| Driving
Police officer writing driver a speeding ticket.

When you get your driver’s license, it’s like saying to your state, “Yes. I’m going to respect the rules of the road!” Those rules, better known as traffic laws, outline how, when, and even what you can drive, and they’ve been put in place for everyone’s safety.

Getting a speeding ticket means you’ve broken one of the rules. What’s the penalty for getting caught driving at law-breaking speeds? A moving violation costs, on average, a few hundred dollars (though speeding tickets in some states, like Virginia, can be as high as $2,500).

What happens if you don’t pay a speeding ticket, though?

Since speeding tickets are used to help deter driving behavior that can result in dangerous situations on the road, the penalties attached to them are more severe than they are for parking tickets. Parking tickets are usually considered minor infractions.

That means you can expect a few different consequences for an unpaid speeding ticket, none of which are pleasant and a couple of which can be downright harsh.

Don’t Pay Your Speeding Ticket and You Could…

Lose Your Driver’s License

If you decide not to pay the speeding ticket (also called a traffic ticket), you can lose the right to drive. Once your driver’s license has been suspended, you may need to petition the court, pay civil penalty fees, and pay any fees related to reinstating your license. Plus, getting around without a car can get pricey, too! You’ll have to ask friends for favors, pay for a rideshare service, or invest time in figuring out your city’s public transportation system.

Wave Goodbye to Your Money 

No one wants to cough up a couple hundred bucks for a speeding ticket. But not paying the fine can result in expenses that easily eclipse that amount.

In addition to the civil penalty and reinstatement fees mentioned above, you may need to hire an attorney to represent you during the process to address the unpaid ticket and reinstate a suspended license. A traffic lawyer can cost about $350 per court date, according to professional service site Thumbtack.

Factor in any income lost as a result of not being able to drive to work and not paying a speeding ticket becomes a costly decision.

Pay More for Insurance

A suspension following an unpaid speeding ticket can park you squarely in some insurance companies’ “high-risk driver” group. Being a high-risk driver can affect your insurance costs for years after you get the ticket.

Aside from possibly raising your rates, an insurance company may also need to include an SR-22 form with your file to get you back behind the wheel legally, again. An SR-22 is also called a “certificate of financial responsibility,” and it notifies the issuing state that you have insurance coverage. SR-22s can come with filing fees, too.

Lose Your Freedom

Yes, really. Courts across the country jail people every day for failing to pay fines, including speeding tickets!

But incarceration typically isn’t the courts’ first choice. People will usually be presented with other options before jail time is put on the table. Unpaid speeding ticket consequences vary by state and are influenced by the severity (or frequency) of the infraction. They can include:

  • Traffic school, which requires a registration fee, but one that is less than the cost of the ticket
  • A payment plan that breaks up one hefty fine into smaller, more manageable amounts
  • Court-mandated community service

Together with the appeals process, courts give drivers several ways to take care of a speeding ticket. Not paying it, however, isn’t on the list.

Need to Switch Car Insurance Companies

At Direct Auto Insurance, we welcome everyone to apply for coverage, even those who have been turned away by other insurance companies. Whether you’ve got a squeaky clean driving record or were considered “high risk” by your past insurer, turn to Direct Auto for offer cheap car insurance that meets your needs.