What Happens When You Get Your First Speeding Ticket?

There are a number of steps that you have go through when being issued a speeding ticket. Those who are aware of what happens will be adequately prepared to handle everything. While it is usually not a very complicated process, it’s still good to learn about. It is essential that you know what your options are with this sort of ticket. All of this information will help you make the best possible decision. (Click this for basic information about traffic tickets.)

What To Do After Getting Your First Speeding Ticket

Sign and Look Over the Ticket

The very first thing that you have to do when being issued your first speeding ticket by an officer is to sign a copy of it. You are legally required to sign the ticket, but it is not an admission of guilt. By signing the ticket, you are simply promising to either pay it or show up to court.

Take the time to look over your ticket after you have signed it. You will only have a certain amount of time to decide what you want to do. This varies depending on the jurisdiction, which is why it is important to reference the ticket.

You also want to check the ticket for any possible mistakes made by the officer who issued it. If there are any errors, you will likely get it dismissed outright in court. While this is fairly uncommon, it is still a possibility to consider.

Make sure that you understand all of the instructions that are given on the ticket before the officer leaves. They will be able to clarify anything that you might not understand.

First time speeding

Review Your Options

When it comes to a speeding ticket, you can either plead guilty and pay the fine or plead not guilty. If you select the “not guilty” option on the ticket, you will have to make an appearance in court. A date will be set for you to appear before a judge or court magistrate. If you don’t want to pay the fine at all, be ready to face these consequences we discussed on this article.

Some states give you a third option, which is enrolling in traffic school. This basically involves taking a driver’s safety class. If you successfully complete the course, you can get the ticket removed from your record completely. This means that it will not impact your car insurance rate whatsoever. For Virginia speeding laws, click this to see our info guide.

If you try to ignore the ticket, a bench warrant will be issued by a judge. This means that you could get placed under arrest next time you are pulled over by an officer.

Paying Your Ticket

You can choose to simply admit guilt and pay your speeding ticket. Most jurisdictions allow you to do this in person or online. Paying your ticket online can be extremely convenient, but it sometimes comes with an additional fee. 

If you are going to pay with your credit card, you’ll likely be charged a fee of some kind. All you have to do is visit the appropriate website and enter the number on your citation.

Make sure that you are fully aware of all the fees that you’ll have to pay with your speeding ticket before making a decision. In states like California, there tend to be lots of additional fees on most traffic tickets.

If you want to pay your ticket in person, you’ll need to visit your local courthouse. You’ll want to find out which forms of payment are accepted before going down there.

Going to Court

If you make the decision to plead not guilty and go to court, there is a process you’ll have to go through. You will be assigned a court date, which you need to take seriously. Make sure that you know what to say in court and you show up early just in case.

It is a good idea to do this if it is your very first speeding ticket, because you can probably get it reduced or even dismissed. Talk to the prosecutor to see if they’d be willing to bring it down to some lesser charge. This can potentially save you money and points on your license. While the judge makes the final decision, it is worth trying.

Why Fight a Speeding Ticket?

Choosing to fight the first speeding ticket you receive in court is a good idea for numerous reasons. This type of ticket usually comes with points on your driving record, which is the last thing you want. If you get enough points on your record, you could have your license permanently revoked by the state.

Another good reason to fight your first ticket is that you won’t have to worry about a steep increase in your insurance rate (if it is dismissed). Admitting guilt and paying your ticket might seem like the easier option, but it can cost you a lot with your insurance. Some people end up paying upwards of $300 extra for their car insurance as a result of a speeding ticket. Here’s our tip for getting your speeding ticket dismissed: https://www.ratedradardetector.org/ticket/speeding/dismiss/.

Traffic School

Many people who get a speeding ticket for the first time choose to enroll in traffic school. This can be a wise decision, as it means no points on your license. Most states offer this option, and you can do it entirely online. It basically teaches you about how to be a safe driver and tests your knowledge at the end. This won’t take a long time and is definitely worth the slight inconvenience you will experience. It is an option that is available to anyone who has never gotten a speeding ticket before.

Your Insurance Rate

Getting a speeding ticket can send your car insurance rate through the roof, but only if you admit guilt or cannot get it taken care of in some way. If you are planning admit guilt and pay the ticket, you should get in touch with your insurer right away. It is important that you know what to expect in terms of how much your rate will increase, especially if it’s your first speeding ticket and you don’t have any clue at all.

The extra amount that you will have to pay for your insurance is going to depend on a few factors, including your speed. A ticket for 5 mph over the limit might not affect your rate at all, while going 20 mph over definitely will.


This article is written by William Johnson, the founder of RRD. William is passionate about radar detectors. His interest in reviewing and testing radar detectors from different brands started nearly 10 years ago, when his own radar detector then (a cheap and brand-less detector he bought online) failed to detect and radar gun nearby.

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