Re: traffic ticket..
Well, in most states if you pay the ticket, it is an asmission of guilt, and you are pleaing no contest. However, if you chose not to pay it and go to court, you have a chance of getting off. The police officer may chose not to show, the court may simply dismiss the case, or say to pay a "donation".
Here in connecticut, we have no point system at all, but tickets remain on record for 3 years if you are found guilty. We can literally at this time get as many tickets as we want and not lose our license (except for more serious infractions, DUI, reckless driving). However, if you get a certain amount of tickets (for 24 and under, 2 tickets), you have to attend "operator retraining course" for $60... (after attending this class, my insurance actually dropped a bit?)
So pretty much, if you are in the states, if the ticket is a lot, you may want to consider fighting it. However, it is usually easier to just pay it and take any consequences. Surprisingly enough, I have had 4 tickets, and my insurance rate has never gone up. But if you have a more strict insurance company, you may not be so lucky.