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It's bound to happen to you at some point in your driving career. You are driving down the road and maybe you're not paying attention to your speed & the next thing you know you are being pulled over and given a ticket.
It can be frustrating, to say the least, but instead of just paying the ticket and taking whatever insurance increases and points on your license that occur, there may be something you can do to fight the ticket and lessen the negative impact it can have on your insurance premiums.
In this article, we're going to give you some valuable information on what to do if you have a ticket: we're going to teach you how to fight a traffic ticket. Although going to court may seem like a scary thing, if you know what to expect and what to say, there is a good chance of getting the charges and points reduced, or even getting the ticket dismissed altogether. It is worth the time and energy to try.
Good Manners Make a Big Difference
Remember to keep your calm and be respectful at all times, both during the traffic stop and during the hearing. Having good manners applies even if you honestly feel you received the ticket in error. Going into court ranting and insulting the officer will not score you any good will with the judge, nor will it result in a reduction or dismissal.
Making sure you have everything you need is very important. The more information you have the better you can present your case to the judge or attorney. You will be asked questions by the prosecutor, so having all the information you need organized and at your fingertips will make things go much smoother. When gathering your information it is a good idea to include the following:
- Time of day and date the ticket occurred
- The weather conditions when the ticket was issued
- Your insurance and registration
- Radar readings if applicable
- Your copy of the ticket
- The officer's demeanor
- What you were wearing the day of the ticket (this may seem odd but if the prosecutor asks, you will be ready. You never know what they will ask)
Make a Good Impression
During your time in front of the judge, remain calm, respectful, and rational. Do not lie or embellish the details of the ticket or what you were doing leading up to the ticket. Make sure you speak clearly and pleasantly and do not accuse the officer of wrongdoing. If you feel the ticket was received in error, calmly and respectfully explain why. Answer all of the prosecutor's questions honestly. How you are dressed when you go into court is also very important and be mindful of your body language. Dress as if you were going to a job interview.
Whatever the Outcome, Remain Respectful
Once the case has been presented, the judge will make a ruling. In some cases, the ticket will be dismissed entirely, especially if the officer has not shown up. Other judges might reduce the charges or points that come with the ticket. Whatever ruling he or she gives, remain respectful and thank the judge for their time. Behaving in a rude manner after the fact doesn't change anything and just makes you look bad.
If you want to up your chances of the officer not showing up for the hearing, ask for a continuance on the hearing rather than going to court on the date listed. You will need to request this continuance from the DA of your area, in writing. Just make sure that if you get a continuance you don't forget the new date.
We hope we've helped you work through the process of fighting a traffic ticket. No matter what your decision is, you should do two things any time you get a traffic ticket: