Contesting vs. Traffic School: Is doing traffic school a better option than contesting?

Trial by Declaration is the best option unless money is no concern for you. Considering the time it takes the average person to earn $150-200 dollars after taxes, many do not consider traffic school a better or easier option. Even the cheaper fines are over $100 plus a $39 traffic school referral fee plus the $30 cost of traffic school. The best-case scenario for a less expensive citation approaches $200. The average ticket handled through traffic school will cost the driver around $250—the traffic school referral fee plus traffic school will push this up to around $330.

For a red light ticket, you’d be looking at a fine of $341 plus $39 for traffic school referral plus $30 for traffic school: over $400 total, over a week’s take-home pay for some people. Unless you have an unlimited supply of cash, it’s hard to imagine how paying up is better than writing a declaration letter that may result in paying nothing. Add to this the cost a day of your life wasted in a boring 8-hour DMV traffic school. Your instructor might be the cop who cited you or some painfully unfunny “comedian.” Even the courts that allow online classes now require you to take a proctored exam at an approved site. If you fail, you have to wait a week to retake the test.


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