How to Get a School Zone Ticket Dismissed

If you were ticketed for speeding in a school zone, you can fight the ticket in court if your evidence is strong enough.
Written by Sara Brody
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you were ticketed for speeding in a school zone, you can fight the ticket in court under certain circumstances—provided your evidence is strong. If you choose not to fight the ticket or lose in court, you may see your
car insurance
premium rise as a result of points being added to your
driving record
School zones exist to protect children traveling to and from school. But if you don’t have kids, you might not notice when you’re entering a school zone. These areas should be clearly marked with signs that indicate changes in driving rules. If the signs are not clear, it may be grounds to challenge a speeding ticket. 
Here to tell you everything you need to know about speeding in school zones is
, the car insurance comparison and
trusted broker app
. We’ve created a guide on how to get a school zone ticket dismissed in court, as well as what to expect if you can’t do so.  
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What are school zones?

As the name suggests, a school zone is an area surrounding a school where speed limits for motorists are restricted. School zones exist to protect school-age children from potential accidents. 
It should be noted that school zone rules are only enforceable when the school is in operation, which should be indicated on regulatory signs. 

Why would I get a school zone ticket?

If you’re unaware that you’re driving in a school zone, you may wind up getting a ticket since the speed limit for the zone will be lower than that of surrounding areas. 
In a school zone, speed cameras are often used, so you might be sent a ticket by mail. You might instead be pulled over by law enforcement, in which case you’d receive your ticket in person.
MORE: The traffic tickets that have the greatest effect on your car insurance rates

How to fight a school zone speeding ticket

Your first and simplest option, of course, is to pay the ticket—but this may lead to points being added to your driver’s license and the charge appearing on your driving record. As a result, you’ll likely also face an increase in your car insurance rates, as insurers consider driving records when pricing policies.
If you decide to fight the ticket in court, make sure you have strong evidence for your case. Here are a few steps you can take.

Step 1: Examine your ticket

Make sure you know exactly when you need to show up in court, as well as the alleged speed and precise location of your car at the time you were ticketed.

Step 2: Determine if school was in session when you received your ticket

Depending on your local district, you can determine if school was in session when you received the ticket by returning to the school, calling, or emailing to ask for a school zone schedule. If you received your ticket outside of designated school hours, you may have grounds to successfully fight the charge in court. 

Step 3: Locate all school zone markers

If school zone markers are not clear, this can strengthen your case when fighting the ticket. Return to the school zone to take pictures of all markers, especially those that might have been difficult to see at the time your ticket was issued. Also, determine the exact location where you were cited for speeding to confirm it was truly within the school zone and properly marked. 
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Step 4: Figure out the speed limit surrounding the school zone

Check the speed limit in the area surrounding the school zone compared to your vehicle’s alleged speed at the time you received a ticket. If you were driving within the regular speed limit, you’ll have a better chance of winning your case.

Step 5: Hire an attorney to represent you on your court date

Although you may fight the ticket yourself, your best chance of winning in court is to hire an attorney. An experienced professional who knows the ins and outs of the law can identify the optimal way to fight the charge and the appropriate evidence to present. 
He or she will also be able to negotiate on your behalf to lower the fine or reduce the charge to a lesser infraction if your case can’t be won.  

How much do school zone speeding tickets cost?

The fine for speeding in a school zone depends on the specific rules of your jurisdiction and how badly you violated the speed limit. Here are some averages from a
California attorney’s office
  • $280 for driving 1 to 15 miles over the speed limit
  • $409 for driving 16 to 25 miles over the speed limit
  • $532+ for driving 25 miles or more over the speed limit
However, it’s important to remember that the cost of the ticket won’t be your only expense if you don’t successfully fight the charge. You should also expect your car insurance premium to rise for the next three years—perhaps an extra incentive to pay the upfront fee for an attorney to avoid losses over time.
MORE: How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record?

What are my options if I choose not to fight the ticket?

If you’re feeling blue about a ticket you don’t have a good chance of fighting, there are a few options to lessen the damage. Some states will allow you to attend traffic school to reduce the points on your driving record. You’ll still have to pay the cost of the original ticket, but you’ll be protected from long-term insurance hikes. 

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