Even though a traffic ticket is a minor violation of the law, it can still have a major impact on your personal and financial lives. If you’re pulled over for any type of moving violation, such as speeding or coasting through a stop sign, it’s critical that you know what you should and shouldn’t do.
Here are four things to do:
- Stay in your vehicle: Don’t do anything until the officer arrives at your window and provides direction. Getting out is a threat to the officer, which puts your personal safety at risk.
- Provide the requested documentation: The officer is likely to request your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Keep this in a safe and easily accessible place in your vehicle, such as the glove box or center console. Also, don’t grab for it until you’re asked to do so.
- Don’t admit to guilt: For example, the officer may ask you if you know why you were pulled over. Even if you have an idea, don’t answer this question. If you do, it’s a form of admitting guilt. And if you do that, it’ll work against you should you decide to fight your ticket in traffic court.
- Review the ticket: If you’re lucky, the officer will issue a warning and let you go on with your day. But if you end up with a ticket, review it carefully before you do anything. It’s tempting to pay it so you don’t have to think about it any longer, but doing so can affect you in many ways.
You’re not required by law to immediately pay your ticket. You have the legal right to request a court hearing, during which time you can explain what happened with the goal of winning your case. Even if you don’t avoid all the consequences, you can minimize the impact.
If you pay your ticket, you’re admitting guilt. Not only are you taking money out of your pocket, but it’ll also negatively affect your driving record. This could result in a license suspension and an increase or cancellation of your insurance policy.
Don’t take a moving violation lightly. Instead, take steps to protect your legal rights.