Are you now in possession of a Louisiana speeding ticket? You’re not alone.
In 2017, the state issued 11,045 speeding citations, which was a huge jump from the approximately 4,000 citations issued the year before. See, speeding ticket fines aren’t just about how fast you’re driving. As The Advocate reported in 2019, these tickets are also political because so many towns rely on tickets to form a huge part of their income.
If you have a Louisana speeding ticket, you need to know what’s expected of you and what your rights are.
Do you drive in the Bayou State? Here’s what you need to know.
How Much Is a Speeding Ticket in Louisiana?
Like most states, Louisiana operates a tiered speeding ticket system based on how fast the officer says you drove.
The typical cost of a Louisiana speeding ticket is as follows:
- 1-9 miles per hour over posted speed limit: $115+
- 10-14 miles per hour over posted speed limit: $215+
- 15-20 miles per hour over posted speed limit: $240+
- 21+ miles per hour over posted speed limit: court appearance
However, each parish may set its own fines.
The fines above relate solely to the speed you were traveling. Your fine could be much higher depending on where you are and whether you were wearing a seatbelt when pulled over.
What Should You Do When You Get a Speeding Ticket?
Your first step is to contact the local government in the parish where you received the ticket. Unlike other states where municipalities and counties publish the payment options on the ticket, you’ll need to ask when, where, and how to pay for your traffic violation.
Many parishes participate in the Louisiana Pre-Trial Diversion scheme (P.T.D.). P.T.D. offers motorists the chance to pay the ticket quickly and avoid the court system. In other words, paying the fine ASAP prevents the ticket from going on your driving record.
In most cases, the income from fines through the P.T.D. program goes directly to the district attorney rather than being split between several agencies through the court system.
Those who participate see the benefits for both sides. The state doesn’t have to deal with the paperwork associated with speeding tickets, and drivers can escape the insurance premium increases associated with a black mark on their driving records. Though, the practice does rob Louisiana’s public defenders of much of their budget, which damages the justice system elsewhere.
However, before you hand over the cash for your ticket, you should consider whether it’s a fair citation and if you should pay it at all.
When Should You Fight a Louisiana Traffic Ticket?
Traffic tickets exist to promote public safety, but they’re also a money-making scheme for local governments.
In Louisiana, some cities, towns, and villages earn more from things like traffic fines than they do from property taxes. What’s more, traffic citations point out unsafe driving practices to insurers, who then raise rates and earn more money on insurance premiums. It’s no wonder that so many actors argue for tougher traffic laws.
It’s not a surprise then that some people experience unfair or even predatory traffic tickets. And places like Henderson, La. have been investigated for its role as a speed trap.
You should know that you have the right to dispute a ticket. You never have to ‘shut up and pay it.’
But when should you fight a speeding ticket, and when should you pay up?
Here are a few examples.
To Save Your Insurance Premium
Even if the speeding ticket itself is below your pain point, your insurance premium increase might not be. Fighting a speeding ticket could save you hundreds of dollars on top of saving money on the fine.
Remember that your premium won’t just go up for a year. It could be higher for the next five years. One ticket isn’t worth the price if you’re not a regular speeder.
To Protect Your Driving Record
Although Louisiana doesn’t use a points system, your driving record still records every speeding ticket. If you get too many tickets or a combination of moving violations within a period of five years, you risk a suspended license.
Given that a car is by far the best and almost only way to get around the state, losing your license isn’t an option. Not only will you not be able to travel, but you’ll also need to pay reinstatement fees, take a driver improvement course, and suffer a higher auto insurance rate.
What’s more, if you work in a job that requires a clean driving record, you put your employment at risk by accepting a ticket.
How Can You Fight a Louisiana Speeding Ticket?
Fighting a ticket in Louisana is allowed, but it isn’t always easy. Typically, you have a few different options if you want to fight a speeding ticket.
First, you can write a written declaration and send it to the court. The court then weighs your account vs. the officer’s and decides whether the ticket stands or not. In some cases, the ticket may stand but with a reduced fine.
In some cases, you should appear in court yourself. However, to do this, you need a traffic attorney. Most people who go to court are usually facing a license revocation. The method is usually overkill for your first traffic ticket unless the ticket is a violation of your civil rights.
You Have Rights on the Road
Right or wrong, Louisiana speeding tickets make up a huge amount of revenue for towns, cities, and parishes in the state. It’s no surprise that the state of Louisiana is famous for the number of traffic violations it hands out.
But just because you live in Speed Trap City doesn’t mean you need to accept every ticket that comes your way. By learning more about traffic tickets, you can better protect yourself if or when you get pulled over.
Did you come home with a traffic ticket? Wondering what to do next? We can help. Get in touch with your questions and to get more information about your options when paying or fighting a Louisiana speeding ticket.