When you are pulled over by a police officer, they can use their best judgement as to whether you violated a traffic law. But what happens when you don’t agree with the officer’s decision to give you a ticket? Many people don’t realize that you have the legal right to contest traffic tickets if you believe that you did not violate the law.
If you successfully contest a traffic ticket, it can save you a lot of money and a mark on your driving record. But Fighting traffic tickets can be complicated and you may find yourself with a ton of questions. Knowing what the process looks like can help you prepare your case.
5 things to know before you contest a traffic ticket
Before you decide to contest a traffic violation, there are five things you should know about the process:
- Paying the traffic ticket means you plead guilty. Paying a traffic ticket means that you agree with the charge against you. If you intend to fight a ticket, do not pay it until the court decides to find you guilty or not-guilty.
- You have a deadline to respond to the ticket. On the ticket there should be more information about who you need to contact, should you want to fight it. There is a date that you must respond to the ticket by if you intend to fight it. Not responding within this time frame can result in penalties.
- You may need to appear in court more than once. The first court date scheduled for you is your arraignment, where you plead guilty or not guilty to the charge. Pleading not guilty might prompt another court date to discuss the details of the case and review evidence.
- A court attorney is not automatically provided for you in a traffic case. Unlike some criminal charges, you do not have a court-appointed attorney when you contest traffic tickets.
- The cost of a traffic attorney is proportional to the case. Many people think that hiring an attorney will be very costly. However, attorney fees are dependent on the complexity of your case and the infraction you are going to court for.
Traffic tickets can be a pain to deal with, from the cost to the consequences on your record. But you always have the right to have a traffic ticket legally reviewed by a judge. Knowing what you can expect when fighting a traffic ticket might just save you money, time and headaches.