How to Fight a Ticket
Most people find it easier to just pay a traffic ticket than to try to fight it. This is especially true if the ticket is for a minor traffic violation. However, there are times when the time and energy to fight a ticket is worth it. For example, if the traffic ticket would lead to too many points on your driver's license or higher insurance premiums, it may be worth fighting the ticket. FindLaw's How to Fight a Ticket section provides information about how to decide if fighting a ticket is a good idea and strategies for fighting ticket.
Getting the Traffic Ticket Dismissed
First of all, it's usually best to not pay the ticket if you have decided to try to get it dismissed. Although it's not true in all states, a lot of times paying the ticket is an admission of guilt. Of course, don't just ignore the ticket - find out how you can get your day in court to fight the ticket.
The easiest way to have a traffic ticket dismissed is when the police officer doesn't show up to. Since everyone has a constitutional right to question their accuser, when an officer doesn't show up, it usually results in an automatic dismissal of the ticket. There are a couple actions you can take to increase your chances of getting a no show. One is to postpone the court date because usually the officer schedules all of his or her court dates for one day. Another way to increase your chances for a no show is to pick a date closer to the holidays or summer vacation because the officer might be on vacation.
Another way to have a ticket dismissed or reduced is to attend traffic school. This is not always an option, and usually you can only attend traffic school once a year, but it can still be a good option because it's easier than going to court to fight the ticket. Plus, you can usually attend traffic school from the comfort of your own home. The best way to find out if traffic school is an option for you is to research the laws in your state.
Strategies for Fighting a Traffic Ticket
If the officer shows up and traffic school is not an option, there are some strategies you can employ that have helped others in the past. One strategy is to dispute the police officer's personal opinion because you might be able to challenge the officer's judgment. Another strategy is to dispute the police officer's presentation of evidence by presenting eyewitness statements from others that can confirm your story, using diagrams to show what happened, and presenting photos of the scene of the alleged traffic violation. You can also present evidence that the traffic violation was a mistake of fact, is a mistake that the driver made about the situation. For example, making an illegal right turn because the no right turn sign had been blown over by wind would be a mistake of fact. Finally, you can argue that your driving was justified or that the way you were driving was necessary to prevent harm. These strategies are outlined in more detail in the section titled 5 Ways to Effectively Fight Traffic Tickets.
Hiring an Attorney
While a traffic ticket is technically a criminal violation, most states have a separate court to deal with traffic violations. These courts typically have fewer procedures and people can usually handle the process without an attorney. But, if you have questions about your ticket or would like to learn about your legal options, you might would to consult with a traffic ticket attorney.
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