Traffic Court Tips: 10 Things to Know When Disputing a Traffic Violation
Let’s be honest, no one leaves the house thinking they will be pulled over by police and given a traffic citation. When this happens, you can accept responsibility and pay the fine. Or you can opt to challenge the citation in court.
The opportunity to challenge a ticket should not be taken lightly. You do not want to go in unprepared without good traffic court tips.
Challenging a citation is an option many people choose rather than admit guilt. Traffic tickets can cost you more money in the long run if you get points against your license. They can also lead to culpability if issued as the result of a traffic accident.
Have you been cited and believe the police officer got it wrong? Keep reading for 10 tips on how to get out of a ticket in court.
1. Understand What the Citation Is for
When you’re involved in a traffic stop it is easy to get emotional or even upset, especially if you believe you haven’t broken the law. Whenever you get a citation, remain calm and accept the ticket.
Once you are away from the situation carefully go over the citation to understand what the officer cited you for doing. If you still believe you were in the right, you’ll want to research how to get out of a ticket in court.
2. Read the Instructions for Disputing a Citation
The instructions on the traffic citation will explain what to do if you plan to challenge the ticket. In all jurisdictions, there is an allotted amount of town in which you can contact the courts to dispute the traffic violation.
Go to the court’s website in the county the ticket was issued. Locate the section dealing with traffic violations to see if there are additional steps. Some courts have online features that allow you to enter a not guilty plea and request a court hearing.
3. Hiring a Lawyer Isn’t Always Needed to Get Traffic Court Tips
It is not necessary to hire a lawyer to challenge a simple traffic violation. However, where a traffic accident or driving under the influence charge is involved, you should seek legal counsel.
In other instances, a person may want to have an attorney if this is not the first infraction for something like running a red light or speeding.
Depending on where you live, the fine for certain infractions results in increased penalties. Graduated penalties for repeat offenders can ultimately lead to license suspension.
4. You May Incur Additional Costs
Understand that challenging a traffic citation can cost you more money than simply paying the ticket. The benefits of knowing how to get out of a ticket in court can sometimes outweigh the added expense.
Having a clean driving record is important if your job requires you to operate a company vehicle. As mentioned earlier, insurance rates can go up due to points that are issued based on the traffic infraction. Tickets on your record can also impede your ability to volunteer in carpools or drive the church van.
Also understand that if you challenge a ticket and lose your case, you will be required to pay the ticket, plus court costs.
5. Show up for Court on Time
The last thing you want to do is schedule a court hearing and not show up. This will result in an automatic default leaving you financially responsible for the ticket and additional costs.
Some jurisdictions may also apply any applicable late fees that would have occurred between the date the ticket was issued and the date of the hearing.
There are instances where a failure to appear in court can result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest. Police won’t come looking for you, but if you are ever stopped by police, they can take you in.
6. Bring Witnesses
Sometimes a driver is lucky enough to have witnesses to a traffic stop. If they have valuable information that can lead to the ticket being voided, bring them to court with you.
In cases where the witness is someone known to you that was in the vehicle, you may not need to have a subpoena. If the witness is someone unknown to you, a subpoena is recommended to remind and encourage them to appear.
7. Retrieve Visual Evidence
Traffic cameras are everywhere. Review the access laws in your area to learn how to gain footage for evidence. When trying to beat a speeding ticket or red light camera infraction, there are records you can obtain from the ticketing law enforcement agency.
Another common form of visual evidence is your or a passenger’s smartphone. More and more, people are recording their interactions with law enforcement officers.
8. Dress Appropriately
When appearing in court dress appropriately. Professional attire is suggested but not required. Sometimes people are judged by their looks so come presentable.
Stay away from t-shirts and tattered jeans. Shorts, crop tops and flip flops are another no-no.
9. Do Not Be Disrespectful to Court Officials
Court officials are there to maintain the courtroom so be respectful and follow their instructions. The judge or magistrate deserves the utmost respect because it is their courtroom. Plus, you want that person to be objective when hearing your side of the story.
Follow these traffic court tips and the court proceedings will go smoother and you will be heard.
10. Tell the Truth
No matter what, tell the truth. Embellishing on what happened to lead to the traffic citation will not win a judgment in your favor. Judges are very astute individuals.
Also, the ticketing officer will be there with their own evidence. Remember, police have body cams.
Traffic Tickets Aren’t Fun
Never enter into a legal proceeding without being fully prepared. These traffic court tips can help prepare you for your day in court but should not be considered as legal advice.
If you are ready to contest a traffic citation and want to consult with an attorney, we’re here to help. Click here and one of our lawyers will be in touch.