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High Speed Can Mean High Costs

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RALEIGH — Putting the pedal to the metal has always been risky, but it can really hit you in the pocketbook if you're caught speeding.

There is no shortage of drivers caught speeding in North Carolina and traffic tickets have never been more expensive.

But you can do something to cut those costs.

"I was speeding at the airport and I got caught," one driver admits.

"They told me I was going 70 mph, which was really surprising," said another.

Plan to shell out major money for such mistakes. Just in administrative costs it will be $86, even if you pay the ticket and never see a courtroom.

But it's probably in your best interests to go before a judge.

"Most people with a speeding ticket will get the opportunity to have it reduced a few miles per hour," says Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby.

And at least one judge says she's usually willing to give you a break.

"I can accept or reject it and normally I accept it," says Judge Ann Marie Calabria.

It worked for driver Swati Agarwal, who did go to court.

"I was going 38 in a 20 and I got it reduced to 29 in a 20," she said.

The distinction can be important when news of your ticket gets to your insurance company, because they raise your rates when you have been convicted of speeding.

You may be able to help yourself with the fine but the court costs are non-negotiable.

Most of that money goes to support the court system, but almost 10 percent goes toward a retirement plan for officers.

But authorities point out you only have to pay if you're found guilty.

Wake county tries to make it easier for you to go to court when you're caught speeding. If you plead guilty, you can show up any time between 7:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

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Ericka Lewis, Reporter
Mark Copeland, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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