Traffic tickets are one of the most common offenses given by officers. In fact, according to an article from USA Today, over 125,000 people receive a traffic violation in the United States daily. Since traffic offenses happen so often, most people just pay the fine and go on their way. What they don’t know, is that paying the violation fine is technically an admission of guilt in a court-of-law. Multiple violations can even lead to license suspension.
If one does decide to contest their traffic tickets, they can do so by appearing in front of court on the date and location specified on the violation receipt. Most of the time, by attending your trial at court, one might have a reduced fine or even acquitted by the judge.
Deciding to go to court instead of paying the expensive traffic fine? Check out these 5 tips.
1. Hire a Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer is the best thing you can do for your case. You may think traffic court cases are simple. The truth is, they can get very complicated. Unexpected things happen often, therefore, it is wise to hire an attorney with experience to assist in contesting your traffic ticket.Hiring a traffic attorney is probably not as expensive as you think and it is worth it to have the experience necessary to fight your ticket. With a lawyer, you will be much more likely to have your fine and associated consequences reduced or dismissed completely.
2. Be Prepared
During the trial, the government will try to prove that you committed a traffic offense. The evidence they will have is usually either the officer’s testimony or physical evidence such as a red light video.
You will have the opportunity to fight this and present your own evidence in court. Be prepared to testify or bring photos or videos to support your claim. You, or preferably your lawyer who has the necessary experience, can also cross-examine the officer to possibly find a weakness in their case.
“If there’s a reason you think you shouldn’t have the ticket – you didn’t actually commit the violation, or the equipment used was faulty – bring any proof that you have to support that to court. Keep everything in an organized form, such as a file folder. Try to remember even seemingly unimportant details, such as what you wore that day. The prosecution will sometimes ask for all kinds of strange details, and the more information you have, the more easily you can prove that you’re in the right,” The USA Classifieds said.
3. Be Respectful
Respect is a crucial part of your case. Not only do you need to be respectful to the judge, but you also need to be respectful to the receptionist and security officer. Word can travel, especially in small courts, on how you have treated every employee.
You want to make a good impression on the judge for the sake of your case. You are asking them to listen to your side and they will be more inclined to do so if you are courteous and respectful.
4. Dress Appropriately
It is better to be overdressed than under-dressed.
While a suit may not be completely necessary, business casual attire is. The clothing you wear will impact the judge’s impression of you. A well-dressed person will be taken more seriously and be more likely than a poorly dressed person to have a reduced fine or no fine at all.
According to the USA Classifieds, “Court is a formal affair, and judges want to be shown respect. Wearing your best business attire makes it more likely that they will give your case the right kind of attention.”
5. Be on Time
Just like how the way you dress can impact the verdict, tardiness can do the same. To help you be on time if you aren’t the most punctual person, remember that early is on time, and on time is late.
However, a good way to avoid being late is to hire a lawyer. In most cases, they can attend court on your behalf. This is also especially helpful if you live interstate, have work, children or other important things you can’t or don't want to miss.
What to Expect
Appearing in front of a jury and a judge court can be overwhelming. Being fully prepared can help your case exponentially. The date, time and location of your appearance can be found on the traffic citation given to you by the officer that pulled you over.
Having a lawyer that understands courtroom jargon and knows how to fight for your case is necessary for absolving the offense from your driving record. Oftentimes, a lawyer is the only one involved in conversation with the judge. Knowing this should give you confidence when in the courtroom.
Hiring a lawyer can save you time from having to attend driving school, in some cases the lawyer can attend court on your behalf and your attendance can be waived. A lawyer can save you money by helping reduce your citation fine with the court and stop your insurance rates from skyrocketing by absolving the violation from your record entirely.
At Barfoot and Schoettker, we assist a lot of drivers in contesting their traffic tickets. Contact us today at (334) 834-3444 for legal help with traffic tickets or other legal matters.