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Fighting a speeding ticket in court vs. paying the fine

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2021 | Traffic Violations

No matter how careful drivers across Greenville are, they may still get a speeding ticket, sometimes for going only a few miles above the limit. A speeding ticket adds points to a license in most states, and too many points could result in the loss of driving privileges.

If you have received a speeding ticket, you can choose to simply pay the fine or you can challenge the ticket in court.

Paying the fine

South Carolina charges a first-time speeding offense as a misdemeanor violation. The amount for the fine is based on the speed the offender was driving, as registered by the ticketing officer. A speeding ticket for driving only 1 to 10 mph over the speed limit typically has a fee of about $15 to $25. Driving at speeds greater than 25 mph over the limit could result in jail time though. Various administrative fees can bring the total cost of a $15 to $25 speeding ticket to around $61 to $81.

Sometimes drivers are told they should go to court to keep the speeding ticket off of their record, but a first-time offense likely won’t impact insurance rates or driving records. If you believe you’ll be able to obey all traffic laws going forward and don’t think you’ll get another ticket anytime soon, simply paying the fine may be your best option.

Fighting the charge in court

Just because an officer issues a ticket doesn’t mean the charge is absolute; even they can make critical errors. Plus, the prosecution must prove the driver violated the speed limit if the driver challenges the ticket in court. Most speed guns need to be recalibrated every 30 to 60 days, but many officers don’t comply, potentially creating a viable defense against a speeding violation charge.

Drivers should study their tickets closely to learn exactly which law they allegedly violated and check the ticket for any errors. If a ticket has too many mistakes, such as listing an incorrect name, it may get dismissed in court.

Additionally, even if a driver knows the court will find them guilty based on the evidence, they could still get the option of going to traffic school for a first-time offense. While the driving course typically costs more than the fine from a speeding ticket, it removes the violation from a driver’s record.

Drivers can fight traffic violations on their own, but it takes a sound legal strategy to convince judges. An experience traffic attorney can help drivers prepare a defense suitable for court.