Can Overpaying Your Speeding Ticket Keep Points Off Your License?

In the interest of car safety, I’d like to start this article by saying that speeding is wrong, and you shouldn’t do it. Speed limits are there for a reason, and our society only holds together because we generally follow a set of agreed-upon rules. That said, sometimes speeding happens—and then speeding tickets can happen. Tickets can lead to points against your license, and too many points can cause you to lose your driver’s license.

There is a story that claims that one simple trick can get you off the hook and keep the points off of your license and record.

The claim: overpaying a speeding ticket can prevent points on your license

Red and blue police car lights flashing at night. Overpaying your speeding ticket won't keep points off your license.
Police car at a traffic stop | Michael Förtsch via Unsplash

Here’s the claim that’s led to the question of how to avoid points on a speeding ticket: 

“When you get your fine, send in a check to pay for it. If the fine is $79.00 make the check out for $82.00 or some small amount over the fine. The system will then have to send you back a check for the difference, however here is the trick. DO NOT CASH THE REFUND CHECK! Throw it or file it away! Points are not assessed to your license until all financial transactions are complete. If you do not cash the check, then the transactions are NOT complete. The system has received its money and is satisfied and will no longer bother you. This information comes from an unmentionable computer company that sets up the standard databases used by every state.”

This claim has been circulating since as early as 1998, and not just in the United States. According to Snopes, this message—or one like it—has been found in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. It’s probably popped up in other places, too. 

So, is it true? Can this one trick fool computer systems and avoid points on an expensive speeding ticket?

Fact check: can paying a little extra avoid points on a speeding ticket?

Close-up of a person counting out dollar bills
Dollar bills | Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash

Nobody can sniff out a myth like Snopes—and it has filed this one under “False.” There is no data or proof to support the claim that overpaying a ticket (of any kind) will keep points off your license. Any citation or ticket for a moving violation will more than likely lead to a few points against your license, regardless of how much you pay.

Just as fines for speeding in a school zone, work zone, or construction zone can differ, the number of points on your license varies based on state laws and the type of violations. If the cops gave you a “fix-it ticket,” there are ways to correct it and keep it off your record.

If you’re suspicious of Snopes’ authority on the topic, you’re welcome to try this trick. Worst-case scenario, you lose a few dollars. But, don’t count on it working—I’m not even sure if you’ll get a refund check. The state government might be more than happy to keep those extra three dollars.

Can you get a speeding ticket off your record?

If you’re wondering how to get a speeding ticket dismissed, and thereby keep points off your license, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to fight a speeding ticket. There are a few key tips to contesting a ticket, but they can be hit or miss. If you’re convinced that you were wrongfully accused and ticketed, you can hire a traffic attorney.

Just don’t be like this stubborn man, who spent over $35,000 fighting a single ticket.

How do I know if I have points on my license? Most government websites should allow you to check if you have traffic tickets online and even pay them. You may be able to check for a driving history report or points on your record by visiting your state’s DMV site. If that’s not available to you, you can contact your local DMV directly.

There are more ways than one to get in trouble with the law when you’re behind the wheel. Scroll down to read about how marijuana violations are wreaking havoc with the supply chain.

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