If you receive a traffic ticket following a moving violation, you may have to resign yourself to certain realities. The ticket will contain a specified court date and location, and you will have to come to some kind of resolution with the court by that time. This could mean waiving your right to a hearing and paying the established fine for your violation. You may also decide to work out a deal with the prosecutor's office and agree to attend traffic school. You could even hire an attorney and fight the ticket in court if you really believe the officer made an error in judgment.
The main problem with fighting a traffic ticket in court is the home court advantage. An officer's sworn testimony carries significant weight, and few judges are swayed by a defendant's plea to disregard it and believe his or her side of the story. You do have the right to fight a citation in court, but the only real advantage is a possible reduction in the severity of the offense and a more polite request to attend traffic school. Because there is a tuition fee attached to many traffic schools, it generally adds up to a reduced fine with no points added to your overall driving record.
Some legal experts suggest that waiving your rights and paying the established fine may be the most expensive route to follow. Challenging the ticket in court can also be an expensive proposition as well unless there are criminal charges to consider. The best thing may be to contact the prosecutor's office and work out a plea deal before the court date. The conditions of this plea could include traffic school in exchange for a lower fine and fewer points on your driving record.
In the case of moving violations with no damage to vehicles, people or property, you may not be required to report a traffic ticket directly to your insurance company, but that doesn't mean they won't find out about it. Many states have pacts with other states to report traffic violations to a common database. An insurance company has the right to consult this database or others like it to determine any adjustments to a policy holder's insurance rates. You don't necessarily have to volunteer this information, but you can't deny its existence either. A few minor traffic tickets may not have a detrimental effect on your insurance rates, but more serious violations such as reckless driving or DUI can definitely raise your premiums or even put an end to your coverage.
If you only have a traffic ticket for a minor offense and agree to attend traffic school, there should be little damage done to your driving record or your insurance rating. Check your insurance policy carefully, however, to see if there is a specific protocol to follow if you do receive one. Even if you don't have to file a claim for any damages, you may want to come clean about the ticket before the insurance company discovers it on their own.