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8 top traffic ticket myths

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Myth No. 3: Red cars get more tickets.
Forum posters on www.colormatters.com, a Web site that focuses on color theory and everything that color affects, say drivers of red cars get more tickets. There are no official studies to confirm that red cars do get more tickets, but some suggest the bold color tends to attract more attention from everyone -- including police officers. There is also a theory that red cars can create an optical illusion that makes them appear to be going faster than they really are. A similar myth says that insurance companies charge higher premiums for red cars. Allstate and Progressive have both reported that a car's color has no bearing on the premiums they charge.

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Myth No. 4: You need a lawyer to beat a ticket.
You might expect most traffic ticket attorneys to say you can't beat your own ticket. With a little time and homework, however, many people successfully fight their own traffic tickets. At the very least, first-time offenders for minor offenses can usually strike a plea bargain in most jurisdictions. An attorney's fee will often outweigh the fines and impact of a first violation, but in states such as Texas and Florida, some law firms have entire practices dedicated to fighting tickets and can often do so at reasonable rates.

Myth No. 5: If you get a ticket in another state, your home state won't find out about it.
The Interstate Driver's License Compact is an agreement between participating states that share information regarding certain types of traffic convictions. Reports on traffic violations and suspensions are forwarded to the home state of the nonresident. There are only a handful of states -- Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Michigan and Wisconsin -- that are not members of the DLC. There is also the National Driver Register, or NDR, a database of information about drivers who have had their licenses revoked and suspended due to serious traffic violations. States provide the NDR with information about these serious offenses, and those in the database can be denied licenses in other states.

Myth No. 6: You can make up an excuse to get out of the ticket.
Most police officers aren't interested in excuses. When an officer pulls you over, he already suspects you of an infraction. You'll have your day in court and many ways to fight the ticket. Remember: Any explanation you give about why you were speeding is an admission that you were speeding. If an officer logs those explanations in his notes, the statements could later be used against you in court. That's why, whenever an officer asks if you know why you've been pulled over, always answer "no" and just take the ticket.

"Never admit to speeding in the process of talking," says Aaron Quinn, communications director for the National Motorists Association. "I would say just to be polite with the officer. Reasoning with the officer is something that might help you out if you actually are on your way to the hospital. You can try talking, just don't admit guilt."

Next: "Signing a ticket is not an admission of guilt."
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