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Is it worth the fight?

May 20, 2009

You’ve been slapped with a fine for a driving infraction - now what? Should you just pay the ticket and forget about it? What about demerit points and how they will affect your driving record, not to mention your auto insurance rate?

Sometimes it’s best to pay and sometimes it’s best to fight. Here are three scenarios that each call for a different course of action:

Scenario one: You parked in a no-park zone without noticing the sign and got a $30 dollar ticket.

You may or may not want fight this one. The amount is paltry and you’re best off just paying it in full. Plus, parking tickets fall under the jurisdiction of your municipality’s bylaws, and bylaws have no effect on your auto insurance rate.

Scenario two: You were doing 96 km/h in an 80 km/h zone and the officer who stopped you gave you the highest fine, plus you acquired three demerit points.

If you have a half-day available, you will want to fight this. Since you were over 15 km/h, you’ll automatically gain three demerit points and you will be fined - that’s the law. However, you may be able to get the fine lowered or possibly even demerit points removed if you plead your case. It’s always a good idea to keep your record as clean as possible for the sake of your auto insurance rate.

If this is your first ticket, know that most insurance companies may let you off the hook for your first minor offense, meaning that your auto insurance rate may not be affected. If, however, you choose to change companies, know that the infraction may be taken into consideration and you may not get the best rate possible, as every provider has its own set of rules and rates. To always ensure you have access to the best rate, you’ll want to practice good driving habits, keep a clean driving record and shop around, checking out the prices offered by different insurance companies.

Scenario three: You were found at-fault for a collision that caused damage to both your car and the other driver’s vehicle. The other driver was found not at-fault. However, the other driver cut you off, causing you to rear-end his car. You got fined, acquired points and now have a mark on your record.

You may want to fight it. If you feel that there were extenuating circumstances or that you were in the right, then take the half-day and go to court so you can plead your case. At the very least, you may have the fine reduced, decrease the number of demerit points applied and hopefully have the charge reduced as well. If you were found at-fault for careless driving, this will gain you six demerit points. However, if you can get it lowered to a charge of following too closely, then this could be reduced is four demerit points.

If you get it reduced to a lesser charge, then your policy will take less of a hit. For example, careless driving could be a 50 per cent surcharge on your premium as a result. However, following too closely gets you a surcharge of only 15 per cent.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you are wondering if you should fight a driving infraction, consider contacting Pointts or No Points Traffic Tickets to speak to a legal representative who specializes in cases involving demerit point and legal charges.