Hopefully you all saved a lot of money when buying your first car and filling up at the tank because you’ve got a new problem: you got your first ticket. Maybe it’s a moving violation or a parking violation. Whatever the case, you may have to pay it … and you may not. There are some rules of thumb to follow to really be sure so you can fight your case properly.
Know the circumstances of your situation
When you got your ticket, were you really in the wrong? Did you deserve it based on the time, date, place, your driving record, etc.? Was what you did dangerous? Was what you did illegal? Did you truly violate any parking or moving regulations? Make sure you ask yourself all of these questions before paying up, because a jerk cop could have stuck you with a ticket just because he had a bad day or has to meet his quota.
Here’s a little personal anecdote to help you understand what I mean. I have an internship at Rider’s other campus, Westminster Choir College. If you’ve been there before, you know the campus is small and has a serious parking problem. There really aren’t any spots for Rider students from the Lawrenceville campus, so I started parking in the visitor spaces – because in my mind, I really am a visitor to the campus. Then one day I came outside and found a ticket on my car. It was a $55 violation for parking in a visitor’s spot when I am a registered Rider student. I became very irritated because not only was I truly a visitor, but I had parked there before without a problem. So my first instinct was to appeal the ticket. I waited for a response and when I didn’t hear anything, I contacted Rider and found out the ticket had been appealed. Through this I learned a very valuable lesson: if you know the ticket was issued wrongly, just fight it. The worst that could happen is you do have to pay it.
Become familiar with your driving terrain
Say you consistently drive the same stretch of road each day or at least a few times a week. Get to know the area you travel often so you know the speed limits, twists and turns of the road, and where cops camp out. That way you can prevent a ticket just by driving a little bit more cautiously. When you are parking either on the street, in a parking lot, or in a public garage, be wary of meters that need to be fed, fees for the time your car spends there, and specially marked parking spots. Don’t avoid a meter on the street just because there’s a mound of snow on the sidewalk. You will pay more heavily for the ticket you will receive than for some snow on your shoes.
As long as you pay attention to your surroundings and park and drive properly, you will not only avoid a ticket but keep your record clean and your pockets full.
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