I GOT A TICKET. DO I JUST PAY THE FINE? WHAT HAPPENS THEN?
Hoffspiegel Law Blog
There are a number of issues that pop up for all of us when we get a ticket. If there is not a collision involved, it is a bit simpler. A guilty plea or conviction may make your insurance premium higher. For a speeding ticket, if you were traveling well over the limit, if the solicitor or the judge is willing to allow a plea reducing your speed to less than 15 miles over the speed limit, the matter will not be reported to the state and your insurer will not have an excuse to raise your rates. Further, you will not be assessed any points.
If you are involved in a collision, there are a few other considerations.
A guilty plea in traffic court can be used as evidence against you in a civil case. If you have an injury claim pending against you, and you plead guilty to speeding or to any moving violation, that plea is considered an admission in the civil case against you. If you forfeit bond, that is considered a guilty plea. If you plead not guilty but are found to be guilty of the moving violation, in spite of the finding, your guilt cannot be used against you in a civil case.
If you plead Nolo Contendere, or NOLO, you will not be assessed any points. And the NOLO plea cannot be used against you in a civil case. Most judges will only allow a NOLO plea if you have not plead NOLO within a certain period of time, perhaps within the past 5 years. Some judges allow only one lifetime NOLO. Others are especially strict when it comes to DUI charges.
Be careful about points building up. 15 points within a 24 month period will result in a loss of license. One option if you are in danger of losing your license is to take a defensive driving course. You can reduce the number of points by 7 points once the course is completed and you fill out the appropriate paperwork. This can be done no more than once every 5 years.
Drive carefully. Use the privilege of a NOLO plea wisely. And if you get into trouble, consider taking a defensive driving course to keep your license.