Unsafe Lane Change: Challenging a Ticket

Everyone makes mistakes some time when driving and most of the time, people get lucky- nobody is injured and no property is damaged when the mistakes are made and you just have to vow to be a bit more careful the next time. Sometimes, though, when you make a mistake you might end up with a ticket – and if you believe there were extenuating circumstances for why you did what you did, or if you believe the ticket is flat-out in error, you might be wondering how to challenge it in court. If, for example, you made an unsafe lane change and were ticketed, you may wish to explore your options for contesting the ticket.

Changing Lanes the Wrong Way

Unsafe lane change traffic tickets are fairly common:

  • The term can refer to everything from changing lanes without using a signal to changing too quickly, swerving between cars, maneuvering without looking, or a variety of other circumstances.
  • Lane changes that aren’t done correctly are a major cause of accidents that can sometimes be severe, particularly on the interstate, so patrol officers tend to take this violation quite seriously.

In other words, should you end up with a ticket for an unsafe lane change, the fine attached is probably going to be pretty hefty.

Getting Your Day in Court

So what you do if you feel you got the ticket in error, for whatever reason? First of all, you should keep in mind that challenging a traffic ticket can be a pretty difficult thing to do. It isn’t always fair, but with so many people wanting to get out of their violations, most courts will give the patrol officer the benefit  of the doubt in a “he said/ she said” situation where there is no proof of what actually happened.

If you want to challenge your ticket, then, the one thing you’ll need to provide is proof. This is the same whether you believe the officer made a mistake or whether you believe you did, in fact, commit the error, but you had a legitimate reason for doing so. If, for example, there was an object in the road that caused you to make the lane change as an emergency decision, is there any way you can prove this? Do you have witnesses who saw the object as well?

You can probably already see that proving your case is going to be difficult. On the other hand, if you have a clean driving record, if you were respectful and cooperative at the time of the ticketing (this is key), and if you remain respectful and have a logical, complete explanation for what happened, you may be able to successfully clear the ticket from your record. It will largely depend on how you conduct yourself, what facts are on your side, and how well the judge is able to understand your side of the story.

You should keep in mind that if you know for a fact you legitimately deserved the ticket, attempting to fight it is really a waste of your time and resources. Even people who were, in fact, ticketed unfairly have a difficult time proving it in court; it’s just the nature of the beast. If you made the mistake, the chances of getting out of it with a challenge in court are slim, and your best bet is just to pay up and avoid making the same mistake again.

Getting Help

When challenging a ticket for an unsafe lane change, it is a good idea to get legal help. A qualified attorney can assist you in building a defense against the ticket and can maximize your chances of getting the ticket thrown out.

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