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Fighting Tickets Seems To Have An Effect in D.C. But Few Take Advantage

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If we told you that there was an easy way to limit the number of fines you could pay, and the number of points you had on your license, you'd think we had something to sell you. We do, but you don't have to take out a credit card, you just need to live in Washington, D.C.

An analysis by the Washington Examiner found that people who fought traffic and red light camera tickets in the District of Columbia had a better than 50 percent chance of beating the charges. In fact, for most moving violations, the success rate was about 60 percent, while four out of every five red light camera charges were dismissed.

That's enough to put a serious dent in the number of points on your license and lessen the number of times you have to attend an online traffic school, . The catch? People aren't taking advantage of the fact that they have a decent shot at getting tickets erased. In fact, less than 10 percent of red light and parking tickets went to court, along with less than a quarter of those with moving violations such as reckless driving or speeding.

"Protesting they are innocent, more motorists are willing to fight their parking and traffic tickets in small hearing rooms in the District of Columbia, and much to their surprise, they are winning their cases," John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s manager of public and government affairs, told NBC in Washington. "Although only a fraction of ticketed motorists even bother to contest or appeal their tickets, it stands to reason that those who decide to appear before a District ticket adjudicator or to contest the ticket in writing have a far better chance of winning their cases than those who don't."

It's ironic that the same belief in making the extra effort to combat potentially false allegations about driving behavior is the fact that those who put in more time and effort on their driving needs will end up doing better. That includes making the choice to go to court to ensure that the charges are valid, and that there aren't reasons you shouldn't receive a ticket.

Other jurisdictions are likely the same way, but considering that there are 2.4 million tickets issued each year in the nation's capital, that is a large number of people who could end up needing to go to an online traffic school in order to take off points and remain able to drive.

NBC's Washington affiliate notes that in the case of parking violations, there are several options that people can pick between to ensure that a false parking ticket is thrown out, including taking photos of inoperable meters or obscured signage, as well as any records showing that the vehicle was not properly operating prior to a moving violation.

The simplest answer to the problem is to practice defensive driving and stay within the bounds of the law. But if you feel that you were ticketed incorrectly, the District of Columbia shows it may be worth it to fight back.