Renting a car is a highly convenient option in many cases. For instance, you can rent a car if you are on a business tour in another state or city and prefer traveling alone. Similarly, renting a car for a trip to distant areas will give you more freedom while traveling.
One thing that you cannot ignore is that the law is applicable to your personal or friend’s vehicle or a rented car. You can be pulled over in a rental car just like the law enforcers can pull you over in your own vehicle. However, the question stands; will you be treated differently if you are pulled over in a rental car? What are your rights? If it is a speeding ticket, who is responsible for paying it? Will it affect your driving license? Can the police search a rented vehicle? You can get all the answers in the text to follow.
How To Handle Speeding Tickets Or Moving Violations When Pulled Over In A Rental Car?
Authorities can trace the parking tickets back to the car, but when it comes to moving violations or speeding tickets, all the liability is on the person driving it. Then, it doesn’t matter whether the car is yours’, rented, or your friend’s. Also, you can be handed over a speeding ticket in two ways.
1- On Road When You are Pulled Over
If you find yourself in such as situation due to a speeding ticket, it is in your best interests to handle it on your own. The best way is to pay for the ticket as soon as possible. Generally, the ticket includes detailed information on how you can pay the ticket online or through traditional channels. It is better to go for quick fixes (online payment) and keep the record.
2- Charged Without Knowledge
Technology has made things easier for law enforcers, and you can get a ticket without even knowing. Nowadays, law enforcement agencies use red-light cameras and laser technology to charge speeding violations without the driver’s knowledge.
Although it is almost impossible to know who is behind the wheel, the municipality or the local enforcers will track the vehicle plate number and send the picture and ticket to the car owner. The person renting the car will come to know about it while returning the car to the rental company.
Your best bet is to pay for the ticket. If you don’t, the rental company will pay the ticket and pass on the bill and a heavy administrative fee to you. In addition to that, the company will also share your license number with the concerned law enforcement agency.
What Actions Can the Rental Car Company Take Against You?
As mentioned above, you will be responsible for your actions even if you are pulled over in a rental car. You are responsible for paying for the ticket whether you get it on the road or the police send it to the rental company.
If you fail to pay the fine, the unpaid fine will be sent to the collections agency. In that case, you may get your license suspended. Also, depending on the circumstances, the rental company may add you to their blacklist due to a breach of contract. It is better to have car insurance for personal or rented cars.
Will A Speeding Ticket Or Moving Violation Affect Your License If You Are Pulled Over In A Rental Car?
In the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter if it is your personal car or you rented it. If you are involved in a speeding or any other moving violation, the offense will be on you, and you can expect a negative mark on your driving license.
Can the Police Search a Rental Car?
According to the fourth amendment, the police or law enforcement agencies cannot perform unreasonable searches or seizures. This law applies to personal as well as rented cars. However, if the police pull you over in a rented car for overspeeding or other moving violations, they can ask for the rental agreement. In case the name on the agreement doesn’t match the name on your driving license, it may be enough to create suspicion, and the officer may ask for a full search.
How to Handle the Letter from the Rental Company?
The rental company usually sends a letter informing the driver that they have been charged for speeding or any other moving violation. If you have paid the ticket, share the proof (receipt) with the rental company. If the company has already paid the ticket, you are liable to reimburse the amount and any administrative charges.
Most importantly, if you are going to challenge the ticket in a court of law, it is necessary to alert/inform the company about your intentions. The company won’t send you the bill until the court decides.
How to Contest a Speeding/Traffic Ticket if you are pulled over in a Rental Car?
If you believe the ticket has been issued in error, you have the right to challenge/contest it with the issuing authority. The ticket provides the contact information, and many municipalities even allow you to contest a ticket online. If this option is available, use it immediately, as it will save you time. You can also send a mail to the ticket issuing agency.
However, be noted that hiring an attorney and fighting the ticket in court may cost you more than the ticket itself. Besides, if you lose the case, you will end up paying the ticket and covering other costs, including your attorney’s fee.
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