There are millions of traffic tickets issued each year, possibly as many as fifty million. Those who receive such tickets must face the lawful penalties, or fight the ticket in court, when the conditions warrant it. There are a number of elements to consider when determining whether to fight a ticket in court.
Fight or Pay?
Drivers must determine if it is worthwhile to attempt to fight a traffic ticket in court. That is not always a wise option for everyone. Some of the determining factors include:
- The number of previous traffic violations on their record. The more offenses, the higher the penalties, and the more likely they will be to have their license suspended.
- Their schedule. For those with few violations and busy, well-paying jobs, fighting their first traffic ticket may take too much of their time. It may be worth it to them to merely pay their ticket and put the situation behind them.
If the decision is not that clear-cut, it may be wise to do some research and consult a traffic ticket attorney before reaching a final conclusion. There are a number of elements that may make it easier to dispute a traffic ticket:
- Know the law and the infraction charged. There are times when police officers cite a law incorrectly and that can make a ticket invalid. Pointing that out in court may cause a case to be dismissed.
- Make sure the officer made no other mistakes on the ticket. If they merely wrote down the wrong car color, that is probably not grounds for dismissal. However, if they cited the wrong make of car or the wrong street name where the infraction occurred, those are details that generally make a ticket void.
- If the officer had a poor sight line, the driver may be able to impugn their testimony by pictures and diagrams of the site providing that evidence.
- If the driver can obtain copies of the manuals and maintenance instructions for any equipment used, as well as any reports of how those instructions were followed, they may find they were not properly maintained, and therefore, unreliable.
- Other eyewitness testimony or explanations of blocked roadways, legal activities (such as upcoming turns), or problems with the weather, roadway, or signage may provide a solid defense.
If none of these conditions apply, the only hope for some drivers is that the arresting officer does not appear in court. That is grounds for dismissal; however, no one can count on that. Those who are willing to take a chance on that occurring may want to have their day in court.
Getting Legal Help for Deciding When to Dispute a Ticket in Court
The best way to determine if it is worth taking a case to court or not is through consulting an experienced traffic ticket lawyer. They can assess the conditions surrounding the ticket and the evidence for a defense. If there is a way to avoid conviction, they will stand with a defendant and guide them through the traffic court process in hopes of getting a dismissal, or at least a reduction, of all charges.