People often respond to a traffic citation in ways that are adverse to their own interests. Instead of asserting themselves and fighting back, they simply pay the ticket, which is like pleading guilty to the traffic infraction. Although the fine attached to a citation can be relatively costly, the average driver in Washington often assumes that it will be cheaper to pay the fine than it will be to fight a citation in traffic court.
However, drivers who only consider the expense involved in paying the fine potentially do themselves a significant disservice. The financial implications of a ticket go beyond what it will cost to resolve the citation. Motorists also need to consider the possible impact that a citation may have on their insurance costs and their income.
A single ticket can cost someone hundreds of dollars
Someone’s previous driving record and the kind of coverage they purchased will determine how much more they will have to pay for insurance after a traffic ticket. Even a first traffic ticket for someone with a clean driving history can prove rather expensive.
When looking at insurance premiums in 2021, Bankrate found that a single ticket increases someone’s insurance policy premium by 18%. Those that already have other traffic offenses on record may end up paying even more for coverage. In some cases, they may need to move to a high-risk pool for their insurance policy if they have had too many traffic citations in a short amount of time.
Tickets can also affect employment
If someone has a commercial driver’s license (CDL), then a ticket they get in their own vehicle might affect their eligibility for their CDL and how much their employer pays for insurance. Anyone who drives as part of their regular job responsibilities could also find themselves facing career penalties if their employer will not absorb the increased insurance costs generated by their ticket or allow them to change job responsibilities if they temporarily lose their license.
Those who work with an experienced attorney to defend against traffic citations may potentially not only avoid paying a fine but they may also protect their insurance premiums and their employment. In these ways, reacting assertively to a traffic citation can help a driver to potentially minimize the lasting consequences of a recent traffic stop.