No matter if you’ve been driving for six months or 60 years, getting tickets is a fact of life. Now you’ve found yourself with one. Whether this is your first citation or you’ve had a few, what you do next is what matters.
After receiving a Nebraska traffic ticket, you are faced with some choices. Do you just pay it and put it behind you? Do you fight it? Do you hire an attorney? Do you “throw yourself on the mercy of the court” and hope they can help? Or, do you just ignore it and hope it goes away? Once you know your options step by step, you can pick the one that works best for you.
Let’s take a look at how you might attack the problem of getting a ticket. Of course, you should start by weighing your options but, after that, what’s next?
- Hire an attorney?
- Talk to the court?
- Take a driver safety course?
(I’m going to save you a little suspense here. That last step, the “safety course” one? That one is almost always your best choice, but who knows? One of the others might work just as well.)
You Got a Ticket. Now What?
Drivers react differently to getting tickets. Some get angry or indignant. Some are gracious, accepting the citation as an invitation to learn better for next time. Others view the infraction karmic-ly, figuring that even if they didn’t deserve the ticket this time, they probably got away with it (or worse) a dozen times in the past.
It’s not important if you experienced one of these reactions or something completely different. What is important is what you choose to do next. All you know is that you want to deal with this inconvenience with as little effort and expense as possible.
You could choose the zero effort and expense route and do nothing. I tried that once. It did not go well.
You could just pay the darn thing and chalk the fine up to hard-earned experience. This option is fairly low on the effort scale but fairly high on the expense side. And it won’t just be expensive now; it’ll be expensive later when your insurance renews.
You may feel that your ticket represented an attack on your driving superiority, and now you’re out for justice. What will it take to beat your ticket with an attorney?
Hire a Lawyer and Fight, Fight, Fight
Maybe you’ve seen billboards with pictures of smiling (or sometimes scowling) attorneys promising to join in your traffic-related crusade. Is this your best answer in terms of time and expense?
The internet is crawling with attorneys ready to go to war for you over your traffic ticket. Don’t believe me? Google “fight ticket with Nebraska attorney” and see how many results you get.
Most of these sites will boast of a 90%+ success rate, and many will make promises like
“Full refund if we are unable to keep the ticket off your record!”
Some of these will claim they’ll pay for your ticket as well.
These sites will also offer statistics encouraging you to employ them by implying you’d be stupid not to.
“One in four tickets is issued in error, yet only 5% of drivers contest their traffic tickets.”
Do you want to be in the 95% of suckers who don’t?
If you’re the type who likes to drive fast all the time, this may be an option. Many law firms have monthly memberships that will allow you to have…
“Unlimited back-and-forth with traffic lawyers. Chat with certified lawyers until you’re satisfied. About any legal issue—from big to small, and everything in between.”
The fight-it-with-a-lawyer option works like this:
- Spend time researching traffic lawyers and hire one. Once you’ve paid the required fees, the attorney will:
- Request a contested hearing
- Request discovery for your case
- Represent you in court
- Negotiate with the prosecutor to have your charges dropped or reduced
Factoring in the time spent shopping for a lawyer, this option is fairly moderate on the effort scale. But, depending on what the firm charges, it may remain pretty high on the expense chart. At least your insurance won’t go up if the attorney manages to keep the ticket off your record.
But Your Honor, You Have to Understand…
You could skip hiring an attorney and head to the courthouse yourself and request a mitigation hearing or a contested hearing.
A mitigation hearing is one where you request leniency because the fine represents an excessive financial burden. If you are successful, the court may reduce your fine, put you on a monthly payment plan, or allow you to work off your debt with community service.
A contested hearing is one you attend to try getting the conviction overturned.
Good luck. Hope you win.
(On the other hand, if you have a minute, you could fall down this rabbit hole to find the origins of what might be a remarkably apt quote in this situation).
As for a Nebraska Driver Safety Course…
In 2013, Nebraska instituted the Safety Training Option Program. (See what they did there? STOP?)
STOP. courses (there are two of them) come in both voluntary and mandatory versions. Since you’re looking for ticket dismissal, let’s talk about that first.
The most important thing to know about dismissing a ticket with a STOP course is that time is of the essence. For your course completion to be accepted by the court, you must be registered for the course within 12 days of receiving your ticket and must have the course completed 7 days prior to your court date. It’s up to you to figure out if you qualify and get on it.
But how do I know?
Your ability to take a four hour STOP course depends on what your ticket was written for and if you have taken a course in the past.
Violations NOT eligible for dismissal include:
- Speeding 20+mph over the posted speed limit
- Any injury accident
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs
- Reckless Driving
- Evading arrest
- Refusing a breath or blood test
- Driving on a suspended or revoked license
- Any violation classified as a misdemeanor or a felony
- Driving without insurance
Drivers also don’t qualify for a STOP class if:
- They have participated in any STOP Program in the last three years
- They hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- The ticket they received includes multiple moving violations
Other than that you’re good to go, so get on it!
Taking Your Nebraska Defensive Driving Course
All driver safety courses follow the same basic curriculum. Your course will touch on topics such as:
- Nebraska traffic law
- Safe driving techniques
- How to avoid an accident
- How to handle an emergency
- How to share the road safely with others
At the end of the course, you will be required to pass a test over the presented material to be awarded a completion certificate. This certificate of completion can then be submitted to your court, keeping the conviction and associated points off of your driving record.
Nebraska Approved Defensive Driving
Nebraska defensive driving can be completed online or in a classroom. The most important point here is that the course must be approved by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (NE DMV).
For most busy folks, an online defensive driving course makes the most sense. Taking your course this way allows you to complete it all at once or a piece at a time, whenever you have the time. Online defensive driving is fast becoming the first choice for many Nebraska drivers. Start your search with some of Nebraska’s top online providers.
Best Nebraska MVD Approved Defensive Driving Schools
That Other STOP Class
Sometimes referred to as a “STAR” course, it’s kind of like a driver safety course on steroids and you may find yourself sitting in one for eight hours if:
- Your license has been revoked because of excessive driving record points and you’d like it back
- You are under the age of 21 and have already accumulated six points on your driving record
- You are applying for an Employment Driving Permit
On the other hand, you may want to complete this course voluntarily.
“But wait,” I hear you asking, “what’s the point of me doing that?!?”
Points is the Point
Convictions of traffic violations result in the addition of points to a driver’s record. The addition of points is negative for two reasons. First, accumulate enough points on your records and your license will be suspended. Second, the number of points on your record will be used to determine how much you pay for auto insurance.
Most major insurance companies offer some type of “safe driver discount” for policyholders who voluntarily complete a driver safety course, especially if it results in a reduction of driving record points. Insurance companies understand that better-educated drivers make safer drivers and that safer drivers have fewer accidents. With fewer claims to pay, the companies save money and will pass those savings back to you.
Check with your insurance company to see if this is an option for you. If you’re curious how much the savings might be worth, this article dives a little into the actual math.
A Final Word
Ticket dismissal is not the only reason to take defensive driving. Find out how taking a course can keep you safer and put money in your pocket.