Going to Traffic Court: Getting Out of a Ticket

When going to traffic court, a driver should prepare a viable defense beforehand. While simply showing up to the hearing and hoping a law enforcement officer does not arrive to testify has worked in a limited number of cases, the reality is that with a little more effort, a driver's chances of getting out of a traffic ticket increase exponentially. The following article outlines some legal defenses to traffic tickets in general.

The Next Step in Simply Showing Up to Dispute a Ticket

In most traffic violations situations, conviction for the offense hinges on law enforcement officer testimony. Without this testimony, in most cases, a driver's citation will be dismissed, if he or she elects to dispute the matter. As mentioned above, this is the least affirmative and involved defense, but a few simple tactics may increase the likelihood of an officer not appearing. Changing courts dates as many times as possible, changing venues of court dates to locations furthest away from the citing officer's station, and scheduling court dates immediately before or after holidays are all tactics that may increase the chances of an officer not showing up to court.

Real Traffic Ticket Defense Methods

Aside from the amateurish scheduling antics, a driver can prepare a viable defense by using the following methods in most traffic ticket cases:

  • As mentioned above, without officer testimony, a case is often dismissed. For drivers, challenging the police officer's subjective conclusions and testimony about an event is critical. Many traffic citations include wording such as "unsafe", "hazardous", or "reckless". In short, the officer makes a subjective conclusion about what is unsafe, reckless, excessive, or hazardous. As a driver, bringing forth evidence contradicting the officer's subjective conclusions may play a role in a getting out of the ticket.
  • Aside from subjective conclusions, challenging the objectively stated notes from an officer is also possible. Typically, a driver can return to the scene of the citation to document their arguments. In many cases, the word of law enforcement is held higher than any driver's, but with sufficient evidence, a driver will likely be able to prevail in a case, if he or she can disprove one or more of the citing officer's claims.
  • Knowing the specific statute or law a driver is accused of violating is integral to any viable defense. The wording of these laws or statutes often break a given violation down into distinct and separate elements, which if all present at the same time, constitute a violation of the traffic law. By scrutinizing these elements, and preparing evidence contradicting any law enforcement testimony regarding the existence of these elements, a driver has a high chance of prevailing.

Getting Legal Help with Getting Out of A Traffic Ticket

In practice, the most reliable and effective manner of disputing a traffic ticket will be through the use of a traffic violations lawyer. In reality, most traffic ticket cases present numerous opportunities for disputing the citation, but will require the insight of a lawyer to discern these issues and promote the inaccuracies as grounds for dismissal in traffic court.

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