To many people in New York, the flashing lights of a police vehicle behind them are synonymous with the loss of several hundred dollars. They assume that an officer will write them a ticket and that they will have to pay a fine.
Especially for speeding infractions, the first impulse of many motorists is just to pay the fine attached to the citation. While that approach may be expedient, it is often far more expensive than people realize. Fighting a traffic ticket might seem like the more financially responsible choice when people understand the long-term impacts that paying a ticket can have.
The fine is only the beginning of the expenses a ticket may inspire
If the fine assessed by the state of New York would be the only expense related to a ticket, then paying the fine would likely be less expensive than retaining the services of an attorney. However, once drivers consider the impact their citation will have on their insurance premiums, the cost of representation becomes more reasonable.
The more tickets someone has and the higher risk they are based on other personal characteristics, the more a traffic ticket will increase what they pay for liability coverage. Many drivers will pay hundreds of dollars more each year, and some will have to switch to a different insurance company because they represent more risk than their current company will accept.
Those insurance costs aren’t just a one-time issue the first year after a ticket. Traffic citations remain on someone’s record for the remainder of the calendar year in which the officer issues the citation and then the three years after that. It could be nearly four years before someone’s insurance premiums go back down to what they were before the ticket if they get pulled over early in the new year.
It will often cost multiple times more to pay a ticket and then pay the increased insurance costs it generates than it will to fight a traffic citation in New York. Having a more comprehensive understanding of how traffic tickets affect someone’s finances can help them reach a truly informed conclusion about how to handle a recent traffic stop.