Speeding tickets can be very expensive. Along with the fine, the driver’s insurance rate may also increase, causing higher premiums for a few years at best. If the driver had not had any previous speeding tickets or not had one for three years, there is a good chance he or she can appeal the ticket. The first step is to write a mitigation letter for a speeding ticket. Even if the driver was speeding, there is still a chance he or she can have the ticket retracted or the fine reduced.
The driver should be aware of his or her chances of getting the ticket retracted or the fine reduced. In most states, if the driver is five or 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, they may only get a warning from the police officer, or, if they are given a ticket, there is a better chance they can get it retracted or reduced. However, if they are driving 75 mph in a 50 mph zone, there is a good chance they will be charged the maximum amount with no chance of retraction. The exception may be if the driver is taking a person to an emergency room at a hospital, or going to some other emergency.
Speeding tickets not only have large fines, they may also raise the insurance rate the driver pays. In some cases, it may raise the premium by 93 percent according to Bankrate. The insurance company needs to pay to check a customer’s driving record. This is why it often doesn’t check. However, it usually will check when a policy comes up for renewal. Potential customer’s driving records are also checked when they first become a customer. In most cases, the company may check every 18 months to two years. Almost half of drivers under 25 years of age report having their insurance rates raised after getting a speeding ticket. Only 15 percent of drivers who are 50 years of age or older have their driving records regularly checked by their insurance companies. Even companies that raise rates usually only do it for a specified period of time such as three years.
Since requesting an appeal on a speeding ticket is asking for a favor, the driver must remember to be humble, and appreciate that the officer was doing his or her job properly. The driver can call the District Attorney’s Office or police station to get the information on how to address the letter. It should have a humble tone even if the driver is angry and feels the ticket was unfair.
Any evidence that may help the driver’s case should be mentioned in the letter and, if possible, proof can be included. For example, if the speed limit sign is covered by plants or other signs, a photo can be taken and given to the police to prove it wasn’t possible for the driver to see the correct speed limit. If there is any chance that a radar gun or traffic camera was in error, it can be mentioned also.
Some states have leniency programs for first offenders and infrequent offenders. If the driver qualifies for one of these programs, he or she has a good chance of getting the ticket voided. Sometimes, it requires a waiting period of six months, during which no speeding tickets must be received by the driver. If this is the case, the ticket will be erased.
It is also possible to employ a lawyer who offers services for traffic violations. If the ticket will be very expensive and cause the driver’s insurance premiums to increase, it might be wise to hire a lawyer. However, in most cases, writing a speeding ticket appeal letter does not require the services of a lawyer.
Below is a sample mitigation letter for a speeding ticket. It is written in formal business letter style and should be sent by certified mail with a request for proof of delivery. The letter should be brief while giving all of the important information.
Sample Mitigation Letter for a Speeding Ticket
Name of Driver
Address of Driver
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Judge or Police Officer
Address of Court or Police Station
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Retraction of speeding ticket number NUMBER
Dear Name of Judge:
This letter is a formal request to appeal a speeding ticket I received on DATE. My name and address are above and the ticket number is NUMBER. The license plate of my car is NUMBER. I received the ticket on Name of Street for driving 40 mph in a 25 mph zone. I agree I was driving over the speed limit and that the officer was right to give me the ticket. I have driven that street for 15 years and was not aware the speed limit had been lowered. The new speed limit sign is not easy to see as it is partially covered by the sign of a local restaurant. I have enclosed a photograph of the sign.
This is my first speeding ticket as I am a very careful driver. I am sorry for having driven too fast and would never have done so if I had seen the new speed limit sign. I humbly request that the ticket be retracted because it will cause my insurance premium to be raised, which I cannot afford. My younger brother and I are orphans, and I am raising him on my salary alone. I am willing to enroll in a defensive driving course if this will help with my request.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my request to have the speeding ticket retracted. I can be reached at Phone Number or at Email Address.
Signature of Driver
Printed Name of Driver
List of Enclosures: photos of the speed limit sign
By Andre Bradley