See You in the Courtroom: Why You Should Fight Traffic Tickets
Speeding tickets. We’ve all received them, even in some cases when we believe that there was no speeding violation. People often feel that fighting a speeding ticket is a waste of their time and that it is easier and more convenient to simply pay the fine and take the points on their driver’s license.
From a legal perspective, we believe that going to court to fight a speeding ticket can be viable option, as long as the accused goes in with a game plan. You don’t need to be an attorney to understand the legalities of a speeding case, and, when you make the effort to show up to court, it can often pay off.
There are plenty of reasons to go to court, particularly if the accused sincerely believes, or knows, that they were not speeding. Appearing in court allows you to establish respect between yourself and the presiding judge, paving the path for greater chance of a reduced or dropped ticket.
It is always possible that by showing up in court and pleading your case, the judge will reduce your ticket. Going to court shows a willingness to speak about the issue at hand and advocate for yourself and your situation.
Showing up in court could increase your chances of the presiding judge removing or reducing the point(s) that have been added to the accused offender’s license. Having points on your driver’s license can cause your auto insurance premiums to go up and it can take years to get the rate reduced to what it was before the points. Getting those points off your license is imperative in some cases. Although a penalty may still be issued, removed points are worth the time spent.
Another reason to go to court is that it shows your respect for the legal system. If you are present and speak with the judge, in an appropriate manner, you are creating rapport and a positive interaction with the judge, which will speak to your character and may sway the judge to rule in your favor.
If you take the time to show up to a court date, but the officer that charged you does not, you increase your chances of having your ticket dropped or reduced as no witness will be present to negate your claims.
Active vs Passive
Actively defending yourself is always a better option than passively taking a penalty. Whether you are trying to reduce or remove points that will affect your insurance premiums or you are there to show respect to the law, there is always a benefit to showing up in court.
Fighting a Traffic Ticket
Before you decide to fight a traffic ticket (whether by yourself or with the help of an attorney), answer these questions:
- Do you truly believe you have legal proof to contest the ticket and, if so, can you properly present that proof if you try to contest the ticket on your own?
- Will paying the fine (and/or dealing with other penalties such as attending traffic school) cause less stress than a court case?
- Will the ticket accumulate points on your driver’s license?
- If so, how close will that push you to license suspension or other consequences?
- Can the ticket lead to an increase in your car insurance rate?
- Do you have thetime to devote to making a court appearance (or maybe multiple appearances), even if you hire a lawyer?
- Are you facing jail time?
- This is often the case in serious violations such as DUI/DWI.
These questions—and your answers—are crucial to your personal situation and how you decide to move forward.
Hiring a Traffic Ticket Lawyer
Should you decide to contest your ticket, understand you can opt to fight the ticket without a traffic lawyer; however, entering the court with a lawyer on your side is extremely beneficial. Not only are these lawyers well versed in your area’s traffic and vehicle code, but many of them are also familiar with the police officers and judges who handle such cases.
Note that you shouldn’t hire the first traffic lawyer you run across; there are many factors to consider when hiring an attorney, and weighing these factors against your personal situation can be crucial to your outcome.
While there are no guarantees, showing up to court to fight a speeding ticket is more effective than passively sitting back and paying the fine. Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC, is here to guide you through complex legal proceedings. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.