This holiday season, a lot of folks are going to be driving to visit family. This means many of you are going to be crossing state lines and inevitably, this also means some of you will get an out of state speeding ticket.
Whatever you do, don't let an out of state speeding ticket ruin your holiday memories. Getting a speeding ticket from another state doesn't have to be a nightmare. In fact, depending on the state, it may not affect your driving record. Some states do not transfer points from speeding tickets received in other states.
Of course, if you have a Florida license, you're not so lucky. Florida will treat your speeding ticket as if it was received in Florida, so you can't just pay it and think there won't be consequences.
Regardless, with some proper planning, an out of state speeding ticket can almost always be handled in your absence. The key is determining your options so you can make a plan.
One of the best places to start when figuring out your options, is the clerk of the county in which you received your ticket. The clerk will not only be able to tell you all of your options, but depending on how small the county is, the clerk can also tell you about whether the judge who is going to hear your case is "friendly" to people from another state fighting their tickets.
Most states allow you to take traffic school, but not all. Although I don't advocate choosing traffic school without doing some research on fighting your ticket, you do need to know if school is an option, so this is something you need to find out. Again, the clerk can tell you if school is an option and when the various deadlines must be met.
Every county must allow you the option of fighting your ticket. If you don't want to make the trip all the way back to the county your ticket was from, you can probably fight it by filing an affidavit to be read in your absence, or by hiring a local traffic attorney. Again, a local traffic attorney will give you the reality of the situation and advise you on whether it's worth fighting the ticket or not.
Your job is to figure out if it's worth it. This can be done by asking the right questions. What is the likelihood of the case being dismissed? Resolved without points? What are typical court costs for the type of speeding ticket you received? Does the judge send people to traffic school? How much are the attorney's fees? What, if any, is the guarantee? How will this affect your record back home?
Only by asking questions, can you really know if you are making the right decision. Most traffic attorneys give a free consultation, but be warned, the price can vary from attorney to attorney and from county to county. Don't be afraid to keep looking around until you find an attorney you are comfortable with.
Whatever you do, don't hire an attorney on price alone. There are so many important variables, and you can read articles on this blog about the dangers of hiring an attorney because he/she is the cheapest. Many times, the "cheap guy" will end up costing you much more in higher court fees.
Lastly, in the event your home state isn't Florida and doesn't transfer points from an out of state speeding ticket, that doesn't mean your insurance company won't raise your rates. The ticket that you think won't come back to haunt you if you pay it, will still appear on your record and will be seen by anyone who looks. Keep that in mind if you are considering not fighting the ticket.
If you still have questions, you can call my office at 800-489-4125, or download my FREE eBook specifically for people who get a ticket in Florida, but live in another. You can click the image below to start the download.