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TheStreet Open House

How to Beat a Speeding Ticket (or At Least Make It Matter Less)

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- A moving violation can cost you more than $1,000 in fines and higher auto insurance premiums, but here's some advice that's just the ticket for minimizing the damage to your wallet.

"If you get a speeding ticket and your car is a 2005 or newer with full coverage, you can expect to not only pay a fine but also see your insurance to go up around $500 a year for three years," says Mark Schraeder of TheTrafficTicketAttorneys.com. "For many people, that's worth fighting."

Schraeder's Los Angeles law firm, which specializes in contesting California traffic tickets, claims a 90% success rate in getting cases either dismissed or plea bargained to the point where clients don't face higher premiums.

"Most people who fight tickets on their own lose because they go to court and say: "Judge, here's why I'm innocent,'" Schraeder says. "The trick is to go in there and say: 'Judge, here's why the cops can't meet the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.'"

Here are five tips on how to beat tickets or at least avoid the higher insurance rates moving violations often entail:

Be polite during traffic stops

A judge will usually dismiss your ticket if the cop who pulled you over fails to come to your hearing or can't recall such details as what kind of car you were driving.

But Schraeder says that if you mouth off to the officer during the traffic stop, "the cop is going to be motivated to show up in court and remember everything."

Don't admit anything

Police who pull you over for speeding often ask: "Do you know how fast you were going?" -- leaving you unsure whether admitting guilt will get you a warning or sink any chance you have of contesting your ticket.

Schraeder believes the latter is usually true, as many cops are under pressure these days to generate ticket revenues for their cash-strapped municipalities.

"Admitting guilt doesn't hold as much sway as it used to," he says. "The cop will probably just say: 'Thank you for admitting your guilt. Now here's your ticket.'"

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