How to Write to Mitigate a Traffic Ticket

Updated March 23, 2017

Getting a traffic ticket is an annoying, embarrassing experience. No one likes getting pulled over in traffic, and having to deal with the ticket afterward can be stressful and expensive. Writing a letter to mitigate a traffic ticket when you pay your fine might persuade the traffic court judge to refund a portion of your money.

Write the essential information. Start your letter by typing the date, your return address and the name and address of your recipient. Write a subject line that includes the citation number of your traffic ticket and the date you got the ticket. Add a sentence explaining that you are writing to provide additional information about the offence.

Explain why the judge should give you a break. Were you distracted by the erratic behaviour of another driver? Did you lose control because you swerved to avoid a wild animal? Were you ill or suffering from a temporary physical problem from which you have since recovered? Avoid describing circumstances that could reflect badly on you, like telling the judge that you were talking on your cell phone when you got the traffic ticket or that you were eating, drinking or putting on make-up.

Ask the judge to reduce the fine for your traffic ticket, connecting the mitigating factor you told the judge about to the behaviour for which you were ticketed. Write something like "Because I had to change lanes to avoid hitting the cat, would you please reduce my fine" or "I should not be charged the maximum fine because the cast on my leg kept me from applying the brakes."

Thank the judge for her time and sign your name to the letter. Include a check or money order for the entire amount of your fine; if the judge decides you are entitled to a mitigation discount, the court staff will send you a refund check.

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About the Author

Marilyn Lindblad practices law on the west coast of the United States. She has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on various websites. Lindblad received her Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark Law School.