If you just got a traffic violation that you think you can contest, check out Off The Record. That’s exactly what Whitney Lauritsen did when she fought back against getting her speeding ticket.
Tune in to find out why you should fight your ticket, how to get a ticket dismissed, and why you should hire a speeding ticket lawyer. Discover how speeding tickets affect your driving record, and how your driving record affect your insurance rates. Finally, Whitney shares how she found an easy and affordable access to legal help. Remember, you are not alone in fighting those speeding tickets! Tune in to get more information and helpful tips!
This episode is sponsored by Zencastr. Visit zencastr.com/pricing and enter promo code “wellevatrzen” to get 30% off your first three months.
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Off The Record: How I Fought A Speeding Ticket to Protect My Driving Record
A Speeding Ticket
A few months ago, I got a speeding ticket that gave me a ton of anxiety. I mentioned this in a previous episode because this was on part of my cross-country road trip. I was in Washington State when this happened. I was going around 64 miles per hour in an area that I thought was 55 a speed limit. Generally, I’m someone who drives about nine miles over the speed limit. I always try to go under ten miles because I was taught that you probably wouldn’t get pulled over for a speeding ticket if it was under ten miles per hour. That has been my practice.
I’ve driven all around the United States. I had one speeding ticket in 2012. Back then, I remember I was also on a cross-country trip. It was in some state I’d never been to. I was on my way to Chicago on the 4th of July in 2012. There were some speed traps out because of the holiday. I paid for the ticket and moved on with my life. I remember it being frustrating because it was a lot of money, but I didn’t think much of it.
Things were different this year in August 2022. First of all, I felt all this anxiety around being in the presence of a police officer. Over time, that anxiety has built for me. I don’t know if it was concerned about social justice and hearing about some awful things that happened with police officers. It also could be my fear of making a mistake, paying the consequences, or thinking that I could get away with something. I don’t know. There were a lot of emotions that came up for me.
To clarify, because I carried around this idea about what speeding was, that’s why I thought I could “get away with it.” It was because I didn’t think it was a big deal to go nine miles over the speed limit. What turned out to be the big deal is that I missed the sign that said the speed limit had changed from 55 to 45 miles per hour. When I got pulled over, that was explained to me as the problem.
When I saw that ticket in the officer’s hand, took it from him, and read it, I noticed the line that said that it was going to increase my insurance. At first, I thought, “I deserve this ticket. I didn’t realize I was now going 19 miles over the speed limit of 45.” That made sense to me that I should get a ticket for it. Although, I did ask the officer if he would let me go with a warning and he said no.
The biggest emotional hurdle for me was seeing the line about how that ticket was going to go on my record. That’s when I panicked. That’s when I thought, “This is bad.” I even called the officer back. He had walked back to his car. I said, “I don’t want this to go on my record. Is there anything that you can do to avoid that?” He said, “No.”
I thought, “I’m in a different state. Maybe the point won’t go on my record in California.” I did a little research and found out that’s not true. California is one of the states where they will put the point even if you’re driving somewhere else. I thought, “Maybe I can do traffic school,” because if you do that, a lot of states will take the point off or not send it to your insurance. I found out that at least in that part of Washington that I was in, they don’t give you traffic school. You can ask for it if you go to court.
I have two options. One was to pay the ticket, wait, and see what happens with my insurance. I even called my insurance to ask them how much it would cost and how much my premium would go up. They said they couldn’t tell me because it was some algorithm. Things kept feeling worse. It was a big bummer. I knew there was the option to go to court, and that’s what this episode is going to be about. This is my process of contesting my speeding ticket.
I want to share this because it caused me so much stress. It took a ton of time and effort. I had so much anxiety from all of this. It impacted my well-being. I want to share with transparency exactly what that experience was like to get that speeding ticket, but also to contest it for you in case you end up going through this or somebody else goes through this. You feel like you don’t know what to do. That was part of the stress for me. It was this moment of deep loneliness.
I was driving by myself. I was in an area I had never been to, so I was out of my comfort zone. It gave me flashbacks to times this had happened before in my life. My very first ticket ever was when I had gotten my driver’s license and I did a maneuver with my car that I wasn’t supposed to. It was so stupid, relatively, for things that you can get pulled over for.
I turned onto some street and then did a little U-turn. It was at night and there was no one around. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but there happened to be a cop there and they saw me. I went to court for that ticket with my mom and they dismissed it. Unfortunately, though, that gave me this mentality that if you apologize and explain that you made a mistake, a judge will understand.
Whitney’s Traumatic Court Experience
My second ticket did not turn out to be that way. First of all, the first ticket I talked about was in a small town in Massachusetts. Maybe the court works differently. I’m sure it does because every court, I found out, works a little bit differently. It was my second ticket that was traumatic for me. I was in Los Angeles. I had moved out here. I was going to the doctor and I didn’t know where anything was in town. I was super overwhelmed.
I took a wrong turn and ended up on this little side street. I went to get back onto the main road and there was a light or a stop sign. I went up and turned left, but I turned in front of another car that was across the street. I remember at that moment thinking, “This is okay to do.” I thought the person in the car across the street was letting me go in front of them. That’s how I interpreted it at that moment. What I did turn out to have been illegal. There happened to be a cop there, so I got pulled over. Talk about a trauma response. This is where it’s interesting to examine how we get triggered or what feels intense for us and overwhelming.
I remember starting to cry in front of this officer. He could have cared less. He gave me a ticket. Somehow, for some reason, I decided to go to court for this. Maybe it was because of my previous experience. I went to court and it was very unlike the experience I had in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, I went into a private room with a judge. I don’t know if it was because of my age, where I was, or what the situation was. For some reason, we were in this tiny room and it was just me, my mom, and the judge. It felt safe. I had a rude awakening when I went into the courtroom in Los Angeles. It was in Burbank for those that might know the area. It was far away from where I was working.
My doctor’s appointment was in Burbank, but by the time the court case came around, I was all the way on the other side of the city. I was an hour away. I had to take half a day off from my first job. They didn’t love that. It was a horrible job, too. I remember asking for some time to go to court. It was a big deal. I might have taken the whole day off.
I get to the courthouse and I had to contest my case in a courtroom with all of these strangers. I remember the officer got up and wrote on a whiteboard a diagram of what happened. I’m sitting there in complete panic, shame, not knowing what to do, feeling unprepared, and terrified. I stood up and started immediately crying in front of the judge, the officer, and the whole courtroom. I will never forget that moment. That caused trauma within me with all that fear, shame, sadness, and helplessness.
I explained my case. I have learned as an adult that there are specific things that you want to say and not say in these cases. I had complete ignorance back then. I was begging for forgiveness and saying, “This was an innocent mistake. I was going to the doctor. I thought the person was letting me turn right.” That’s what I said and the officer was like, “That’s not acceptable.” I then said, “I moved to Los Angeles. I don’t know what I’m doing yet.” He was like, “You need to learn all the rules of this road.” It was like being punished by my parents or teachers. Those are also things that bring up traumatic memories.
I remember I went to the window and I had to pay for my ticket. Back then, paying for a traffic violation is expensive and I didn’t have a lot of money. All of that is trauma, too, with financial ramifications. It was awful. At one point, I did traffic school. I don’t remember when that was. It might have been after that experience, but I don’t know if it was. It might have been after my first speeding ticket, which was when I was driving cross-country.Paying for a traffic violation is expensive, and its financial ramifications can cause trauma. Click To Tweet
Since then, I might have been pulled over one other time. This specific incident I’m going to spend most of this episode on was probably my fifth time ever getting pulled over. It’s not that much, but I don’t know the statistics. I am going to share some statistics with you about speeding tickets that I found interesting. I don’t know how common it is for people to get pulled over. It hasn’t happened that much to me.
I remember this incident in August 2022 of that awful sinking feeling of steam lights behind your car. I was driving on a two-lane highway on my way to Olympic National Park in Washington, which was amazing. It would’ve been much better had this incident never happened. I mentioned this in the episode where I first spoke about the speeding incident. I had gotten off the ferry in Washington. It was a beautiful day. I went and charged my car and then headed out on the road to go to some grocery store to pick up some snacks and food for dinner. I was happy. That’s probably why I missed the speed limit change.
I was in the left-hand lane trying to pass somebody, which probably didn’t work in my favor. What I do distinctly remember is that I was going with the flow of traffic. Nobody was going 45 miles per hour or whatever it was. Maybe some people in the right lane were going 55 or 60. I felt like I might have been going a few miles over everyone else. That was part of the frustrating experience. In the left-hand lane, I was going with the flow of everybody else in that lane.
What I come to learn about speeding tickets is that when there are speed traps, a lot of times, you’re the person they happen to catch. It doesn’t mean that you were the only one doing something like that. It just means that you were the unlucky one. That triggered my sense of justice. I felt, “It’s so unfair.” First of all, with the speed limit change, I later found out it kept fluctuating in that area. The cops probably park their cars right where the speed limit changes so they can catch people. It was a Friday. It was summer. Maybe people were like me, enjoying the day and not paying close attention.
The first piece of advice I will give you is that the app called Waze is so helpful in these situations because people can mark when they see cops. It works incredibly well. I was not using Waze at that moment. I was using my car as GPS. To paint the picture here, my car has a big GPS screen within it. That’s great for the most part, but it doesn’t have the features like letting you know when there’s a cop. My GPS in the car doesn’t tell me when there’s construction, bad traffic, or whatever. I’ll usually have Waze set up, in addition, to alert me of extra things that Waze does well.When you're unfamiliar with a place, use WAZE. It even allows you to mark where cops are located. Click To Tweet
At that time when I was driving that day, I didn’t have Waze on because I like felt like it was useless. I felt like I knew where I was going and I did not expect to encounter a cop. Had I had Waze on, it probably would’ve alerted me. I could have paid more attention to the speed limit and slowed down. That’s great. In the past, I’ve also used radar detectors. It was not to cheat the system, but it was simply for someone like me who might have not been paying attention because I was going with the flow of traffic.
I’m not trying to make excuses for myself, but I’m looking at the psychology of how people drive. I’ve noticed this a lot through my journeys around the country. Even when I’m going nine miles over the speed limit, that’s often slow. In a great majority of highways throughout the United States, people are going 15 to 20 miles over the speed limit on average. That was part of my frustration with getting pulled over. It was like, “The cops just sit there and they know this about driving behavior, but they randomly pull people over. Why? Is it for an example, or is it to make money?” That’s what I’m going to get into. I wanted to understand this.
The way my brain works is if something happens to me or to someone else that’s traumatizing, upsetting, frustrating, or feels unfair, I have this deep desire to understand why that happened. I did all this research. I recommend that if you’re in this situation, and that’s why you’re reading this episode, let me explain some things. First of all, let’s talk about preventative measures. Number one, Waze can be helpful. If there are other apps that you know of and you want to share, please let me know. I’ll leave it in a comment somewhere where everybody can see it because it’d be useful to know other tools.
I haven’t used radar detectors in a long time. The only time I’ve used those was when I used to drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco. There were a ton of speed traps, so I got them to keep me alert. I would hear the beeping of the radar and I’d go, “Let me check my speed and make sure I’m going with the flow of traffic that is within a reasonable limit.” That came in handy. I also used it on one of my cross-country trips, but it doesn’t always work perfectly. It can be expensive for the radar detector. In hindsight, it’s probably not worth it because of the developments that have happened with apps like Waze.
With the speeding ticket, I’m going to share some helpful things I learned that could offset the financial cost, but it is something to consider. You also have to check to see if the radar detector is legal in the area that you live and drive in, but also where else you’re traveling. When I was going around the country, it felt a little bit nerve-wracking because every area has different rules. That’s part of what makes this all very complicated when you’re somewhere unfamiliar.
What To Do When You Get A Ticket?
What would happen if you get a speeding ticket as I did? Fortunately, you can contest it. There are three different options. At least on the ticket that I got in Washington, it seems to be pretty common. Let me pull up my ticket so I can read them off verbatim. My ticket’s three options were to enclose a check or money order for the penalty amount. Somewhere around that was where it said that this would go on my record. There are notes about how the penalty can be increased if you fail to pay. They might bring your case to a collection agency. You can lose your driver’s license. There are so many scary things on here.
I initially was going to pay for it. I saw the amount and was like, “They caught me. What am I going to do?” Option number one is to pay the amount. It says, “I understand this will go on my driving record if it’s a traffic violation.” There are different types. This is why I wanted to share this. I learned so much about traffic tickets. There are three different types of infractions according to this ticket. One is a traffic ticket, which I got, one is a non-traffic ticket, and one is a parking ticket.
Since I got the traffic ticket, according to this piece of paper, it said it would go into my driving record. That’s where my heart sank. I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” I looked it up because my insurance wouldn’t tell me how much they were going to raise it until it got renewed. That’s due to all the different factors. It factors in how old you are, where you live, your history, and the car you’re driving. All of this is so complex. It’s not an easy thing to navigate.
I went online and tried to get an estimate. From what I read, that ticket would not only cost you the penalty price but insurance hikes of upwards of hundreds of dollars either per year or in total. It’s on your record for three years, at least in the state of California. I’m thinking, “What if this costs me $800 to $1,000 because I got caught going with the flow of traffic driving faster than the speed limit?” It felt outrageous.
The second option on the ticket is a mitigation hearing. On the ticket, that’s described as agreeing that you’ve committed the infraction but want a hearing to explain the circumstances. You have to do a court date and appear on that date. You can bring a witness with you. Even if you ask for mitigation, it will still go on your driver’s record. I thought, “That doesn’t sound good.”
Plus, the part of Washington I was in was towards the top of Washington. It was the very top of the United States and I live towards the bottom of the United States in Los Angeles. I’m thinking that the money it would cost me to go all the way up there to fight this ticket. I thought about the time it would take and the stress involved. I was like, “If I’m mitigating it, acknowledging that I committed this, then it’s still going on my record, what’s even the point?” From my research afterward, mitigation can sometimes reduce the penalty. You have to get permission from a judge to do traffic school in certain parts of the country.
The third option is the one I ended up going with. This is a contested hearing because I wanted to challenge the infraction. It does say here on the ticket, “I did not commit an infraction.” That was frustrating because I wasn’t 100% sure. I wasn’t fully looking at the speed I was going. I was like, “I probably was going what the officer said I was going,” but the word probably puts you in that middle zone or that vague zone. I still don’t like to lie, but he didn’t show me any proof. There was no way for me to 100% know that I was going the speed limit that he said I was going. It happens when the officer will accuse you of something that did not do.
For the contested hearing, you ask for a court date and you promise to appear on that date. The state will provide evidence that you committed the infraction. You can subpoena witnesses including the officer, and then it will only go on your record if you lose the case. That’s where I decided to do it. That’s when I thought, “I want to see what’s going to happen here.”
Before I go into my specific case, I want to share some statistics with you that made me feel like contesting the ticket was the best choice for me. According to some of my research, 42 million speeding tickets are issued in the United States on a yearly basis. That is 36% of drivers, assuming 1 speeding ticket per driver. In reality, 20.6% of drivers average a speeding ticket per year. Each day, over 112,328 speeding tickets are cited by municipal police officers, sheriff deputies, and highway patrol troopers. Those numbers are huge, looking at them.
There are 42 million speeding tickets a year in the United States and an average of 112,000 people are cited with a traffic ticket each and every day. That means that every second, someone in the United States is issued a ticket for a traffic violation. This is exactly why I’m making this episode. It’s likely that you or someone you know will get a ticket or already have. I’m sure you know somebody if you haven’t had one directly. This is such a common experience. Yet, I felt so ignorant about a lot of this.An average of 112,000 people are cited with a traffic ticket every day. This means that someone is being issued a ticket every single second. Click To Tweet
You have around a 20% chance of getting a citation yourself. Drivers have a roughly 1 in 6 shot of getting nabbed for speeding. This is from CreditDonkey.com, some random site as I was doing this research. It’s common. Sometimes, that makes you feel better if you know it’s common, but also, that could make you feel afraid. Do you have to drive exactly at the speed limit? Technically, if you went a mile over the speed limit, you could get pulled over and cited for that. The nine miles over the speed limit myth that I’ve heard does not protect you. I could have still been pulled over.
A warning would’ve worked as well as the ticket for me. I probably still would’ve done up to nine miles per hour, to be honest, but I was, for the rest of the trip, not going ten miles over or more. There was no way. I was not going to risk it. A warning is as effective. The officer did say that he would reduce my ticket and say that I was only going ten miles over the speed limit. That’s nuts. The penalty was still high. It was $128 for going 10 miles over the speeding limit. It was also going on my record. He reduced it but still could have a huge financial ripple effect on me.
The financial side of this is also interesting to me. Speeding tickets generate the United States anywhere from $3.8 billion to $5.4 billion a year in revenue. That’s billions of dollars because 1 in 6 people or 20% of people, depending on what site you go to, are getting ticketed. It’s just a matter of time for many of us unless we’re incredibly careful using tools like Waze, radar detectors, or driving slowly.
I want to note that sometimes driving the speed limit feels unsettling or dangerous. I mentioned driving all around the country on these cross-country trips. Once I became paranoid about getting another speed ticket, I noticed how fast people were going around me. I would have to be in the right-hand lane, which sometimes didn’t make sense with the directions, the turns, and all that stuff. I often like to be in the middle lane if there are three or more lanes on a highway.
For certain parts of the country, if you’re in the middle lane going the speed limit, people are zipping around you so fast. Some people come right up and are right on your tail or right behind you trying to intimidate you to go faster. They’ll zip around you. The chance of an accident sometimes increases when you’re going with the speed limit. I’m guessing, but it felt like that to me.
A lot of times, I was feeling anxious because I was trying to abide by the speed limit. Yet, I felt pressured by other drivers and sometimes in the line of danger because I was trying to follow the rules. In other words, it felt safer for me to go with the flow of traffic and go over the speed limit. Yet, that still put me in a position of getting a ticket. No wonder these numbers are so high. The rules don’t make full sense.
As someone who’s neurodivergent, I have a tendency to want to follow the rules, but if the rules don’t make sense, I get incredibly frustrated because then I don’t know what to do. If there are rules in place and then everybody is either following the rules or making up their own rules, how do you decide what to do yourself? This irritates me so much.
Going back to some of the stats, it says that governments in cities, counties, or states collect $6.2 billion in revenue from speeding tickets every year. This is a different statistic from the previous one. Some sites say it is $3.8 billion to $5.4 billion and others say $6.2 billion. Maybe this is an updated stat. It says, “When the city’s finances are low, traffic ticket issues go up. The state usually counts on drivers choosing not to contest their tickets and simply pay the fines.”
Since I was looking at things relative to Washington where I got a ticket, I found the stat that in the year 2017, Washington State generated $1.5 million from various traffic infraction fines. That was a few years ago in Washington State. It says, “Speeding is a cause of nearly 30% of all wrongful death, auto accident collisions, and accounted for 28% of all fatal crashes in 2014.” I understand why speeding is dangerous, but we could use a big revitalization or a big change to our rules. With that statistic, wouldn’t it be interesting to know speeding was involved but was that because somebody was speeding around somebody who was following the limit?
It’s not like speeding, in general, is bad. It’s got to do with all these different factors. That’s the other thing with driving. In all of these 8,000-plus miles that I did in the last few months, there are so many factors involved. The fact that everybody is driving based on their own comfort level and following their own compass of how they want to play by the rules, that in itself is the issue. The fact that every state, city, and county has different rules and different consequences makes driving feel incredibly complicated.
I want to share with you the outcome of my ticket and how I handled this. Before I do, lastly, I will say that only 13% of people in Washington State who are cited with a traffic infraction chose or choose to fight their ticket in court. I was in a small percentage of people which made me think, “Are these tickets given out because beating is dangerous, or are these tickets given out because most people pay the ticket without fighting it and it makes the state a lot of money?”
I did not feel like I was doing anything dangerous because I was going with the flow of traffic and being relatively mindful. I did notice that the speed limit was reduced. That is on me, but I was very mindful of my surroundings. I try to drive with a lot of caution and awareness and generally going with the flow of traffic feels safe to me.
Contesting The Ticket
I didn’t want to give the state money, so it felt good for me to contest it. I had to decide how I was going to do that. Number one was to go contest it myself. I thought about it, but driving back to Washington State where I wasn’t planning to go to show up in court by myself and use the information I found from the internet or friends didn’t feel like the best use of my time. It probably would not result in a great situation. You can look up online all sorts of resources that share how to contest a ticket, but along with that comes a lot of information about how those standard things that you could say in court probably won’t work.
The best thing to do is to get a lawyer. I have never hired a lawyer before, so I felt unsure of what to do. I have seen the signs on billboards that show, “Did you get a ticket? I will help you fight your case.” It has some numbers. It’s like a Better Call Saul type of thing. Have you ever seen those before? They’re all over if you pay attention. I ignore them because I haven’t gotten that many tickets and I’ve never wanted to fight one before. I wish I had seen one of those signs that day when I was driving because I probably would’ve called right away.
I didn’t decide to contest my ticket until weeks later after I left. I went online, looked up local lawyers, and started contacting them. I started with all the lawyers that had online forms that you could fill out so I could email back and forth with them. Most lawyers, I found out, are old school and you have to give them a call. I spoke to at least 4 or 5 five lawyers between calling and emailing. They were all very nice. I’m thrilled to share with you that despite people being nervous around lawyers, I felt much more comfortable talking to a lawyer than I did the officer that gave me the speeding ticket. There wasn’t fear there. They were kind and straightforward with me.
What was interesting is that most of these lawyers specialize in this or have a ton of experience in it amongst other things they do in their practice. They’re all like, “Send me your ticket. Here’s what my rate is. Once you pay me, I will send in my paperwork to the court, get the court date, go in on your behalf, and let you know what happens.” You don’t have to show up with the lawyer. You don’t even have to tell them anything.
One innocent mistake I made was when I was emailing the lawyers, the first few that I contacted, I told them all the details. I was like, “This is what I got ticketed for.” Looking back, my words were, “I don’t believe I was speeding.” Since I’m months out of the situation, I’m like, “I was probably speeding.” At the time, I was in this defensive mode and didn’t want to admit it. I told them all these details.
One thing I did was check my ticket for inaccuracies. There’s a myth that if the officer writes down your name wrong, misspells it, or puts the wrong address, that in itself can get your case dismissed. I don’t know if that’s true. There was one inaccuracy on my ticket, though. They marked it as me having a commercial driver’s license, which could have been a huge issue. There’s some rule around it. Maybe I’m misunderstanding it, but if you have a commercial driver’s license, you have to play by different rules.
The officer marked me down as having one. In Los Angeles, we have different driver’s licenses. Mine had a C on it, and he thought that meant I had a commercial driver’s. It was a Class C license in Los Angeles or California It means something different than it does in Washington. Technically, there was an inaccuracy. I don’t know if that would’ve helped me or not.
What’s interesting is that if you hire a lawyer, you don’t get involved. You just give them a copy of your ticket and they send the information. They do everything for you. You don’t even know what they’re doing unless you ask a ton of questions. All the lawyers were so laid back about that. They’re like, “That’s cool.” They feel confident.
In fact, multiple websites from lawyers say that they have an 80%, 85%, 90% to 95% success rate, which I found interesting. Given that speeding tickets are so common and the states make so much money off of them, why is it that lawyers have a high success rate of getting the ticket dismissed? I still don’t have the answer to that. If you do, let me know because I’m fascinated by all this.
After calling around and getting different quotes, they were anywhere from maybe $300 to 1 guy wanting to charge me $700 to go in for me. He was super nice and thorough. We had a great back-and-forth. I thought it was going to hire him, but when he told me he was going to charge me $700 to contest my ticket, I started looking elsewhere.
I found out it averages from $200 to $300 in Washington State, at least. The price range to hire a lawyer depends on where you get your ticket. They have to represent the specific county, too. Since I was in some small town outside of Olympic National Park, I had to find a lawyer that would go there. A lot of the lawyers in Washington State are around Seattle, which is not very close. That was another hurdle of calling around. Some people referred me to other lawyers. There was a lot of research involved.The price range of hiring a lawyer depends on the area where you get a speeding ticket. Click To Tweet
Off The Record
I have good news because I can save you a ton of trouble. This whole episode could be summarized into one piece of advice, but if you know me at all, I am someone that speaks at length on things. I’m sorry you’ve had to wait so long for my best tip. That is to check out this website called Off The Record. This is not an ad for them. They have a whole refer-a-friend thing in there. I get $10 for referring you and you get $10 to take off of your ticket.
That’s my transparency speech. I have no association with them beyond giving you my link. My little code is WLAURITSEN. You might as well use it. I used somebody’s link. I read a bunch of reviews and found somebody who was talking about their good experience with Off The Record. I used their link to get $10 off myself. That was awesome because hiring a lawyer through this website ended up costing me about $200. It was one of the lowest rates I saw.
What is Off The Record? It is a website that specializes in fighting your traffic tickets. If you go on it, it’s a nice-looking site. They have been featured in a bunch of publications, so it makes you feel like they’re legit. They have a ton of great reviews on all different websites that you can read. It lays out what they do and why you should do it.
According to Off The Record, fighting or contesting your ticket keeps your driving record clean. It gives you peace of mind. You also don’t have a blemish on your record that could impact you for a number of different reasons. It saves you money because every ticket on your record can lead to insurance premium increases. According to them, it says, “On average, your premium will increase by $39 a month for 3 years.” $39 times $36 is $1,400. This is what I mean. I probably underestimated it. If my insurance premium went up $1,400 plus the $128 penalty for the speeding ticket, I would’ve regretted it. That’s for three years.
Apparently, teenage drivers usually get hit the hardest with rate increases. There are impacts on CDL or Commercial Driver’s Licenses. Apparently, that impacts their jobs. Drivers with a clean record are more likely to be let go with a warning, even though that didn’t work for me because I haven’t had a ticket in many years. That didn’t help me with that officer, but maybe that’s why the officer brought my ticket infraction down for me. There are plenty of reasons to consider contesting your ticket.
I had a phenomenal experience with Off The Record. I wish I had known about it the moment I got the ticket. This is another reason why I’m doing this episode. This is to save you stress and time. I talked to a few people after my ticket, but if any of them had said, “Have you ever heard of Off The Record?” it would’ve been a blessing.
The only other site I found was what my dad told me about. It’s a similar site. It’s called DoNotPay. It’s another similar concept, but they don’t specialize in speeding tickets. They call themselves the world’s first robot lawyers. They help with a number of things. This is a useful thing to know. It is an app that fights corporations, beats bureaucracy, and sues anyone at the press of a button. It’s interesting. After my experience with Off The Record, I might try DoNotPay.
My dad is a lawyer. You think that would’ve helped me, but he doesn’t specialize in traffic-related things. He seemed interested in DoNotPay, so for him to recommend something says a lot. You can try them, too. You pay and they give you a letter to send to the court in different steps. It’s not completely, off the top of my head, what they do, but I did look into them. Off The Record felt better because you get an actual lawyer. DoNotPay is helping you fight your own case.
Let’s go back to Off The Record. You go on their site or use their app on your phone. You take a picture of your ticket and answer a few questions. It was easy. You get an instant quote. Right away, they say, “Based on what your ticket says, based on what you did, or based on where the ticket happened, here’s how much it’ll cost.” If you say yes, they match you with a lawyer who is based locally. Apparently, they try to find the lawyer who’s most likely to win your case.
The reason I decided to go with them in addition to their awesome low cost of about $200 with the discount I had is that they say that they will fight your ticket and win or it’s free. They have a guarantee. There are some fine print details. It depends on a lot of nuances. The money-back guarantee is only valid for civil or common traffic violations and is never valid for more serious charges. This is all outlined when you get your estimate. There are a few other details here, so it’s worth looking at.
I thought, “My case seems to be pretty minimal.” They also outline what the possible outcomes are, which was helpful, too. The first one is a full dismissal. If you have a spotless record or if your ticket has errors or inconsistencies, there is a good chance that your lawyer may be able to get your ticket completely dismissed. When this happens, you don’t have to pay a fine and the ticket will never show up on your record. It’s as if it never happened. All you pay is the rate through Off The Record.With Off The Record, there's a good chance your lawyer can get your ticket completely dismissed if you have a spotless record. Click To Tweet
They also have amended or reduced to non-moving violations, ticket points reduced, and a deferral, which I thought, “I’d be up for that.” Washington is one of those states that has a deferral program. They’ll turn a blind eye to the ticket if you don’t get another one for a certain period of time. Deferred tickets also don’t show up on your driving record. If a lawyer can’t get your ticket completely dismissed, they may try to get a deferral. If you don’t live in the state where you got the ticket, then you avoid going there for a certain period of time, and then it’ll be off your record.
I went in there, scanned my ticket, and got assigned to a guy that looked pretty cool. The other thing I liked about it is that once you’re assigned to a lawyer, you have 24 hours to ask for a different lawyer. You can go in and research them. They give you their email address and phone number. You can message them right away. They send you a letter of engagement to outline what you’re agreeing to. I went and looked up my lawyer and he was completely legit.
Off The Record is a matchmaking service. Certainly, you could do all the research as I did and call around, but I found that it was tough to find a lawyer who would represent my area. Even after lots of googling and lots of calls, I still only found a handful of them and I never came across this lawyer I ended up hiring through Off The Record. He might not be on social media. He could be a word-of-mouth person that I never would’ve found. Off The Record saves time.
I also don’t know how that price is so low. That was my one skepticism considering that with the other lawyers, the quotes I got were around $300 to that maximum of $700. I was surprised I was able to get a seemingly good lawyer for $200. Off The Record probably has a whole algorithm and figures out its whole system. Who knows? I still, to this day, don’t know exactly how this all worked out.
It was incredibly easy. I barely communicated with the lawyer in a good way. He answered very promptly. You send a message through the system. We had a few back-and-forths. I started off by telling him the situation. He said he was happy to take care of the ticket and I did not have to appear in court. He filed his paperwork within 24 to 48 hours after I paid him and got everything going. Then, I didn’t hear from him.
The court date was a month out after I paid for Off The Record. There was a lot of waiting. A few weeks into it, I said, “Have you filed the paperwork? I want to confirm everything’s going.” He said, “Yes,” and he was just waiting for the hearing date to be set. That was a bit of a miscommunication because the hearing date was set when I contested the ticket.
I probably would recommend this based on my experience. If you’re going to use something like Off The Record or find another lawyer, you can have them contest your ticket. I was stuck. I got into this state of stress and anxiety. I was still traveling weeks after I got my ticket. I didn’t have time to do any research. It took me time to process it, think about it, and weigh out all the options.
I wish that somebody I knew had gone through it and could have advised me, but I didn’t know anybody. Everybody I had mentioned it to was like, “That sucks. I’ve been through that. I paid for it.” Not a lot of people were knowledgeable about this option of contesting and hiring a lawyer. By the time I finally rolled around to making a decision, it was time for me to return my ticket.
Every ticket will have a deadline that you need to submit by. Most of them are within a few weeks, so they don’t give you much time. For someone like me, that sucks. I’m someone who takes a while to process and make decisions. I also was traveling, so it was a big inconvenience. My specific court had an extension. They allowed you up to 30 days to return your ticket. Regardless, 30 days passed before I made a decision with a lawyer. I sent in my ticket myself, checked off Contest, and got a court date before I even was assigned a lawyer. My lawyer was able to go into the system, figure out the court date information, file his paperwork, and take care of it.
What Happened In The End
About a month passed, and let me tell you. It was an amazing day. I had the piece of paper on my desk earlier, but I moved it. It was this scary-looking official yellow piece of paper that says, “This is your court date.” It was on October 20th, 2022 at 12:00 PM. I knew that day was there. I could feel it energetically. The whole morning, I’m sitting there counting down the minutes to when my trial happened and when I would hear from the lawyer. I don’t remember exactly what time, but I can probably pull this off because I love details like this for anyone else who can understand.
I got an email from Off The Record. This is in Pacific Time. It was less than two hours after my court date. The email from them said, “Good news, I was able to get your ticket dismissed. Your matter is now closed.” I then got a second email confirmation from Off The Record. It said, “Case dismissed and matter now closed.” Let me tell you. That was such a great feeling. It was a whole weight removed from me.
On the website, it confirms again. It says, “Your ticket was completely dismissed. There’s no fine to pay. The ticket will not appear in the driver record and your insurance rates will not be affected.” It’s that easy. To do the math, my ticket was $128. I paid $200 even. I did not have to pay that fine, and my insurance premium did not go up to whatever amount it would’ve been. I’d have no idea what that would’ve increased to, but it was wiped clean.
To summarize, to be able to send in a picture, be assigned a reputable lawyer, have a few back-and-forths, stay at home, have them do everything, and then get that result back was awesome. This isn’t guaranteed. That’s why Off The Record has their guarantee offer. They’re very transparent. You can ask as many questions as you’d like. They have lots of details. They have a help section. It’s well laid out.
I felt like it was worth the risk. Let’s say I paid the $200 and for some reason, they wouldn’t refund it back to me. It was worth trying. I’m so glad that I did. In fact, somewhere on their website, it says that Off The Record has a 97% success rate. I remember reading that, but that turned me off. It’s in Washington State. It says, “We get a favorable outcome for our clients. 97% of the time, our national success rate is unmatched and we’re damn proud of that.” You can go on the site. It explains all of these details that I told you here. It almost felt too good to be true, but since I’ve been through it, I’m like, “This is legit. This is awesome.”
Looking at the grand scheme of the system with how much money the states make from these tickets, is it that they can afford to dismiss cases if a lawyer comes in? I wish I could have been there to see it. Did my lawyer go in there at all, or did they dismiss the case as soon as the lawyer got involved? Does my lawyer go in there in the office and say one sentence and the judge is like, “It’s dismissed.” I wonder how many lawyers go in to do this. I would love to view the whole system.
If you know anyone that does this type of law or works as a judge in the courts, I’m so curious. If only 13% of people in Washington State contest tickets, is that because they’re afraid they’re not going to win? What if they knew that this existed? What would happen? How would everything shift? There are all these philosophical questions I have.
The good moral of the story is that you do have a fighting chance and you’re not in this alone. That also gave me peace of mind having a lawyer. I felt like someone was on my side that was knowledgeable, that had the experience, and that had my back. I’m not going to go speeding and try to get myself into this situation again. There is no way. Being pulled over was enough for me to change my driving habits.
The system could change, too. What if more people got warnings where they said, “The next time this happens, you’re getting a ticket. These are the consequences.” Maybe the whole system needs to be changed. I don’t feel like I have the power to do that, but I have the power to educate people like you, keep you informed, and share my story. I feel empowered after having gone through this and learned all of these things. I feel more aware of why these things happen and how it happens.
We look at the financial side of it and look at how many people don’t bother fighting things. That in itself was such a big part of this for me as feeling empowered to fight a system that doesn’t feel fair. A lot of our government is set up to do the best it can for the most amount of people. On the other side, if you look at the numbers, is it set up, in this case, to take advantage of the most amount of people? Is it really about safety? Are these laws and rules working? These are the bigger questions here. It’s nice to know that you can fight against it in a way that’s easy and relatively affordable and gives you some peace of mind. It did for me.
I would have loved to avoid paying $200. I’m not glad that I spent that money. I would have liked to have never gotten a speeding ticket, but it opened my eyes. I hope it was helpful for you and maybe other people in your life. If you want to try Off The Record, you can get $10 off and throw $10 my way at no additional cost to you. I’m happy to spread the word about them. Let me know if you try it out. If I see that $10 commission or referral fee come in for me, I’m going to be wondering who used my code. Was it you? I’d like to know what the result of your case was.
If you have more information, I’d love to hear it, too. If you’re looking to get in touch with me or you have any follow-up questions, comments, or anything else, reach out. My email’s on the website. The website is Wellevatr.com. You can also reach out on social media like a lot of people do. I barely use Instagram these days except to send messages to people. I’m trying to get back in the rhythm of Instagram for this show to share all the amazing guests and the work that they do.
I go through phases where it looks like I never open it up, but I will open Instagram up to read a message from you and try to get back to you as soon as possible. I have multiple Instagram accounts. You can find the @Wellevatr account. You can go on other social media, too, whichever means works well for you. Let’s talk about traffic tickets, speeding tickets, rules, laws, and lawyers. I love all this stuff. I would love to hear your experiences, knowledge, and perspectives.
Thank you so much for tuning in. I’m wishing you all the very best. If you’ve read this episode because you got a speeding ticket, I hope this helped. Know that you’re not alone and that there can be a positive outcome. I’ll be back again with a guest episode. Speaking of feeling good, this upcoming guest made me feel so uplifted. This is a wonderful human being that gave me peace of mind and tools to use during stressful times. You could certainly apply this guest’s lessons to this episode because it can feel traumatic getting a ticket. Stay tuned for that episode. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be back again.
- Episode – Processing Uncomfortable Moments from the Past
- Off The Record
- Instagram – Whitney Lauritsen
- @Wellevatr – Instagram
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