When you get a traffic ticket, you can either pay it off or contest it in court. For most people, paying off a traffic ticket seems like the easy way out. After all, you will avoid the inconveniences of court dates and move on with your life.
However, your decision could come with several long-term undesirable consequences that you may not have anticipated when paying for the ticket. Here is what you need to know.
Reasons to contest your ticket
Paying a ticket essentially means you are admitting to breaking a traffic law. Therefore, you will have to bear the ramifications, legal or otherwise.
First, your insurance premiums will likely increase because you are perceived to be a riskier driver. Insurance companies grade drivers’ premiums according to their safety records. A traffic violation could mean you are more likely to cause an accident – and that means higher premiums. It can cost you a pretty penny in the long run.
Paying off a ticket will also result in additional points on your license, depending on your infraction. Too many points and your driving license could be suspended. Under North Carolina’s point system, your driving license may be suspended for 60 days if you accumulate 12 points or more within three years. Finally, you are likely to face enhanced penalties for any offenses you commit down the line.
Fighting your traffic ticket in court
You stand a better chance of avoiding the consequences of a guilty admission if you contest your ticket. For instance, if the police officer who issued the citation does not show up in court, you will not be convicted of the traffic violation. Alternatively, if they show up, having experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel by your side will boost your chances of avoiding a conviction.