How to Fight a Traffic Ticket

All to often people simply pay their traffic tickets, even if they don't feel as though they deserved to be ticketed in the first place. In part, this is because it is the path of least resistance, but it is also due to the fact most people aren't aware of their options. A traffic ticket doesn't just cost you money in fines, it can also lead to increased insurance rates. If you have a ticket that you don't think you deserve, you have options.

Take the court date

When you receive your ticket, it will likely have a few options printed on it. Most will have to do with the different ways you can pay the ticket or instructions for setting up payments. The other options will pertain to court dates—this is the info you need if you plan to fight the ticket. Depending on your locality, you may need to call a phone number or visit a website to schedule a court date. In some instances, the ticket will have an optional court date written on it or you can call a number to receive a court date. Some traffic offenses may even require a court date before the fine is decided upon, making it even more important to read the ticket.

Hire a lawyer

Traffic court may seem like no big deal, especially if you are dealing with a small offense with a relatively minimal fine. Yet, one misstep can increase the amount of your fine or make it difficult to win your case. A traffic ticket lawyer knows the ends and outs of the law in your jurisdiction, which means they are better able to help you craft a defense that is more likely to work. They also tend to have an understanding about how the different traffic judges in your area tend to work, so they can tailor your defense to match the judge overseeing the court date.

Choose a tactic

You can plead guilty or not guilty. If you know you are guilty and have little to prove otherwise, then pleading guilty to the offense is likely your best court of action. The goal, in this case, is to lower the fine and other repercussions. Sometimes a judge will lower the fine as well as reduce the severity of the charge, which can result in fewer points lost on your license and less of a bump in your insurance premiums. You can also try to have the entire ticket and fine waived in lieu of taking a traffic safety course. If you opt to plead not guilty, you will need your lawyer to help you prove your claim.