虽然拿了citation之后心里有时会觉得很不公平，即便是真的，迟早还是要应对，无论是自已解决还是找律师，重要的是不要或减少对保险和driving record的影响。从另一方面来说也许是好事，毕竟在未来的3年内，开车会更加小心。怎么说，开车还是安全第一啊！时常看到有人在车后贴有“Life is Good”的字样以提醒后面的driver谨慎驾车，想想还是对的啊，呵呵。
●Decide Whether the Ticket Is Worth Fighting
●Fight a Speeding Ticket: Is Speeding Always Speeding?
●Fighting a Traffic Ticket: Get the Officer's Notes
●How to Fight Traffic Tickets, Five Strategies that Work
●Traffic Tickets FAQ
●Traffic Accident Liability: FAQs
Decide Whether the Ticket Is Worth Fighting
First off, decide whether it's worth your time to fight a ticket. It's certainly possible, but fighting traffic tickets can take a lot of time and effort and may not be worth it in the long run. If a ticket means thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums, however, it may be very worthwhile to fight it.
Understand the Law You Are Alleged to Have Violated
Most police officers don't really know the letter of the law - after all that's what attorneys are for. An easy first step in fighting traffic tickets is to read the exact law you're alleged to have violated, and break it down into elements. Once you've broken the law down into its components, if you can show that your behavior didn't meet the exact prohibitions contained in the law, then you've gone a good ways towards showing that you haven't violated the law at all. Here's an actual stop sign law, with brackets to separate different elements of the law:
"[A person] [operating a human-powered vehicle] [approaching a stop sign shall slow down] and, [if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection]. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, [the person shall yield the right-of-way to] [any vehicle] [in the intersection] or [approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across] or [within the intersection or junction of highways], [except that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping]."
Some elements you can't really challenge (you are a person after all), but notice that stopping isn't actually required! It's only necessary if it is "required for safety" and the law explicitly allows you to "cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping".
Chances are good that the police officer wrote down something like "rolled through intersection without a complete stop". You can easily go into court, lay out the law, and demonstrate that you never violated the law in the first place. Will a judge accept this? Absolutely. This is precisely what lawyers do, they break down laws into elements and try to prove that some element wasn't met. Remember, you're innocent until proven guilty.
Don't Pay the Ticket, It's Often an Admission of Guilt
When you first get your ticket, do not pay it. In almost all jurisdictions, paying the fine is an admission of guilt. Instead, find out how you can get your day in court.
Consider Traffic School
Many jurisdictions offer an option to attend traffic school. In return, your charges will be dismissed or reduced. Explore this option by researching the law in your state. If you find that traffic school is a good option, request it from the prosecutor or judge.
Common Defenses to a Traffic Ticket
There are several typical defenses used when fighting traffic tickets. Many of the defenses below are based on your constitutional right to question the accuser.
The Officer Doesn't Show Up
The easiest way to win is to have the police officer not show up. Because you have a constitutional right to question the accuser, if the officer doesn't show, you will typically automatically win. How can you increase your chances of getting a no show?
●Postponing the court date can significantly increase the odds that the officer will not be present during the trial.
●Never go with the date on your ticket. That's usually a "gang date" for the officer, where the officer has scheduled all of his or her court dates at once. If you schedule for an extension that falls on a different day, chances are they aren't going to come in on their day off just for you.
●Try to choose a court date that is closer to the holidays or summer vacation days - this might increase the odds of your officer being out on vacation.
Camera Tickets and Hearsay
People often think that there's little they can do with a camera based ticket, but they're amazingly easy to beat. Here are some tips:
●Courthouses will rarely go through the trouble of bringing the video or picture to court, usually resulting in an automatic dismissal of the ticket.
●Even if they do, there is no human subject to question other than the officer who viewed the tape. The second the officer opens his mouth, you just object "hearsay". Hearsay is the equivalent of "so and so told me", which courts consider unreliable evidence. After all, the officer didn't actually see you do anything, rather the officer is relying on the observations of someone/something else. As a result, the officer can't testify as to what you did wrong and obviously neither can the camera. It takes courage to do this, but it can work.
Trial by Declaration
In many states, you are entitled to a trial by mail. You submit your claim as to why you are innocent in a letter, and the officer must do the same. While officers will often show up for court because it is an overtime opportunity, trial by mail is pure paperwork, and they will often not bother to submit their side of the story. When this happens, you win by default. Should you lose by mail, you have lost nothing: you can still request an in-person trial, request traffic school, or pay your fine.
The Sixth Amendment Requires a Speedy and Public Trial
The sixth amendment guarantees you a speedy and public trial, and this can be an easy basis to avoid a ticket. For example, in California, a speedy trial is defined as 45 days from the time of the infraction. In many jurisdictions you must go to the courthouse in person to get a court date. Among those legal documents you are asked to sign, will be one in which you waive your right to a speedy trial. Do not sign this document. You cannot be legally forced to waive this right. What this means is that if the court system cannot fit you in, within those 45 days, (times for your state may vary) then your case must be dismissed.
Tickets Based on Radar Guns
Most radar guns need to be recalibrated every 30-60 days, and due to ignorance, lack of funding, or laziness, they rarely are. One solid argument for your case is to prove that the measurement device is faulty. In some states the officer must check the calibration after issuing the ticket - usually by using two tuning forks held in front of the radar, which vibrate at the frequencies for 35 mph and 55 mph. Verify whether this was done and documented.
Check Your Ticket for Errors
While courts will often excuse minor errors on a ticket – a misspelled name or whether your car color is maroon or dark red – if the officer cites the wrong law on the ticket, or grossly misidentifies the highway or your make of car, you may to get your ticket dismissed.
Defenses That Don't Work
The following is a short list of common defenses people often make when fighting traffic tickets that just don't work:
●You claim ignorance of the law. It doesn't matter how honestly you misunderstood what was required, it won't work.
●You argue that no one was hurt. The no-harm-no-foul rule doesn't apply in court. The only exception is whether safety is part of the law itself, and you can argue that obviously you operated your vehicle safely because no one was hurt.
●You complain that the officer selected you alone out of a dozen other potential violators. Admitting that you were in fact guilty, but that there were other guilty people present doesn't help you. You can win a "selective enforcement" defense, but it's very hard to do and requires that you demonstrate the officer had a specific and improper motive to pick on you. For instance if you filed a report against the officer and he just happened to pull you over the next day with a dozen other violators nearby, you may win.
●You give the judge a sad story. It doesn't work, judges hear this all day long and may doubt your honesty. At best this will slightly reduce your fine.
●You claim the officer is lying. Between you and the police officer, the judge is more likely to believe the officer. Unless you have specific proof, it won't work.
Fight a Speeding Ticket: Is Speeding Always Speeding?
In general, all of the 50 states have three different types of speed limits. These are called, respectively, "absolute," "presumed," and "basic" speed limits. In order for you to put up the best defense possible if you want to challenge your speeding ticket, it is important for you to know which one you were cited with.
Speed Limits that are Absolute
Many people wonder how to fight a speeding ticket, especially a traffic violation for going above the absolute speed limit. An absolute speed limit is quite straight forward -- if the posted limit is 40 mph, then that is the absolute limit. If you are going 45 mph, you are violating the absolute speed limit. There are limited defenses for such a ticket, but some of them include:
●Claim that you were speeding because of an emergency. The emergency must have made you speed in order to avoid serious injury to yourself or others. An example of a good defense would be if you were forced to speed because you had to outrun the firestorm that was raging down the road, engulfing everything in flame.
●Challenge the determination of your speed. A traffic ticket will often have your tracked speed written down on it, and you have the right to challenge this statement. To make this defense, you must first determine what method the officer used to determine your speed (laser, pacing, sight, radar), and then either attack the method used or the officer's implementation of that method (such as challenging the officer's training with the device).
●Challenge the officer's identification of your automobile and claim that you were mistaken with a similar car that was driving next to you at the time of the ticket. Many cars look very similar, and it could be easy for the officer to mistake your car for the one he clocked speeding after losing sight of it over a hill.
Fight a Speeding Ticket under a Presumed Speed Limit
If you have been given a ticket under a presumed speed limit, this means that the officer accused you of driving at an unsafe speed for the conditions present at the time. There are two general defenses to such a ticket. First, you can challenge the officer's claim that you were driving above the posted speed limit, just as if you were challenging an absolute speed limit violation. However, you can also claim that, even if you were driving above the posted speed limit, your driving was safe for the conditions at the time of the ticket.
Here is one example. If you were ticketed for going 45 mph in a 35 mph zone and there is little chance of proving that you were not going 45, you could claim that you were driving safe given the conditions. Perhaps the traffic around you was traveling at 50 mph or above and you felt that you would be a danger on the road if you were going 35 mph and did not want to get read-ended by a speeding car.
If you decide to take such an approach to challenging your speeding ticket, you will have the burden of proving that the speed you were driving at was a safe speed given the conditions. It is generally assumed that the posted speed limit is the safest maximum speed for any given stretch of road, so you will have to overcome this presumption to be successful.
It could be nigh impossible to show that going 60 miles per hour in a 25 mph area is safe, but it could be possible to show that going 35 mph in a 25 mph is safe given certain conditions. Perhaps the road is very wide and straight, and the only reason the speed limit is 25 mph is because of pressure put on the city government by wealthy residents. In these situations, you may have a strong argument.
In order for you to build the best case possible, it is helpful to have certain pieces of evidence to present to the judge. First, you should go back to the scene of the ticket at the same time of day you got the citation and take pictures, both from the sidewalk, as well as from a driver's point of view. The more that you can show it is safe to go above the speed limit on a certain stretch of road, the better.
Next, you should be able to diagram the section of road where you were ticketed, and demonstrate any other factors that would be beneficial to your case on the diagram. For instance, if you can show that you got your ticket on an open stretch of road between two cities instead of in a busy downtown area, you have a strong chance of showing that your speed was safe given the situation. Also, if you can show that the road was heavily congested at the time of your ticket, and that all the cars around you were exceeding the posted speed limit, you can argue that you would be a danger on the road if you had to obey the absolute speed limit.
Basic Speed Limits
The general premise of a basic speed limit law is simply the reverse of a presumed speed limit, like a presumed speed limit that works in favor of police officers. Police officers can ticket you for driving at a speed under the posted speed limit if the conditions make it so that your speed is unsafe.
Often, it is possible to argue that the posted speed limit on a road is above what the safe speed limit is. Rainy, snowy or windy conditions can make driving more dangerous and could possibly reduce a presumed speed limit from 65 mph to 50 mph in the officer's mind. Police officers have discretion to ticket drivers for driving at or below a posted speed limit if the conditions make it unsafe.
However, if you have been ticketed for driving at or below the posted speed limit, you will be afforded extra protections should you decide to challenge the ticket. The biggest difference is that instead of you having to prove that you were driving at a safe speed given the conditions, the officer must instead prove that, given the conditions, the speed you were driving at was unsafe. This may be hard for the officer to do if you were not involved in an accident. After all, the legal presumption is that the posted speed limit is the safe speed to travel at.
Police often cite people who have been involved in car accidents with speeding tickets according to the basic speed limit. Their logic follows like this -- if you were involved in a car accident, there was something that must have been unsafe, and it was probably your speed. However, don't panic if you receive a traffic ticket on top of being in a car accident. The logic is flawed -- there can be a number of other reasons for the car accident, even another driver.
If the officer accuses you of violating the basic speed limit and uses the accident as proof of the "unsafeness" of your speed, you can and should challenge him on this. Ask the officer if there could have been any other factors that caused the accident. These could include:
●An act of nature such as a gust of wind that blew over the truck next to you, or the falling tree that you had to swerve to avoid
●The reckless or negligent driving of another person on the road
●A road defect such as a pothole, a missing stoplight, or a stop sign that had been stolen recently.
Fighting a Traffic Ticket: Get the Officer's Notes
One of the best ways to go about fighting a traffic ticket is to get a copy of the officer's notes. Most police officers are trained to write notes, often on the back of your ticket, with details about why you were ticketed and what the conditions were when you were ticketed. Even if the officer wrote the notes on the back of your ticket, it is still wise to request an official copy of those notes for at least two reasons:
First, if the officer knows his notes are inadequate, or figures you're going to fight the ticket hard, he or she may simply not show up. Usually an officer's failure to appear results in an automatic dismissal of the case.
Second, by carefully reading the notes you can get a good idea for how the officer will testify, and what sort of defenses will be appropriate. An officer doesn't want to get in trouble over a traffic violation, so he or she is likely to deviate very little from what is in the notes.
Fighting a Traffic Ticket: Make a "Discovery" Request for the Officer's Notes
In most states you have the right to receive a copy of the officer's notes through the "discovery" process. Discovery is just legal jargon for the exchange of important information before a trial. The discovery process also allows you to get more than just the officer's notes, and can include things such as police procedure manuals and instruction manuals for speed recording devices. These items can then be used to formulate a defense as well as to question the officer.
The discovery request must be a specific, written request, and the best way to figure out how exactly to do it in your area is to contact the clerk of the court you are in and ask for instructions and any forms required when making a discovery request. You will need to send your discovery request via certified mail to the police department and the local prosecutor and follow the instructions provided to you by the court clerk.
Fighting a Traffic Ticket: What to Do if Your Discovery Request Is Ignored
Few people ever make discovery requests for traffic violations, so don't be surprised if your discovery request is ignored. If this happens reiterate to the parties in writing that you requested information from them and that you believe the discovery requests are crucial to your case. Check with your local court clerk to find out how long people have to respond to discovery requests in your area. Typically, if you have not received a response within three weeks you will need to go to court.
Again, ask the court clerk for relevant forms and instructions, and file a "pre-trial motion" to compel the parties to honor your discovery requests. If your discovery requests are still ignored by your trial date, you can try to simply ask the judge to dismiss your case.
Fighting a Traffic Ticket: How to Use the Officer's Notes
When examining the officer's notes, here are the major things you want to look for:
●Specific detail: If the notes are highly detailed, you may have a harder time defending yourself because the officer will be allowed to look at his notes while testifying. On the other hand, any details might highlight areas of questioning where you can challenge the accuracy of the events the officer recorded.
●Lack of detail: If the notes are lacking in detail, you can greatly use this to your advantage to question the officer regarding specifics that he or she failed to record. Your job is to create doubt about whether you committed the violation, and the more often an officer has to say "I don't remember", the better. Specific details that may not be present that you should look for include which lane you were in, exactly how the officer recorded your speed, road conditions, nearby vehicles and the exact location of the alleged violation.
●Statements: Officers will typically record any statements you make during the traffic stop (which is why, generally, you should say next to nothing). Note whether the statement seems to be a direct quote or an approximation, or whether any such statements were even recorded.
●Diagrams: Officers often record basic diagrams in their notes, outlining an intersection and important features. If there is no diagram, or a really poor one, you can ask questions about the area that the officer will likely not be able to answer and create doubt about the violation.
The more relevant questions you can ask that an officer can't answer, the better off you are.
How to Fight Traffic Tickets, Five Strategies that Work
This article lays out five strategies that many have found useful in fighting traffic tickets they received. These tickets range from speeding tickets, to tickets for running red lights captured by a red light camera.
1. Dispute the Police Officer's Personal Opinion
Police officers often cite drivers for making unsafe turns or driving unsafely down a road. These tickets require the officer to put down his personal opinion and come to a subjective conclusion about what happened. If you have received a ticket where the officer needed to exercise some sort of personal judgment about the situation, you may be able to challenge that judgment. For example, suppose you were cited with an unsafe lane change while driving on the highway. If you show up to fight the ticket, you can argue that your lane change was safe given the weather and traffic conditions at that time. To further support your argument, you could point out that the police officer was in front of you during the lane change, and that, due to the heavy traffic conditions, the officer most likely was paying more attention to the road in front of him rather than a car changing lanes behind him.
Subjective tickets are also issued in some states that have leave it up to the police officer to determine whether a driver is driving at a safe speed. These speeding tickets are often challenged by those who are cited. In states that have such laws, the posted speed limit is not the clear-cut law, and a driver has the discretion to travel at a speed that is safe given the traffic conditions. If you have received a speeding ticket for going above the posted speed limit in such a state, you may be able to challenge the officer's opinion by proving that your speed was safe given the conditions. As an example, if an officer cites you for going 75 mph in a posted 65 mph zone, you may argue that your speed was safe because all of the cars in your lane were also traveling at 75 mph, and thus, it would be unsafe to drive at or below 65 mph.
2. Dispute the Police Officer's Presentation of Evidence
There are yet other types of tickets where the police officer's judgment cannot be called into question. These tickets generally have to do with tickets that are clear cut, like running through a stop sign or making an illegal U-turn. Here, challenging a ticket involves challenging whether or not the officer saw you perform the ticketed action. The results of these types of cases will generally boil down to who the judge believes, and you, as the driver, will often have a high burden to overcome. However, there are certain types of arguments and evidence that you can present that may help your case by calling into question the officer's observations.
Some of the best arguments and evidence to present in such a situation are:
●Eyewitness statements from passengers, other drivers on the road or pedestrians that will confirm your story.
●Diagrams, diagrams, diagrams. The more clearly you can show where your car was in relation to the officer's car at the time of the citation, the more robust an argument you can make. For instance, a great diagram would show that the officer could not have seen you run a red light because he was trailing you too far behind to see whether or not your car was in the intersection at the time the light turned red.
●Photographs of the scene of the alleged traffic violation. Photographs can help you if, for example, they demonstrate your claim that a stop sign was obscured by an overhanging limb, or show that a traffic light was out of power at a certain time of day.
3. Present Evidence that the Traffic Violation was a "Mistake of Fact"
In most jurisdictions, the judge hearing your case will be allowed to come to their own decision regarding the traffic ticket if presented with the right evidence. For certain types of tickets, like running a stop sign, you may be allowed to present evidence that you should not be required to pay the ticket because you made a "mistake of fact."
Mistakes of fact are mistakes made by drivers about the situation. To clarify, it helps to look at a few examples. First, it would be a mistake of fact if you were driving in two lanes because the lane markers were so worn down by use that you could not see them. Second, it would be a mistake of fact to make an illegal right turn because wind had recently blown down the no right turn sign.
Often, a judge will toss out a ticket that has been issued against you if you can show that you had inadequate notice. For example, if you regularly drive a stretch of road everyday and one day are ticketed for running a stop sign that was installed the previous day, you can argue that you had insufficient notice about the new sign, and that you made a mistake of fact. However, if the stop sign was up long enough for you to be aware of it, or if you never drove that stretch of road before, or if you were driving recklessly and failed to see the sign, you would probably not win this argument.
4. Argue that Your Driving Was Justified
Another way to fight traffic tickets is not to deny or point out mistakes in the ticketing process, but rather to admit to the illegal driving but present another fact that makes the illegal driving justified and allowable. This is a great way to fight a ticket because you do not have to dispute the officer's statement or the charge in the ticket, but rather show circumstances that necessitated your driving.
For instance, if you were ticketed for driving too quickly on the highway, you may present evidence that you were passing a car that you thought had a drunk driver. In this situation, your speeding may be warranted as you were trying to prevent an accident that may have caused a multi-car pile up. However, this defense would be negated if the officer could prove that you kept your high speed even after passing the other vehicle on the road.
As another example, if you are ticketed for changing lanes recklessly and stopping on a highway, you may be able to fight the ticket by showing that you felt waves of dizziness and felt like fainting while driving. You pulled over your car and stopped as soon as you could so as to avoid passing out while driving. A judge could very well agree that your conduct was legally justified and throw out the ticket.
5. Argue that Your Ticketed Driving Was Necessary to Prevent Harm
This defense is much like the one above in that you are trying to show that your ticketed driving was necessary in order to prevent immediate harm to you or others. Speeding on the highway in order to prevent an accident is a prime example. Another example is swerving dangerously in order to prevent hitting a pedestrian who has fallen off a sidewalk and into the lane you are driving in. The key to this argument is to show a judge that, if you had not taken the action you did, someone would have been seriously hurt.
How to Negotiate a Speeding Ticket
By Trudie Longren
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported, in 2007, that the median fine for a speeding ticket for a first offense was $200. The NHTSA also stated that young males under 21 years were more likely to receive speeding tickets than any other demographic group. The NHTSA noted that states were increasing speed limit enforcement in construction and school zones to target the worst offenders. One way to avoid higher insurance premiums because of speeding convictions is to negotiate a lower penalty with the prosecutor.
Know the range of penalties provided for by law for the offense. Speeding tickets carry a variety of penalties-- fines, points and even jail time for repeat offenders. Knowing the range of penalties will aid you in suggesting an alternate penalty or a reduced penalty to the prosecutor.
Know your driving record. If you are a first offender, you will have greater latitude to negotiate a reduction or even a dismissal of the charges. Repeated speeding offenses or other more serious traffic offenses will compromise any attempt to dismiss or reduce a speeding ticket.
Speak with the prosecuting attorney on the day of the court hearing and ask to enter into a plea agreement. If you have no prior offenses, ask to have the charges dismissed and agree to enroll in traffic (driver improvement) school. If you have prior moving violations on your driving record, ask the prosecutor to reduce the charges to violations that do not add points to your driving record.
Prepare your defense. Although prosecutors have discretion in bringing charges and recommending punishments, the judge is not obligated to honor those recommendations. Be prepared to defend your case before the judge by presenting your side of the events and by cross-examining the officer who wrote the ticket.
How to Make a Speeding Ticket Not Go on Your Insurance
By Angelique de la Morreaux
If you can't avoid the lead pedal that is your foot, learn how to make a speeding ticket not go on your insurance. Each speeding ticket can lead to points on your license, and one too many speeding tickets or too many points can lead your insurance company to raise your premium.
1. Attend traffic school. Some states, such as California, allow you to attend traffic school to keep the ticket off your driving record. This option does cost more money initially, as the state requires you to pay the ticket fine, traffic school and costs, but it reduces the expense in the long term through lower insurance costs.
2. Set the ticket for trial. Gamble that the police officer will not attend the court trial. If the officer does not show up, the case cannot be proven and the judge will dismiss your case.
3. Fight the ticket by setting the ticket for trial if you have a strong case. There is no guarantee you will win at trial. Gather your witnesses, if any, and bring them to trial with you. Question the officer after he testifies. Point out differences in his testimony and what you believe occurred in the stop. Question your witnesses about the events leading up to the ticket. Testify yourself as to your speed. The judge will normally issue a decision the same day.
4. Negotiate with the prosecuting attorney for a lower offense that does not carry points. Point out all information in your favor, such as this is your first ticket, the speed limit was not posted in the area you were driving or the sign was not visible. Agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge and pay the fine if there are no points.
5. Do nothing and rely on a state statute. Some states have a provision -- such as New York Insurance Law § 2335 -- under which your insurance rates cannot rise if you were going less than 15 miles over the posted limit. So, although a speeding ticket may be reported to the insurance company, there should be no increase in rates.
6. Hire an attorney. There are attorneys who specialize in fighting traffic tickets. These attorneys know the court system, the prosecuting attorney and the best defenses for your case. This option may cost more, but if keeping a ticket off your insurance is important, then this option may give you the best chance.
How to Reduce a Speeding Ticket
Whether or not you had a lead foot, getting a ticket is not a pleasant experience. After you've cooled down a little, you have a new concern: getting that speeding ticket reduced during a delightful visit to your county's traffic court. Many people view reducing a speeding tickets as an exercise in futility, but it's not as difficult as you might initially think.
1. Get a copy of your driving record from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. They may charge you a nominal fee for the service, but it's worth it. You need to know how clean your record is. If you have had many speeding tickets in the recent past, you're not as likely to get a good deal from the judge. Conversely, if your record is clean, you might have a little more leeway.
2. Explore ticket-erasing options such as driving school. Not only will this erase tickets, but it could also reduce the higher insurance premium you pay when you receive a speeding ticket.
3. Negotiate a plea bargain. Since so few tickets are contested, courts often can't handle the stress of defendants flocking to the stand. You'll be offered a plea bargain. This could take many forms. If you received multiple tickets, they could excuse one in exchange for a guilty plea on another.
4. Provide the judge with a reason to give you a break. If you go to court, treat everyone in a respectful manner and provide a logical reason for speeding. You may experience the mercy of the court.
5. Hire an attorney who has success reducing speeding tickets. While this may cost you a little bit of money, it can save you money in the end because lawyers know the ins and outs of the rules of the road. They can even appear in court on your behalf, so you don't even have to show up on your court date.
How to Reduce a Traffic Violation Ticket
By James Wiley
Getting a traffic ticket is an awful feeling, and looking at the amount of the fine itself is even worse. What many people do not realize is that there are ways to reduce and even get out of your ticket, regardless of what state you live in. In each state, you have a right to plead not guilty to your ticket. In addition, many states will allow you to take a driving safety course, which will drastically reduce the price of your ticket. There is never a reason to simply pay your ticket; with the proper knowledge of what to do you will have a good chance of paying only part of or none of the ticket.
1. Check the "not guilty" box on the ticket you received. Mail in the ticket; it will already come pre-addressed to the courthouse. In addition to mailing the ticket, write a polite, concise letter to the judge stating your side of the story and explaining why the ticket was unfair. Mail this in with the ticket. In many cases the judge will simply dismiss the case.
2. Call the courthouse using the number printed on the ticket, and ask if there are drivers' safety courses that the court can recommend that would lower the ticket. Many states offer these courses, and if the judge approves your request to take one you can enroll through your state's DMV office. Once you complete the course and show your certificate to the judge, your ticket will be reduced.
3. File for a change of venue if you are given a court date. You have a right to change the venue to a courthouse closer to where you live. This will greatly increase the chance that the ticketing officer will not show up.
4. File as many continuances as the judge will allow. Reasons for continuances can include scheduled vacations, illness, work and a variety of other excuses. Each continuance further increases the likelihood that the officer will not show up.
5. Attend your hearing on the schedule date and argue your side of the story to the court. If the court rules in your favor, you will not have to pay the ticket.
How to Write a Letter for a Reduced Traffic Citation
By Jack Spencer
As an attempt to balance budgets, many states have begun to increase both their frequency of traffic fines and the amount of fines imposed, as shown by a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Despite protests by the public, and in some cases court officials, this unofficial policy continues. Instead of attempting to contest a ticket as an all-or-nothing attempt to avoid paying a fine, drivers often have the option of admitting fault and attempting to have the cost of a fine reduced.
1. Contact the clerk for the court designated on a traffic ticket and request information on contest options and proper filing instructions for a letter. Alternatively, attempt to find the information online via your state's judicial branch website, if available.
2. Write the letter. Accept fault for the ticket and express regret for committing a violation. Provide extenuating circumstances and evidence of good character. Evidence may include your reason for traveling so fast, such as rushing to pick up a sick child from school. Judges are given a lot of discretion to determine whether a reduction is warranted and will often take a drivers' manners and behavior into account along with other factual matters. Providing proof of a clean record can also encourage judges to be lenient to a first time violator.
3. File the letter with the court clerk. Some states allow drivers to mail a letter of explanation directly to the court. Others require a scheduled hearing with a judge or hearing officer, and you may be able to present the letter upon attendance. Await a final decision and pay the designated fine.
Tips & Warnings
• If you wish to deny responsibility, you risk paying the entire fine should the judge decide against you.
• Never pay a fine before your explanation has been ruled on. Doing so will almost always bar you from any fee reduction.
• Be aware of filing deadlines. Failing to notify a court of intent to make an admission with an explanation within the required time frame will eliminate any chance of a fee reduction. For example, Muskegon County, Mich., requires letters to be mailed within 14 days from receipt of the citation.
• Even if a fee reduction is successful, you will still receive points on your license. The only way to avoid points is to successfully contest a ticket.
How to Write an Appeal for a Speeding Ticket
Speeding tickets cost more than the amount of the fine. Increased insurance rates are the highest expenses of all.
However, you may be able to appeal your ticket if you have not had a ticket for at least 3 years, if your speedometer is incorrect, or if it is your first speeding ticket.
Don't be afraid to appeal your ticket, even if you know you were speeding. To write a letter of appeal, follow the steps below:
1. GET YOUR MINDSET RIGHT
You are getting ready to ask for a favor--if you are guilty of speeding. Therefore, you want to have a humble attitude, without groveling--that's never pretty. You want to appreciate that the officer was doing their job, and to their best of their ability doing it well. Think about these things until you are convinced. No matter how angry you are and how many kinds of jerks you want to call the officer, repeat after me, "The officer was trying to do his job and to do it well. . .The officer was trying to do his job well. . .The officer was doing his job well. . ."
2. Now you're ready to appeal.
BEFORE WRITING YOUR LETTER, contact the officer who wrote the ticket.
In some states, highway patrol officers have the right to drop a ticket. Plain and simple. If you call the officer and explain your case, keeping your achieved attitude in mind, the officer will sometimes dig down into his heart and drop the ticket. If he doesn't, thank him for his time. And BE POLITE.
3. NOW WRITE THAT LETTER
Without admitting guilt, admit that you were traveling in such and such a place at such and such a time and that you were issued a citation for speeding. Now state your case: You were traveling on an almost empty 4-lane highway on a bright sunny day, keeping pace with the minimal traffic that was on the road. An officer, traveling in the opposite direction, swung into an access path and followed you and pulled you over. You were not looking at your speedometer at the time, but neither were you in a rush or deliberately speeding. Use your sense of humor if it comes to mind.
4. KEEP YOUR READER IN MIND
This letter will be mailed to the assistant district attorney (ASA) who will be prosecuting your case. (This informatin can be gathered from the District Attorney's Office.)
So, your reader is a busy ADA who wants to clear the calendar. He or she is a work-a-day person just like you are. He or she has bills to pay just like you do. He or she is trying to do their job and do it well, just like you do. He or she may want to get elected to the positon of DA someday. Sooo, they have reason to work with a taxpayer such as yourself. Get your mind right. Keep the reader in mind. State your case.
5. ADDRESS YOUR LETTER APPROPRIATELY
As mentioned in the previous step, you can obtain the name of the prosecuting assistant district attorney for your particular court date from the office of the District Attorney. Be sure to ask for the proper spelling of the name of the ADA. Get the address right.
6. CLOSE YOUR LETTER WITH A THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND A LAST APPEAL
Your brief letter should close with an appreciation for the time the ADA has taken to read your letter and for their thoughtful consideration of your appeal. You should ask one more time for the ADA to drop the ticket. Provide contact information where you can be reached via phone, email, and US Postal service. Be professional, be real.
How to Get Out of a Speeding Ticket at Court
By Greg Brian
Many people receive speeding tickets and try to convince the police officer writing the ticket to change his mind. That almost always fails, but you still have more options than you think to get that speeding ticket overturned. A lot of little-known legal tactics are permissible if you decide to go this route. But your best chances are when you enter the courtroom during your hearing, and when your trial starts.
Contacting the Officer or Judge
1. Show the police officer who gave you the ticket that your speeding ticket truly matters to you in possibly raising your car insurance premiums. Call the officer at a later time after he gave you the ticket and arrange a meeting at any location. Most police officers are willing to do this for any member of the public during their off hours.
2. Meet with the officer and discuss your concerns. But expect to have an emotionally good reason for wanting that ticket dropped. If you're polite, the officer still has the authority to drop the ticket. However, try contacting the judge next if the officer refuses.
3. Try writing a friendly letter to the judge who will preside over your case, or to the prosecuting attorney. Make the letter effective about why you think the speeding ticket should be dropped from the record. While this might not work, it doesn't hurt to try once since it's legally allowable.
Options in Court
1. Show up to the preliminary court hearing and plead "not guilty." If you plead guilty, it's automatically over and you'll have to pay the speeding ticket fine and have it go on your insurance record.
2. Make an attempt to contact the police officer and judge one more time between the time of your hearing and your next court date, which is generally 40 days. If that still fails, you have the option of taking further measures, including hiring a lawyer and bringing in witnesses to make your case.
3. Be at your trial on time. Attempt to work with your lawyer to cut a deal with the prosecutor, or even the officer if he is there. Know that if the police officer doesn't show up for your trial, or thinks that he has a weak case against you, a deal to drop the case before a trial is a strong possibility.
1. Bring in witnesses during your trial to prove that you weren't speeding. In a more elaborate case, you're even allowed to return to the place where you received the speeding ticket.
2. Talk to your lawyer about a public record request that looks up the vehicle codes that you're accused of violating. While the legal language will vary in each state, the particular legalese used in these codes can be used as an effective defense in saying you didn't do what the prosecutor says you did.
3. Use the discovery legal process for speeding tickets based on radar readings. This legal maneuver is a little-known Constitutional right. It allows the radar gun used by the officer to be inspected during the trial, along with the officer's logs, to determine discrepancies. Talk with the court clerk first before the trial, since some states limit the use of this procedure for traffic cases.
4. Appeal the final ruling by the judge if everything else fails. Going this route is a financial risk involving more lawyer fees, but could still give you a chance to keep the ticket off your insurance record. Your legal rights let you do this without reprimand.
Traffic Tickets FAQ
Q: What is a "moving violation"?
A: A moving violation occurs whenever a traffic law is violated by a vehicle in motion. Some examples of moving violations are speeding, running a stop sign or red light, and drunk driving. A non-moving violation, by contrast, is usually related to parking or faulty equipment. Examples include parking in front of a fire hydrant, parking in a no-parking zone, parking in front of an expired meter, and excessive muffler noise.
Q: If I am guilty of a traffic violation, shouldn't I just pay the ticket and get it over with?
A: If you plead guilty to a traffic charge, the court will typically require you to pay the maximum fine allowed by law and will record the conviction on your DMV record for a period of years. A conviction on your record can increase your insurance premiums and accumulate with any other charges such that, eventually, you could lose your driving privileges. An experienced Traffic Ticket Attorney can advise you on whether it may be worth fighting a ticket in your particular circumstances.
Q: How does police radar work?
A: Radar works by sending out pulses or a continuous signal of radio waves and "listening" for the reflection. When the pulse hits a moving object, its frequency changes. The exact amount of change depends on the speed of the object and the direction in which it is traveling. Most police forces use radar for measuring speed, enforcing speed limits, and collecting revenue. Some defendants have, however, been able to successfully challenge radar readings in court.
Q: How does laser detection work?
A: LIDAR (light detection and ranging) is different from conventional radar in that it uses laser light to detect vehicle speed and measures the distance from the gun to the target several times. From the change in distance, it can calculate the speed of a passing vehicle. The usual target of the laser is the vehicle's license plate, which is easy to see and is a good reflector. This is important because the gun relies on the reflections from the target to calculate the speed. It is essential that the gun be held very steady to get an accurate reading. LIDAR, unlike radar, is very hard to detect by "fuzz-buster"-type devices.
Q: Do police officers have a quota of tickets to write by the end of the month?
A: Although the enforcement of "quotas" is not standard police department practice, police work, like all occupations, does include performance standards. If a police officer consistently returns at the end of his or her shift with no stops or arrests to report, that could and should arouse suspicion from the higher-ups. Nonetheless, the real crux of the matter is not whether an officer was trying to achieve some magical number of citations, but rather whether the particular citation issued was valid and justified. If not, it may be worth fighting it in court, whether it was the first ticket of the month or the one-thousandth.
Q: Can I refuse a Breathalyzer test if I get stopped for drunk driving?
A: Although the answer can vary by state, in many cases such a refusal is itself a criminal violation subject to stiff penalties. In addition, if the case against you is proven anyhow, the penalties for the refusal may be above and beyond those for the drunk driving itself.
Q: Should I try to "pay my way" out of a ticket?
A: Offering a police officer money in exchange for not writing a traffic ticket can be viewed as bribery, extortion, or other serious crimes. If you want to contest the ticket, there are legitimate ways to do so that will not add to your problems, compound the penalties, and exacerbate the situation.
Q: What is the difference between a misdemeanor traffic offense and a felony traffic offense?
A: Although many traffic violations are deemed mere infractions, some are misdemeanors, which carry stiffer fines and the possibility of up to one year in jail. The most serious traffic crimes are felonies, which generally involve repeat offenses or violations that result in injury to persons or property. Felonies have even greater penalties, including higher fines and imprisonment for over a year.
Q: What if I lose my license but continue to drive anyway?
A: If a person whose license has been revoked or suspended due to previous traffic violations chooses to drive without a valid license and is pulled over, he or she stands to suffer more serious consequences, including fines and imprisonment. The more prudent course of action is to rely on friends and family for rides or use public transportation.
Q: What is a "continuance" and how do I request one?
A: A continuance is the moving of a trial date to a later date. The prosecution or the defense may request a continuance for any of several reasons. Work conflicts, school schedules, health problems, vacations and the need for more preparation time are all acceptable reasons for requesting a continuance.
You can request a continuance by contacting the COURT, via the court clerk, and explaining why you need it. This can be done by telephone or in person. We recommend using registered mail so you will have proof that your request was sent and received. The burden is then on the court to respond. It's best to make a request for a continuance at least two weeks in advance of the trial date.
Q: Why should I request a continuance?
A: If you intend to gather information for your defense and prepare your presentation, you may need more time than the court has allotted between the time you received the ticket and your trial date. You may live a long distance from the court, and it would be more convenient to move your court appearance to another time. Or, you want to increase the likelihood that the officer who gave you the ticket will not appear in court on the day of your trial.
Q: How do I get the information I need to prepare my defense?
A: There are both formal and informal mechanisms for the gathering of information: Request or Motion for Discovery, Open Records or Public Records Laws, Interrogatories, Depositions, subpoenas, and personal research.
Q: What is a Request for Discovery?
A: A Request for Discovery is an information request you would make to the prosecutor, usually the District Attorney, for relevant information related to your case. If you were cited for speeding, you may want information on the kind of speed measurement device the officer used to clock your vehicle, or the training records for the officer that measured your speed. A simple written request, sent via registered mail to the District Attorney's office, is usually sufficient to exercise this inquiry.
Some states mandate that certain kinds of information must be released to a traffic ticket defendant making a Request of Discovery. The release of the information is not optional. Other states specifically relieve the prosecution from any responsibility to fulfill a Request for Discovery. We recommend a trip to a local library and the assistance of the librarian (most are very helpful) to find out how your state treats Requests for Discovery.
Q: What is a Motion for Discovery?
A: A Motion differs from a Request in that a defendant makes the Motion to the court and not the prosecution. In a Motion for Discovery you must justify your reasons for making certain requests for information and the court will decide if your request has merit. If the Court determines that your request is legitimate and the information is needed for your defense, it will order that the information be given you. The prosecution can object to your motion and the court could order a hearing to argue the Motion for Discovery.
Q: What is an Open Records Law?
A: These laws go under different names in different states, but their intent is to make public records available to all citizens. In general these laws mandate that public records be released to anyone making a request. Certain records, such as medical or tax records, may be protected by privacy laws and are not available through a simple request. However, you can usually obtain radar equipment maintenance records, calibration records for breathalysers, and training certificates for specific officers through an open records request. Open Records Requests are independent of the court and your trial, and the failure of an agency to provide requested records will not automatically result in a dismissal of charges. Remember, this procedure is for the purpose of obtaining EXISTING RECORDS. It cannot be used to force the government to create new records.
Q: How do I make an Open Records Request?
A: A visit to your local library and a review of your state's open records law is a good place to start. Generally an open records request is made to the agency you believe holds the records you want. This is usually the police agency that issued you a citation. For best results make the request in writing and cite the open records state statutes that give you the right to request the information you seek. There may be reproduction cost fees (the law usually requires that they be "reasonable") for the materials you want. You may also want to request that the agency certify the documents to be valid copies of the originals.
Q: What is an interrogatory?
A: An interrogatory is a written request to the prosecution for information related to your case. For example, if you want to know where the officer was sitting when he or she clocked you with radar, you could ask that question and perhaps include a map of the general area where the officer could mark his location when he observed your vehicle. If your request appears reasonable and has a bearing on your defense it will most likely be honored.
Q: What is a deposition?
A: A deposition is a formal meeting, with a court reporter, where the defense and/or prosecution may question witnesses who are under oath. This is a very expensive and time- consuming procedure and not often employed in traffic ticket cases.
Q: What is a subpoena?
A: A subpoena is a court order to appear or bring information to a court proceeding. The target of the subpoena can object to the order, and a case within a case can evolve that deals solely with the subpoena. A subpoena has to be "served" on the party being ordered to produce information or testimony. Anyone can serve a subpoena, as long as they are not directly involved in the litigation. Along with the expense, another downside of subpoenas is that the information is usually not produced until the time of trial. For purposes of developing a defense it is desirable to have all relevant information well before your trial.
Q: What kind of personal research can I do?
A: Any defendant should clearly understand the violation they are being charged with. You may need to make another visit to the library and look up the statute you have supposedly violated. It may be possible that the officer cited the wrong statute, or that you did not meet the definition of a violation.
Re-visit the site of your alleged violation and look for elements that you could use to your advantage. Take photos that will help you make your arguments. Make measurements that may show errors in distances that were reported by the officer.
Q: Will errors on the ticket result in the charges being dropped?
A: Courts will often excuse minor errors on a ticket. A misspelled name, incorrect address or difference in opinion on whether your car is aqua or green in color will not result in a dismissed ticket. Conversely, a major error such as citing the wrong statute, radically misidentifying your vehicle or listing the wrong highway as the site of the violation should provide justification to dismiss the ticket. However, it may be advantageous to say nothing about the errors until your trial. Let the officer use the ticket to describe the violation, location, and identification of your vehicle (they all do). After he or she has sufficiently buried him or herself with perjured testimony, you can document the errors and any legitimate court will dismiss the charges. Here is the law in Michigan. You need to remember that traffic court judges are not required to follow the law.(Taken from the Michigan Judicial Institute © 2003 Page 5)A material defect is an error pertaining to a fact that is necessary to prove an element of the offense, or that attacks the essence of the complaint.* Courts vary in their opinion as to what constitutes a material defect and magistrates should check with their chief judges regarding this issue. The case may be dismissed without prejudice by the judge or magistrate (if the magistrate is authorized to do so), and the citing officer may reissue the citation, or move to have it reinstated.
Material defects may include: *See MCL 257.742(1), 257.727c(3), and MCR 4.101(E)(1).
●No signature on the citation by the citing officer.* The absence of a signature is a material defect that makes the entire citation invalid.
●Incorrect identification of the defendant.
●Incomplete identification of the offense.
●Failure to specify the location of the offense.
●Failure to specify the date of the offense, or entry of an incorrect date.
Q: If I don't sign my ticket, does that mean it's invalid?
A: No, but not signing for a ticket in some states can lead to other charges. Signing for your ticket, merely means that you will pay the fine or plead not guilty and show up in court. If your name was spelled wrong, that could be used in court with other anomalies to introduce reasonable doubt in the officer's testimony. However, if all the information relevant to the stop is correct, a spelling error will not result in the dismissal of the charge(s).
Q: What if the prosecution doesn't give me the information I requested?
A: If your state mandates that certain items be given you, and they aren't, or the court orders that certain items be given you, and they aren't, you can ask for a Motion to Dismiss for failure to provide Discovery and it's likely the motion will be granted. However, if no such mandates exist and the court has not ordered that certain items be given you, there is little likelihood that a dismissal will be granted. Although, a continuance might be granted to give you more time to seek the information through other channels.
Q: If I prove that my speedometer was defective when the officer stopped me for speeding, will the court dismiss the ticket?
A: No. The court might consider it a mitigating circumstance, but it's likely you will still be found guilty. Virginia courts will consider a defense of a defective speedometer.
Q: Does the officer have to show me the radar/laser reading?
A: This is not required in any jurisdiction. Also, whether the officer allows you to see the speed reading has virtually no bearing on your case. Officers can lock on radar readings and leave them on to display to any hapless victim, even though it was not their vehicle that registered the displayed speed.
Q: Should I hire a speeding ticket attorney?
A: This is always a personal call. In the vast majority of cases an attorney will arrange a plea bargain for his/her client. A speeding ticket can result in thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums. The cost of an attorney pales in comparison to the consequences. One of the best ways to access a speeding ticket attorney is through a membership in a prepaid legal plan. A speeding ticket attorney is provided at no cost if you are a member when you receive the ticket. For speeding tickets received before you are a prepaid member, you receive the member attorney fee discount. Since they are nationwide, this is an excellent option for out of state speeding tickets or truck drivers with a CDL violation. For more information click on the link below:
Q: Can I write the court and tell them why I'm not guilty?
A: California allows a "trial by declaration", which is, in a sense, a written explanation or defense you send to the court. Normally it is a waste of time. However, it can be used to buy you time to raise money for the ticket or put off your speeding ticket until after your auto insurance renews. Sometimes, you may get lucky. Here is the link for the forms and information.
California Speeding Ticket Information
In most other states this will go straight in the trash can. However, it doesn't hurt to ask the clerk of court if your particular judge normally reduces the fine/points based on a written request.
Q: Can a police officer issue me a ticket if he's outside his own jurisdiction?
A: If the violation took place within his jurisdiction the answer is yes. If the violation took place outside his jurisdiction the answer is less clear. There may be interagency agreements that allow police to exercise their authority outside their jurisdictions. There may also be state laws that allow inter-jurisdictional enforcement actions. One point to remember, the officer that observed the violation and issued the citation is the only person that can testify against you. The likelihood that an out-of-area officer would appear to testify against you at your trial is somewhat remote.
Q: What if I don't believe I was going that fast?
A: It's possible the radar was picking up another vehicle. It's also possible that the radar unit was being operated improperly. Either of these are difficult to prove without the help of a speeding ticket attorney. Even if you are able to get the radar reading thrown out, many states accept the visual observation of the officer and will still find you guilty.
Q: What if the officer was rude?
A: If the officer had to follow you for a quarter-mile or more until you noticed him in your rearview mirror, he may be unhappy. You were guilty of "contempt of cop," which happens when you don't do whatever it is an officer wants you to do. Regardless, it is not a good idea for you to act in a similar manner.
Q: What if they only ticket people of my race?
A: Sometimes this has every appearance of being true, largely due to stops for trivial traffic laws like seat belt violations, playing the radio too loud, or having a blown out light bulb. If you believe the officer stopped you based on your race, we recommend making a complaint to the police department and/or city government. If it continues to happen after the complaint, consider a lawsuit.
Q: What will happen if I just ignore the speeding ticket?
A: If it's for a moving violation such as speeding, ignoring it may result in a suspended license and/or a bench warrant being issued for your arrest. This is true even if you got the ticket outside of your home state. This means the next time you get stopped you could spend the night in jail.
Q: But everyone was going over the speed limit. What if I was just pulled out of the crowd?
A: It may be true, but it is totally irrelevant now. Plead not guilty and go to court. In court, don't complain that you were being victimized; the judge does not want to nor have time to listen to a claim that is nearly impossible to prove. If the officer shows up in court, cross-examine him by asking questions in such a way as to make it appear he had no idea which vehicle caused the reading on the radar gun.
Q: Does it have any bearing on the validity of the traffic citation if the officer who observed the violation and the officer who issued the citation are NOT one in the same? (ie. one officer operating the RADAR radios to another officer down the road, who pulls you over.)
A: Yes it does. First, the clocking officer must be able to confirm that the car being pulled over was the car he clocked. This confirmation should be made to the officer that does the stop. The officer that does the stop is responsible for identifying the driver to whom the speeding ticket is issued. Both the officer that clocked the vehicle's speed and the officer that issued the ticket must be at the driver's trial. This also applies to situations involving the use of airplanes to clock vehicle speeds. Note that a few states do not require the officers to be present unless you subpoena them.
Q: Will Traffic School keep points off my record?
A: Many states will allow you to take traffic school for a speeding ticket and points will be removed from your driving license record. It is important to contact the clerk of court and receive permission before taking traffic school. If the speeding ticket will still show on your driving record your insurance company may still assess insurance points and your premiums will increase. Be sure to confirm that by taking traffic school the traffic ticket will not appear on your record.
ONLINE TRAFFIC SCHOOL
Many states allow you to take online traffic school and keep the speeding ticket off your record. Check HERE for your state.
Q: What is a Probation before Judgment?
A: This is also called a Prayer for Judgment or Deferment in some jurisdictions. This is a procedure where you pay the fine but the speeding ticket is masked and does not show on your record. The clerk of court can tell you if this is available in your state and the restrictions. Texas, Maryland, and North Carolina offer this option but usually only to drivers from their state.
Q: Does an out of state speeding ticket go on my record?
A: Generally speaking the traffic ticket will be reported back to your home state and points will be placed against your driver's license just as if you received the ticket in your home state. Do not believe the officer that tells you there will be no points on your license so just send in the money. He has no idea of the law in your home state. There are numerous exceptions so you need to contact the DMV in your state to verify the effect of an out of state speeding ticket. For example, a North Carolina driver who exceeds the speed limit by 15+ will have their license suspended. Pennsylvania, New York, and Colorado will not post out of state speeding tickets to your record.
Q: Is There a Statute of Limitations on Speeding Tickets?
A: Generally speaking, there is no statute of limitations on speeding tickets. When you do not appear or pay the ticket, the court enters it as a guilty plea and they can collect the fine many years later. In Texas we are seeing courts trying to collect speeding ticket fines from as far back as 1988.
Q: What Do I Do if I Have Lost a Speeding Ticket
A: It is very important that you respond to the court within the time required. If you do not, they may issue a bench warrant and suspend your license. This will result in increased fines and lots of problems, including the possibility of spending time in jail. All you can do is to pull out a map and start calling the courts in the county/city where you received the ticket. Please do not call us as we cannot help, this is something you must do yourself.
Q: How Do Points Affect My Auto Insurance?
A: Driver's License points and insurance points are different. Each insurance company assigns insurance points based on their own schedule. In New Jersey, a four point ticket typically will increase your auto insurance by $600 per year for three years, a total of $1800. The only way to know for sure is to ask your insurance agent about your particular situation. The cleaner your driving record, the cheaper your insurance. It always pays to contest a speeding ticket.
One way to be sure that you are getting the best deal on auto insurance is to shop around. If you think you are paying too much or just want to be sure that your current company is not ripping you off then we recommend the following site.
THE INSURANCE SECRET YOU NEED TO KNOW
One minor ticket may not increase your rates but two or more MINOR TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS or one serious ticket and YOUR RATES WILL GO THRU THE ROOF. Fight back by applying for a new policy right after receiving a ticket, but well before the ticket has been decided in court. The easiest way is to apply for multiple quotes ONLINE.
Never allow your insurance to cancel for non-payment. If you cannot pay always cancel your auto insurance and then park your car. A bad credit report can also increase your auto insurance premiums so you also need to check your report every two years.
Q: Can I Beat My Speeding Ticket?
A: In some cases you can beat your speeding ticket. In almost all jurisdictions it is possible to get the fine and speeding ticket points reduced. Everything depends on yor particular situation and the procedures of the specific traffic court. We recommend a speeding ticket attorney for any serious traffic violation. The consequences are too severe to try it on your own. If you are going to appear without an attorney, you need to go to the court on a date prior to your trial and observe the procedures.
Q: How Can I Find the Speeding Ticket Laws For My State?
A: Speeding ticket laws vary from state to state. Much of the information you read on the internet is not state specific and cannot be used as a defense in your speeding ticket trial. On our home page, see the link on the left, we have many state specific speeding ticket FAQ pages. If your state is not listed, search Google below for the Code of Laws or Speeding Ticket FAQ's for your state.
Traffic Accident Liability: FAQs
Q: What should I do after a traffic accident?
●Call the police. At the site of the accident, a police officer will make a police report, assess whether any drivers were intoxicated, and direct traffic around the accident. It's a good idea to have the police come to the scene since a police report can be used in a lawsuit or in an insurance claim investigation. Reports typically contain information about the date, time, and location of the accident, the names of the parties involved and the witnesses, the damages, the details of the accident, and a diagram of the accident scene.
●Exchange information. The drivers involved in the traffic accident should exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
●Get the names of witnesses. Witnesses can help establish the details surrounding the accident, which can help determine liability.
●Take photographs. Photos of the accident scene and the vehicles provides documentation that can help establish an insurance claim or liability in a lawsuit.
●Do not talk about the accident. While you may be tempted to discuss the accident with the other driver or with witnesses, it is important to refrain from talking about it. Avoid making any admission of liability since your words could be used to establish fault in a lawsuit or in negotiations with an insurance company.
●Take notes. Because memory fades over time, it's important to take notes after a traffic accident. Having an accurate account of the accident will help a lawyer create a legal claim against the driver at fault. Taking notes is an important way to supplement your memory about the details of the accident. These notes should document important facts, such as the time and date, the people involved, the names of witnesses, the weather and road conditions, what witnesses said about the accident, and what happened immediately before the accident.
●Report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles. If required by state law, it may be necessary to file a report about the traffic accident with a state's department of motor vehicles. In general, this is only required if property damage or physical injury resulted from the accident. An insurance company may have access to this report, so it should detail all the injuries sustained – not just the most serious - and provide general information about the accident. Do not admit responsibility for the accident in the report. If the report requires you to describe what happened, give only a very brief description of the events.
●Report the accident to your insurance provider. An insurance company will conduct its own investigation into the traffic accident. In order to generate an accurate assessment of the claim, it will make a detailed report about the damages to the vehicles, the losses, and will obtain statements from the drivers and witnesses.
●Call an attorney. If serious physical injury or property damage occurs, an attorney can determine whether the other driver involved in the traffic accident bears any liability.
●Keep documentation of your injuries. It is important to keep a record of medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, noneconomic losses, and out-of-pocket expenses for products and services used to care for a person's injuries. An accurate record of the damages will help determine the compensation a person can receive from a lawsuit or an insurance claim.
Q: How is liability for the accident determined?
The person that was careless is the person responsible for causing the accident. Oftentimes, this assessment can be made by determining whether a driver violated a traffic law. Every state has traffic rules that guide how drivers must behave on the road. Consequently, a violation of a traffic law, such as a speed limit or a u-turn law, may determine the responsible party.
Q: Is traffic accident liability ever automatic?
In some cases, the type of accident establishes fault automatically. In a rear-end collision, for instance, the driver that rear-ends another car is usually always at fault. This is because every driver should be able to stop safely when the vehicle in front stops. The failure to do so indicates that the driver was driving unsafely by following too closely. In some circumstances, there are exceptions. For example, if a car hits the car behind you and that car then crashes into the back of your car, liability for the accident rests with the driver of the first vehicle.
In left turn accidents, fault is also established automatically. Since the law requires the driver making the left turn to yield to oncoming vehicles and to only turn when it is safe, it is often the fault of the driver making the turn. An exception to this rule applies if:
●The other driver was speeding;
●The other driver went through a red light; or
●An unexpected event occurred during the vehicle's attempt to make a left turn when it was safe and the event caused the car to slow down or stop turning.
Q: Do I have to report a traffic accident to my insurance company?
A person is not required to report an accident to their insurance company. When damages are minor, some drivers prefer to handle the situation without involving their insurers. If one driver changes their mind and later makes a report to his or her insurance company, however, it may be difficult for an insurance company to assess liability through the evidence if you haven't filed a report.