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3 Tips For Traffic Court

So you did your best to get out of a violation, but your charm and pleading didn't work. Don’t lose hope, tickets can be dismissed in court. There are several things you can do to improve your odds.

1. Request An Informal Meeting

This may sound crazy, but calling the officer and asking to meet to talk about the fine may work. You help pay the officer's salary, so don’t be afraid to ask to speak with him or her at a convenient time. Be sure to call during work hours at the police department phone number. (That's probably the only number you have, but if you have a cell number from a business card, you don't want to call late.)

If the officer grants your request, be prepared to justify why you should be let off the hook.

Depending on the violation, there are reasons you could be excused from breaking a traffic law. Maybe you crossed the double yellow line to avoid hitting an animal. Or you pulled over on the freeway because your automobile started making loud knocking noises.

Never say you didn't know what the speed limit was. This never works and it is your responsibility to know the speed limit and other traffic laws. 

Help the officer relate to you as a person. Be as respectful as possible. If this is your first offense, ask if you can go to traffic school to avoid having the violation put on your driving record. Let them know you are aware you made a mistake and that you are determined to make it up.

2. Delay The Court Appearance

Delaying the court case can be a successful strategy. This is done by calling the court clerk. Chat a bit by asking questions about the process. Once you have some familiarity with the clerk, ask for a continuance (delay). If the clerk agrees, you will have a few more weeks. You can always ask for another delay as you near that date. In a few weeks, ask again.

Don't be a nuisance for anyone at the court. Be polite and courteous. If you can delay your trial, it will be harder for the officer to remember you or the nature of your violation. This will help your chances. In fact, there is a possibility that the officer will not appear in court. In most cases, if this happens the judge dismisses the violation. This is not a guarantee because state laws vary. But the delay tactic is definitely worth a shot.

You will have two court appearances. The first appearance is for entering your plea. Show up on time dressed suitably. There is no need to wear a suit or a formal dress, but look presentable. It couldn’t hurt to come to another trial beforehand to gauge the level of formality. 

Never enter a plea of guilty. When the judge asks for your plea, candidly say, “I plead not guilty, your honor.” You will then be given a court date.

Once you have the court date, you can again use your charisma with the court clerk to try and delay the trial. Say you need time to prepare your defense.

3. Question The Citation

Study the details of the law you are accused of breaking. The state will have to prove that you violated at least one of the elements of the law. If they cannot prove that, the judge must let you off. 

For instance, if you were cited with distracted driving while using an electronic device, the state will have to prove that you really were using the device AND that you were distracted. Challenge them if you don’t think they have the proof.

Motorists can question the legitimacy of the stop. If you were pulled over for illegally crossing the center line, ask if a video exists.

If you have the time and can’t afford to have your car insurance go up, it is worth trying to fight your ticket in court.

Thanks for visiting the I-86 Truck & Auto Repair blog. We want to provide you with the highest quality automotive service in Falconer. You can reach us at 716-665-2501.

Disclaimer: I-86 Truck & Auto Repair does not condone deliberate illegal behavior behind the wheel. But if you believe you were cited unfairly, we wish you good luck in getting your ticket dismissed!