Whether or not to fight your speeding ticket involves a calculus depending on your own circumstances and the jurisdiction your ticket is in. There are more costs to a speeding ticket than just paying the fine and court costs, which you should consider:
- Insurance: You should call your insurance provider to find out if your premium will increase with a speeding ticket, and if the premium will increase less with a lower ticket. For example, if you’re convicted of driving 15 miles an hour over the speed limit will your premium increase more than if you were only convicted of 9 miles over?
- Employment: Some employers require their employees to have a clean driving record, or will only allow certain infractions. An attorney may be able to get a conviction lessened to a permissible infraction.
- Driving Record: A conviction for driving 9 miles an hour over the speed limit will give 3 demerit points to your Virginia driver’s license, while a conviction for 10 miles over will give 4 demerit points. Both will show up on your record for five years. However, a conviction for improper driving (3 demerit points) will only appear on your record for three years.
- Losing your License: If you have received 12 demerit points in 12 months or 18 demerit points in 24 months, the DMV may suspend your license and require you to take a driver improvement course.
- Other States: If you’re not from Virginia, a Virginia ticket may be treated differently in your home state. For example, while going 15 miles over the speed limit is only an infraction in Virginia, in another state, it may qualify as a misdemeanor. You will want to check with an attorney in your home state to find out how a Virginia ticket may affect you.
Then there are the X-factors, which influence the likelihood of success. Some judges will not budge on speeding tickets, and the only route to take is to try and get the RADAR/LIDAR reading thrown out. Some judges will look at a driver’s record and cut you a break if you show up for court. Some police departments keep their officers trained and their devices properly calibrated, while others may have a lucky lapse.
If you have a ticket, it is at least worthwhile to talk to an attorney and find out about how your situation affects your chances.