But don't worry: We're here to help. We're Traffic Ticket Legal and have helped more than 1.5 million people fight their traffic tickets without going to court. If this sounds like you, let us walk you step-by-step through the process of fighting a traffic ticket.
Traffic Ticket Law refers to the restrictions on driving placed on vehicle operators. This aims to prevent unsafe driving, facilitate time and space efficiency on the roads, and raise revenue for local government bodies. Agencies of all levels of government, including state police authorities and county sheriffs, enforce traffic laws within their jurisdictions.
Common infractions and penalties due to safety negligence.
Violations are either moving or non-moving. Moving violations, as the name suggests, are traffic tickets issued for actions (or omissions) by the driver while the vehicle is in motion. Examples include speeding, failure to stop at a traffic signal, and drunk driving.
Non-moving violations generally refer to tickets for incomplete vehicle maintenance that prevent vehicle inspection, registration, or operation (e.g., broken or missing lights). Tickets for improper parking (e.g., in a no-parking zone or in front of a fire hydrant) or broken or missing equipment (e.g., license plate) may also fall into this category.
Driving violations vary in severity from a small fine to significant jail time. The amount of the fine and the jail time or possible probation can include the following: verbal warning, equipment ticket, payment, court appearance, probation, suspended license, or jail time.
There are several consequences to having unpaid traffic tickets. The relevant penalties can range from a small fine to significant criminal penalties depending on the traffic ticket you receive. These penalties can also vary depending on the jurisdiction where the traffic ticket was issued.
It may not feel hot and fuzzy, but there is a good deal that an experienced criminal defense attorney can achieve on behalf of his unfortunate client accused of violating traffic laws. Especially for those charged with violating traffic laws that carry significant fines or jail sentences, deciding whether to admit fault or contest the charges is not an "all or nothing" proposition.
Prosecutors face heavy demands on their time and are often willing to reduce charges or agree to a lenient sentence to resolve a case quickly. A competent attorney with a track record of success in this area can present a solid case of mitigation and persuade the prosecutor to agree to the most beneficial within the framework of the law.
To win in a negotiation, you must understand what the other party wants and how to achieve it. In traffic tickets, this means understanding your leverage (also known as bargaining power) and what you can offer the prosecutor in exchange for favorable treatment. In the context of traffic tickets, leverage refers to bargaining power. And what is it that a driver can offer to a prosecuting attorney in exchange for favorable treatment?
Drivers can agree to waive their right to a trial and plead guilty or "no contest." Prosecutors are always interested in avoiding problems because it conserves the resources of their staff and law enforcement.
It is critical to the terms of a plea bargain before you give up your right to a trial. Once a guilty or no contest plea is entered, a driver's leverage is gone. While you might try to contact a prosecutor directly, it is wise to hire a defense attorney for this purpose as well.
Fighting a Traffic Ticket in Court
In some jurisdictions, the judge's decision may be appealed to the courts' review board or higher courts. If a new trial is requested, the new test will be held in a different court. Although most traffic court trials are simple and do not require the jurors to gather much information, some trials can become quite complex. Personal injury cases and wrongful death suits are heard in specialized courts.
A trial proceeds when both parties to the case are present, which can occur upon the request of the prosecutor and the defense.
The prosecutor is required to introduce evidence, while the defense attorney may cross-examine witnesses and, generally, submit proof of their own, although, in some jurisdictions, this right is restricted.
If the driver is unwilling to accept the prosecutor's office's settlement terms or in situations where the driver has been falsely accused, the prosecutor will insist on a trial. Depending on the jurisdiction, speeding tickets and other relatively minor infractions can be adjudicated by a judge, while a jury may hear DUI, reckless driving, and other such cases. Most trials are concluded within one day.
Both sides can testify for witnesses and exhibits such as photographs and accident reports.
No matter how skeptical your client may be about the motives of the police officer who issued the citation, the goal of the trial strategy is to cast doubt on the prosecution's case and present an alternative explanation for how and why the driver was mistakenly pulled over and issued a citation.
Even if you only get a traffic ticket for a minor violation, it can have severe implications if you are a driver who relies on their vehicle for your job, has a strict budget, or even has points on your license already. Large insurance companies frequently increase insurance rates after drivers receive tickets, which might mean you end up with an even bigger bill at the end of the month.
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