Defending Against a Traffic Ticket
At some point, most people will receive a traffic ticket of some sort. Sometimes it’s easier to just pay a ticket than fight it, but in certain instances—such as innocence—it makes sense to fight it. Below are some tips on what you should do if you get a traffic ticket.
Defending Against the TicketAlthough most traffic tickets are minor and don’t result in jail time, traffic violations can lead to the suspension of your driver’s license and/or higher car insurance rates. The first step to defending a traffic ticket is to not pay it. In almost all jurisdictions, paying the fine is an admission of guilt. Usually, the traffic ticket will explain how to contest the violation, and following these steps is important.
Next, it’s also important to know and understand the law that you are accused of violating. Surprisingly, many police officers don’t know the ins and outs of the traffic laws they enforce, so some quick research might reveal that you did not violate the law of which you’ve been accused.
After following the contest procedures and researching the law, it’s imperative that you show up to court on the day of the assigned hearing. An easy defense to a traffic ticket is when the police officer doesn’t show up in court. You have a constitutional right to confront/question your accuser, so if the officer who issued the traffic citation does not show, the court will generally dismiss the ticket.
Defending Certain TicketsCamera tickets seem impossible to beat; after all, they have video or photographic evidence of you allegedly violating a traffic law. However, courthouses will rarely go through the trouble of bringing the video photograph to court, so if you show up in court on the day of the assigned hearing and that is the case, the court will usually dismiss the ticket.
Similarly, if you receive a traffic ticket for speeding and the ticket is based on the officer’s use of a radar gun, those guns are generally required to be recalibrated every 30-60 days. Accordingly, if you receive such a ticket, you should request the calibration records to ensure that the gun has been timely calibrated; if it has not, the ticket will likely be dismissed.
When You May Need an AttorneyAlthough you won’t always need an attorney to successfully defend a traffic ticket, it makes sense to hire a traffic violations lawyer to help if you have questions about your defense(s), if you’re being charged with a serious traffic violation, and/or if you have a history of traffic offenses. Your attorney should be able to look at the facts of your case, identify your defenses (if any), devise a plan of action moving forward, and explain what you can expect as an outcome.
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