A traffic violation, while small in the moment, can have drastic effects in the long term. From possible jail time, to insurance premium increases, the penalty you could pay can heavily outweigh the effect of the violation. If you have prior violations, your penalties could be even tougher. Here are 5 tips on what to do after receiving a traffic violation.

Take Lots of Photos

Before you pull away from the scene of your violation, attempt to take a few photos of the area you're in. If you're in a suburban area, traffic lights, signs, and even traffic conditions, can be useful should you decide to fight the violation in court. Get as many photos as possible of the surrounding area where the violation occurred, as well as the area you were pulled over by police officers.

Review Your Violation and Potential Fines

Tickets are often a generic piece of paper that consist of lots of fine print. Read the entire violation, both sides, top to bottom, even if it doesn't pertain to your violation. Knowing exactly what's going to come next is the first step in determining what you do next.

Contact Your Insurance Company

By default, the jurisdiction that issued you your traffic violation will inform the insurance company of your ticket. Depending on the violation, this can cause a significant increase in your policy premium. Call your insurance company within one day of your violation to get a full understanding of how your ticket affects your premium.

Contact the Court, if Necessary

By now, you have enough to decide how to handle your traffic violation. If you choose to pay off the violation, and a court date is not required, you merely need to pay the court. This can always be done via snail mail, and many jurisdictions offer online payment systems to pay the applicable fine. If you intend to plead not guilty, or want to work to get the violation reduced, you'll need to contact the court. The court will set a future court date for you to see a judge, who will then determine if a further hearing is needed or if they will reduce your violation and sentence on the spot.

Consider Getting an Attorney

If you choose to go to court, or the violation requires it, you may want to consider an attorney. When an attorney is involved, the jurisdiction that issued your ticket will need to have a prosecutor on hand for any trial. This has two positive effects. Many courts do not wish to spend the money on trials for moving violations, and will drop or dismiss charges if they don't feel they will hold up in court. An attorney will also be able to use the details you provide to determine if the violation was improperly issued and should be dismissed. Either way, an attorney is a valuable solution for more severe traffic violations.

Author's Bio: 

I am a freelance writer and blogger who focuses on business, health and other various topics. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication from UCLA and currently reside in Santa Cruz with my dog, Sassy.