How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Kentucky
Traffic tickets can be intimidating and more than a little confusing. You're stopped by a law enforcement official. He talks to you, asks you if you knew what you were doing wrong, and listens to any explanation you might have to offer. Then he gives you a cryptic ticket with a violation code and some brief instructions on what to do next and what it might cost you. Knowing what to do in this situation isn't as straightforward as it may appear.
First of all, police officers are perfectly entitled to use their judgment on whether or not to write you the ticket - even after they've stopped you. So you don't have to assume your own guilt, and you don't have to admit to what you were doing. That's why they ask you if you knew, and if you say too much it can come back to haunt you later in court. A little knowledge can go a long way towards saving you time, money, and points on your driving record.
Notify the Court
Paying the traffic ticket means pleading guilty by default. That means all the associated penalties - including points - accrue on your record. The state of Kentucky allows you to take a traffic school course in order to avoid those points, but you are required to notify the court that you'd like to exercise that option.
You'll also want to be sure you can appear on the date specified on the ticket. If you're contesting the ticket, you'll have to schedule that too. Consult the court's website to do so.
Hire a Traffic Ticket Attorney
If you're pleading not guilty, the first thing you'll want to do is hire a traffic ticket attorney. Their fees are proportional to the case, and at the very least they can advise you on the proper course of action. The ins and outs of criminal law are quite complex, even on the level of traffic violations, and the best way to know your rights is to make sure you employ a professional who knows them better.
Prepare Your Case
Careful preparation will present you in the best light before a judge, and it can make the difference for a sympathetic hearing. Judges are busy and they don't like to have their time wasted, so be ready with all the documentation you need.
Witnesses are likely the most important element of your defense, so reach out to anyone on the scene who can support your case. The judge will consider their testimony and weigh it against the testimony of the officer who issued the citation.
Make a clear, honest, concise case for your innocence, or for other contextual considerations you feel are relevant. Judges are often sympathetic to those who commit minor infractions and go out of their way to prove their innocence. If you can't afford the ticket, or if you feel it was unjust, you will get a fair hearing. If you're lucky, your ticket will be dismissed and you'll walk out of the courtroom free of points and fines. It'll make it all seem worth it.