Citation for Running a Stop Sign: Options in Court

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We call it many things, such as "failure to stop," "sliding stop," or "rolling through the stop sign," but the bottom line is that if you ran a stop sign and received a citation, you may have good reason to challenge the ticket in court, thus saving you points on your license and an increase in insurance premiums.

There are some good general tips that can help you challenge a traffic ticket of any sort such as:

  1. Challenge both the officer's conclusion regarding whether or not your ran the stop sign and his observations. You can always argue that your actions were perfectly safe and responsible considering the prevailing weather conditions and traffic. It may come down to who the judge believes, and if you can convince him that you actually did come to the prescribed stop at the sign, however from the officer's vantage point it was difficult to see this, you may be able to persuade the judge you are telling the truth, and that the officer was mistaken.
  2. Make sure you bring thorough documentation to court such as a clear, easy to understand diagram showing where your vehicle was and where the officer's car was in relation to to the stop sign. Take photographs of the intersection and stop sign, and note the weather and traffic conditions at the time of your traffic stop.
  3. Convince the judge that although you may have "rolled through" the stop sign, it was an honest and reasonable error, and you will always pay close attention to the sign in the future. You could also offer that perhaps a tree branch was in the way and you just didn't see the stop sign until you were partially through it. If the stop sign is relatively new, you can claim you were unaware of its existence, and this could work as well. Sometimes this is enough to convince the judge to find you made a "mistake of fact," and dismiss your ticket. 

Hire an Attorney

In the interest of keeping your driving record pristine, it could be well worth your time and money to hire an experienced attorney to challenge your stop sign ticket and help you win your case in court. The attorney will be fully aware of the particular laws and rules in the jurisdiction where you received the ticket and may be able to get the case dismissed completely. 

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