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Why you should think twice before paying a traffic ticket

Nearly everyone exceeds the speed limit at some point. It's easy to press on the accelerator and go with the speed of traffic. Or to take your eye off the speedometer as you cruise along a twisty mountain road. But things change dramatically if an officer says your driving was careless or reckless.

Of course, each speeding ticket comes with a fine, and that tends to go up with the speedometer reading. However, other costs are less obvious. Some may surprise you, and they all get worse when you're faced with Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor charges.

Insurance premiums will go up

Traffic tickets are expensive, but most people end up facing even greater fines after they pay their tickets. These come in the form of increased insurance premiums.

A recent article from NerdWallet examined the "true costs" of Colorado speeding tickets. It showed the cost changed from city to city, but the $232 you might pay in fines for speeding 20 mph over the limit could cost you as much as $638 over the course of three years. That's the standard length of time insurance companies raise their premiums for tickets.

Points suspensions could threaten your licens

There's more than a dollar value assigned to each ticket. There's also a points value. If you earn too many points, you will have your license suspended. The number of points assigned to each violation changes with the circumstances. So does the number of points you can earn before your license is suspended.

For example, a 30-year-old woman would have her license suspended if she earned 12 or more points in a single year. Or for earning 18 points over two years. But a 19-year-old college student could find his license suspended much earlier. His would be suspended for earning just nine points in one year.

Commercial drivers could have their career endangered

Commercial drivers may have even more reason to contest their tickets. This is despite the fact Colorado offers a "chauffeur points" bracket that lets taxi drivers and some other drivers earn extra points before their licenses are suspended. Each ticket is a conviction that stays on your record. They could work against you if you were ever to face more serious charges, such as careless or reckless driving.

Rather than immediately paying off the ticket, it is important to first consult with an attorney to discuss your options. While paying the ticket may ultimately be the best option, it is prudent to analyze all avenues first.

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