When you find yourself operating a motor vehicle, it’s critical that you always follow the rules of the road. This is easier said than done, but it’s imperative from both a safety and personal perspective.

Even a seemingly harmless traffic violation has the potential to change your life. For example, if you already have a lot of points on your record, one more violation could result in a suspension of your license.

Here are some of the top ways a traffic violation could change your life:

  • License suspension: As noted above, a license suspension is a possibility. And if this happens, you won’t be able to get around, such as to and from work or school. Should you drive for a living, a license suspension will all but put you out of work.
  • Large fine: The more serious the crime, the higher the fine. For example, if you’re charged with reckless driving or racing on a highway, your fine will be much higher than if you simply rolled through a stop sign at an uncrowded intersection.
  • Points on your driving record: Too many of these can result in a license suspension for an extended period of time. For instance, if you’re charged with improper passing in a no passing zone, four points will end up on your record.
  • Bad example for your children: This isn’t something that many people think about, but it’s a big deal. Maybe you have a teenage driver at home who is just beginning to spend more time behind the wheel. Should they see you violating the law, it may give them reason to believe they can do the same.

If you receive a traffic ticket, regardless of the reason, review it carefully before you do anything. Don’t make the mistake of paying the ticket and hoping for the best. This is a mistake that could cost you in the long run.

Consider the impact of paying the ticket, as well as the steps you can take to fight back. You may be able to lessen the impact on your life by scheduling a hearing in traffic court.