In America, over 100,000 traffic tickets are issued every day. Tickets can be received for speeding, causing an accident, running a stop sign, and so much more. The ramifications of a ticket are that you have to pay a fine, and possibly go to court. But is going to court really necessary? That depends on the ticket.
What is a Violation Ticket?
A Violation ticket is a ticket that is handed out for minor infractions. Examples of these are: running a stop sign, speeding, and texting and driving. For these tickets, all you are required to do is pay a fine. However, paying the fine is admitting guilt. If you want to fight the ticket, you will need to go to traffic court. You will also need to do this up to 30 days after the incident, otherwise you will have to pay the full fine. The key is to know exactly why the ticket was issuedand provide as many details as possible disputing the fact. Stick to facts and figures. A judge is more likely to let you off if you prove why the issuer was wrong, rather than making excuses. They won’t care if you’ve had a bad day, or if the cop was mean. Know the traffic laws and prove why you are right through them. You may also hire a lawyer to represent you.
What is a Summons/ Appearance Notice?
The other possible ticket that can be issued is an appearance/ summons notice. This ticket is for more serious incidents, like fleeing a hit and run. These tickets require you come to court. The ticket will note the time of the court date, in which you are obligated to appear. If you or your representation fail to appear in court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Make sure to come to court with a great lawyer. They are recommended for cases likes these and are likely to be a huge asset for you. These tickets can also be disputed. You should follow the same guidelines for disputing a violation ticket. Make sure you have a lawyer you can trust when appearing in court.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
An attorney is highly beneficial asset in traffic cases, but they may not be worth the cost for a simple violation ticket. However, hiring an attorney now may save you money on insurance. Your insurer is sure to increase the cost of insurance following a ticket, so investing in a lawyer may be worth it. They will also appear in court for you, so you don’t have to take off work. This is possible for both violation tickets and summons/ appearance notices. Not having to take time off of work to go to court is a huge asset in itself.
What should I Expect from Traffic Court?
First, you will have to attend an arraignment. The judge will call those present alphabetically and hear them plead guilty or not guilty. Those who plead not guilty—which should be most, because you don’t need to go to court to plead guilty— will be given a date and time for their traffic trail. At that trial, the judge will call the you or your attorney and the officer who issued the ticket. If the officer does not appear, the judge often dismisses the ticket. If the officer does appear, the trial will take place. The officer will present his case first and share any evidence that puts you at fault. Then, the defendant (you) or the defendant’s attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine the officer. Finally, the defendant will present evidence and the judge will decide on a verdict. If the judge decides on a guilty verdict, the defendant will likely only have to pay a fine. In some cases, the judge even reduces the cost. If not guilty, great! The ticket will not go on your traffic record and you won’t have to pay a fine.
What Happens in a Summons Notice Court Case?
A summons notice court case is very similar to a traffic violation. The big difference is that a plaintiff will definitely be there, and that the court time and date is decided for you. There is no arraignment in a summons notice court case. However, this is one case in which you should definitely have a lawyer. It is much harder to prove innocence on your own in a summons notice case.
This is simply an outline on traffic tickets, and what your options are when going to court. Make sure you consult a lawyer before court. Regardless of if you hire a lawyer, take the time to discuss your options with one. It will benefit you in court.