When you get a traffic ticket for speeding, the officer asks you to sign the ticket. This doesn’t mean you’re guilty or not, it just means that you received the ticket. Then, the officer may tell you that you have to appear in court. While this is technically true, there are other options. You can choose to pay the ticket before the court date, or you can go to court to fight the ticket. What steps you should take depend on the situation, your traffic record and whether you even have a case.
Option 1 – Paying the Ticket
If this is your first ticket, you may simply want to pay the ticket and avoid the headache. In some cases, you may be able to attend traffic school and keep the ticket off your record. The important thing to note is the deadlines. A ticket won’t go away. If you miss the deadline to deal with your ticket, the penalties may increase. Your license could even be suspended. If you decide to pay the ticket instead of fighting it, just send the money to the court and keep going.
Option 2 – Fighting the Ticket
If you have points on your driving record, you may want to fight the ticket. You’ll need to find a viable defense. For example, in the case of a speeding ticket, you may find that your state allows you to go a few miles over the limit if conditions are safe to do so. Maybe the sign was obscured. Or your defense could be that the radar gun wasn’t used properly. Some people even rely on the officer not showing up in court, but you want a more actionable defense in case the officer does show up in court.
Although you don’t need a lawyer for traffic court, one can certainly help you find a reasonable defense that could get the ticket discharged without having to pay. Keep in mind that you can’t use a sympathetic story or argue that the officer “picked on you.” A traffic attorney can help you find a legal defense to demonstrate that you shouldn’t have gotten the ticket.
Every case is different, so you have to decide whether to fight a ticket or not. Technically, you don’t have to go to court when you get a ticket, but for serious infractions, it can benefit your wallet and driving record by fighting the ticket in court. Talk to a traffic court attorney for the best steps to take for your case. Contact an attorney, like Criminal Lawyer Civic Center, San Francisco, CA, today for more information.
Thank you to the Hallinan Law Firm for their insight into criminal law cases.