Tips For Handling a Traffic Violation

Being pulled over can be a difficult experience, especially if it’s for the first time. Many drivers aren’t sure how to handle getting a ticket – they’re often nervous and perhaps feel the violation isn’t deserved. offers a few simple tips for handling a traffic violation the right way, including what to do at the scene and how to fight it later.

Police hand out a large number of traffic violations across the country each day. It’s part of their job, and not always an easy one. For drivers, getting a ticket can be frightening or frustrating, and it sometimes results in the situation being handled the wrong way. When pulled over by an officer for a traffic violation, keep in mind these important tips from so that things go smoothly.

Obey the Officer, and Don’t Argue

Whether or not the violation is deserved in the driver’s eyes, arguing with an office of the law is never a good idea. When an officer pulls a driver over, the best thing that driver can do is to be completely cooperative.

Follow these simple rules:

  • Pull over immediately at the nearest safe location
  • Wait in the vehicle until the officer approaches. Don’t reach into the back seat or bend over to look for anything
  • When asked, present the proper documentation
  • Speak respectfully to the officer; it’s ok to ask questions, but be sure to be polite about it
  • Step out of the car only if asked to do so
  • If given a violation, accept it and leave the scene when the officer says it’s ok. Fighting a ticket can’t be done on the scene, so arguing is pointless and can result in a bigger problem

An officer who is pulling over a driver knows that most of the time that person is not a criminal, but merely someone who made a mistake. Still, officers have to be on their guard and often face angry or belligerent people. Don’t make sudden moves or behave in a way that might make that officer think there is a possible risk to their safety.

Fighting a Violation

After the traffic stop, read the instructions on the ticket for paying the fine or for appearing to dispute it. Accepting a fine is simple – just pay it by the date listed on the ticket.

Drivers do have the right to dispute a traffic violation in court, and there is a legal process for doing this. A lawyer isn’t necessary in most cases, although serious violations that come with criminal charges are a different situation.

Many drivers successfully fight traffic violations in court, but remember that it’s not always possible. Some tickets are very hard to fight, including those involving photographic evidence such as from red-light cameras, or where radar was used to clock speed. Still, the law does allow drivers their day in court, and the opportunity to argue against a ticket. Remember that the courtroom is the right place to fight a ticket, and it should always be done according to the predetermined legal channels. Arguing a ticket at the scene won’t help the situation. "The law lets you stand up for yourself and fight a ticket, but arguing with an officer will just get you in more trouble," says Tammy Ezer of, "Use the court system instead."

If you’ve received a traffic violation, you may experience a car insurance rate increase. There are still ways to save money. Each insurance company charges different rates to insure the same person; it’s important to shop around for car insurance quotes to get the lowest rate available.