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Most of us are familiar with that sinking feeling you experience when the glow of police lights appears in your rear-view mirror. "I hope they're after someone in front of me," you mutter unselfishly. But nope, they're after you.
Maybe you know exactly why you're being pulled over (oh, is this not an 80-mph zone?), or maybe you're sure this is a case of mistaken identity. Either way, after the officer explains that he watched you make an unsafe lane change, you're eventually going to wonder, "Can I fight it?" The answer is yes, although your odds of success will depend on the circumstances and your preparation.
It's often tough to fight a traffic ticket when it comes down to your word against the officer's. But the more evidence you have, and the more you prepare, the better your chances are for convincing a judge to go easy. It's smart to research the exact traffic law you're accused of breaking. That, and the officer's notes on the ticket, can help guide you in figuring out what to contest.
For example, California's vehicle code reads, in relevant part, "Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction...[a] vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety."
As you consider whether or not to fight your unsafe lane change ticket, consider these ticket-fighting strategies to see if any are applicable to the facts of your situation.
In any case, come prepared with diagrams and eye witness testimony if at all possible. The more evidence you have to explain why your lane change was safe given the conditions, the better.
If you need help contesting an unsafe lane change ticket, consider contacting an attorney with experience fighting traffic law violations.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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