fantastic way to clear your head and become one with the open road. When you see lights flashing, though, you’ll suddenly be brought back to reality. Getting a speeding ticket is difficult enough, but it’s even more frustrating when you get one out of state. Below are a few steps that you should take if you get a traffic ticket while you are traveling.
Take it Seriously
Many drivers assume that out-of-state tickets don’t count. While it might have been easy to ignore a ticket from another state decades ago, it’s now incredibly easy for a traffic ticket to follow you across state lines. No matter what else you do, you must take these tickets just as seriously as you would if the ticket was given by an officer in your own state. Not only can ignoring these tickets lead to increased fines, but they can also lead to criminal charges that can end up on your record.
Look at it Carefully
Your next step is to look at the ticket carefully. Note the county or municipality in which the ticket was issued, the fines for paying the ticket, and the precise charge that you were given. The more information you have about the ticket, the easier it will be to make decisions going forward. Most tickets have a great deal of information about court and payment dates, so hold onto this ticket until everything has been settled. While the information on the ticket will be recorded in the system and can be requested later, having the original may prove useful to your case if you decide to contest it.
Look at the Penalties
It’s also a good idea to look at what the penalties would be if you choose to pay this ticket. Some states put fewer points on your license for an out-of-state ticket, while some insurance companies may not hold certain types of moving violations against you. It depends not only on the state you get the ticket in, but the state where you have your insurance. It’s impossible to make a decision about what you are going to do next until you understand what you might face, so be sure to look up the laws in the state your in as well as speak to your vehicle insurance provider.
Decide if it is Worth Contesting
Finally, you’ll need to decide if the ticket is worth contesting. If you want to fight the ticket, you’ll want to hire a traffic ticket lawyer who practices in the same area in which your ticket was issued. It can be worthwhile to fight the ticket if it’s going to have a major impact on your life, while you might want to simply pay the fine if you think that the ticket’s impact will be minimal. Again, this will depend on the laws in the state you get the ticket and on your insurance policy about out of state infractions. If the fee is minimal and it won’t follow you on your record, it may be better to pay and go. If not, you want to make sure that your insurance premiums and your record aren’t affected by an out of state ticket that you could have contested.
Ultimately, an out-of-state traffic ticket is going to vary in its impact based on your driving history and where you live. Make sure that you take the ticket seriously and think carefully about your next move, because even out-of-state tickets do have consequences. Whether you fight it or accept the fees, you’ll need to deal with this ticket in order to ensure that you can stay on the road.