Does a Speeding Ticket Go on Your Record?
When you’re cruising along on the highway and see the flashing lights of a police car in your rearview mirror, your heart sinks. A speeding ticket with a costy fine is the last thing you need! And other headaches will likely ensue. When the offense impacts your driving record, your insurer will probably hike your premium for three to five years, perhaps by a significant amount.
Keeping the ticket off your driving record in the first place is your best chance at avoiding a higher insurance premium. You can do so by contesting the ticket or by taking several other measures in court to eliminate the ticket. A few methods exist that drivers can use to keep a ticket off of their record, including:
Defensive Driving Classes
Attending and passing a defensive driving course can result in a ticket dismissal, ensuring it never hits your driving record. These classes are not available in all states, however, and of those that have them, this is a one-time-only option.
Get A Deferral
A deferral works this way: The court finds you guilty, or you plead guilty, and the ticket can be deferred and not added to your driving record. This deferral lasts for a specific time period, which is one year in most jurisdictions. Deferrals are not automatic—a district attorney or judge must approve it, and there will probably be a fee to pay.
If you navigate your deferral period without incurring another infraction, the ticket can be dismissed and will never impact your driving record. However, if you are issued another ticket within the deferral period, both tickets will impact your DMV record, and your insurance premiums will likely skyrocket. This adds significant risk to a deferral option, as it reduces your options to fight or eliminate a second ticket.
Request a Delay
This is an option to take when courtroom options are impending. Most traffic violations come with a court date that is several months away. Asking for a continuance can push that date down the road for a year or so. If the police officer that issued your ticket is transferred, retires, quits, or is fired during that period, you can request a dismissal.
You may be able to use mitigation if it’s been numerous years since your last ticket. While this option will not always prevent the ticket from impacting your record, it could lower the fine. In mitigation, you basically plead guilty but then are given a chance to explain and ask the judge for leniency. There are no guarantees with mitigation. A judge may buy your excuse, lower the fine, or leave it the same. A judge may offer ways to keep a ticket off of your record as well. Deferrals and defensive driving school are common options in mitigation.
Contact the Clerk of the Court
In certain jurisdictions, the clerk of court can knock the ticket down to a non-moving violation. In most cases, you will still have to pay the fine and court costs.
Your best option for keeping a ticket off your permanent record is to fight it. An experienced and qualified attorney can explain this option and how to proceed to a favorable outcome. Consult with an attorney who focuses on traffic violations for further details.