Mailing in a Traffic Ticket? Not So Fast…

Your heart starts racing while your stomach drops. The steering wheel feels a little harder to grip as the sweat suddenly appears on your hands. Blue lights continue flashing in your rearview as you pull over and put your car in park. Traffic tickets happen, and most of us have the same visceral reaction, even if we aren’t the one who caught the officer’s attention.

Blue Lights

Blue Lights on Police Car

Once it’s over, your body starts to return to normal, but your mind has a new question to answer. What should I do about the ticket? Simply paying it online, in person, or through the mail seems quick and painless. Just get the whole ticket thing behind you, right? Wrong. Read on to learn three potential consequences to pleading guilty to that ticket.

Consequence 1: Pay the ticket, and you might have a new misdemeanor on your record. Yes, you read that correctly. Depending on the speed charged and possibly other charges on your citation, you could actually be pleading guilty to a misdemeanor criminal offense when you pay your ticket.  A misdemeanor is a criminal conviction that will become part of your official criminal history. In many instances, it may need to be disclosed as part of a background investigation for employment.  Finally, if you are convicted of other crimes in the future, this may potentially impact the severity of your sentence.

Consequence 2: Pay the ticket, and you might lose your driver’s license. There are a number of circumstances in North Carolina where paying the ticket as charged results in the suspension of your driver’s license, even if it is your first speeding ticket.  You would quickly find yourself in the unfortunate position of being unable to drive to work, visit the grocery store, or even pick up your kids from school. Don’t make that costly mistake in exchange for skipping time in court to resolve it.  

Consequence 3: Pay the ticket, and you might be paying extra to the insurance company for years. A citation of any kind can have a substantial impact on the cost of your insurance for a significant amount of time.  While there is certainly a cost to hiring an attorney, in most cases, it will offset or negate any long-term expenses associated with increased insurance premiums due to your ticket.

So what can you do to avoid these? The best route is to consult a trusted attorney for proper legal advice. Remember, no attorney, including those at Yadkin Valley Law, can ethically promise any particular result in a criminal or traffic matter.  So, you should never do business with an attorney who does so.  However, an experienced traffic attorney has built the knowledge needed to help you. They are familiar with the court system, the District Attorney’s office, and how to negotiate on your behalf.  In most cases, they can go to court in your place.  They can save you time, money, and unnecessary outcomes. So maybe the next time lights flash in your rearview, your hands won’t get nearly as sweaty. Well, maybe.