Do You Have to Go to Court For a Traffic Ticket?
If you’ve received a traffic ticket, don’t ignore it. As an attorney, like a traffic ticket lawyer from a law firm like the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, can explain, whether it’s a ticket for speeding or for running a red light, you need to read through the information on your citation. Make a note of the dates, because forgetting to take care of it by the date listed could make it much worse.
You have three basic options to take care of the ticket. You can plead nolo contendere, which means that you don’t agree or deny responsibility of the ticket. You simply agree to accept the consequences. There is little inconvenience to you, but you do have to pay the fine.
Traffic School May Be an Option
In some jurisdictions, you may have the option of attending traffic school to get the ticket taken off your record. If the ticket itself doesn’t give you information on this option, call the jurisdictional court for more information. Some courts allow traffic school on an individual basis, depending on the charge and your record.
You may have to pay for the school itself, but generally, the ticket won’t go on your record. You may also get a discount on your insurance for attending a defensive driving course.
Go to Court to Fight the Ticket
Your other option is to go to court. Your ticket will have a court date listed on which you need to appear. You will need to be prepared with a valid legal reason that you shouldn’t pay the fine.
Don’t think you can use the argument that you were targeted, or that you were speeding because you were late. A valid defense challenges the evidence or the law. For example, you might challenge the reliability of the radar gun’s calibration if you were trying to get out of a speeding ticket.
If you go to traffic court, you will most likely wait your turn to be called before the judge. You will probably stand at a table in front of the judge while the clerk reads the bare facts of the case, i.e. what your ticket was for. The judge will give you a chance to speak. Traffic court is more informal than criminal court, but you do need to be respectful during the procedure. The process does move quickly. There may or may not be a prosecutor. You can make an opening statement or make a motion to dismiss the case on a legal basis.
It can be a good idea to talk to a traffic ticket attorney to help you put together a viable defense before your court date if you plan to fight the ticket. Make an appointment with a traffic ticket lawyer as soon as possible.