It’s a fact that just about everyone will receive a traffic ticket at some point in their life. Even the safest, most experienced drivers sometimes make mistakes. You may be having a completely normal day when suddenly you’ll see flashing lights behind you or return to your parked vehicle to see a long yellow slip under your windshield wiper.
Usually, a traffic citation is little more than an annoyance. Maybe even a learning experience. If you feel that you have been wronged, however, it is well within your rights to challenge your citation. This is a common practice and can mean not having to pay the fine and fewer points added to your record.
If you choose to fight a citation in court, it is vital to have legal representation on your side. While you can choose to represent yourself, you will not get special treatment for the judge for doing so. The court will hold you to the same standards as any trained lawyer.
It was a mistake
It may seem obvious, but if your violation was the result of an honest mistake outside of your control, a judge may choose to rule in your favor. For example, if you ran a stop sign due to it being obscured by thick foliage, you may have a case.
There was a good reason
Violating traffic laws for a good reason may also give you a leg to stand on in court. A judge is not likely to side with you if you were going 55 in a 35 because you were late for work, but if you were doing so because you were rushing a woman in labor to the hospital, then they may be lenient.
Protecting your safety
Safety is paramount when it comes to driving. That’s why there are laws and citations in place to begin with. If you violated the law to protect your safety or the safety of others, such as swerving onto an unoccupied sidewalk to avoid someone who ran into the road, there may be grounds to have your citation thrown out.
The officer had it wrong
Sometimes police officers simply have the facts wrong. This is often difficult to prove, but if you have proof that your infraction did not happen, possibly via dashcam footage or third-party witnesses, you may leave court one citation lighter.
Getting a traffic ticket is frustrating, expensive and often a little frightening. If you feel you have unjustly been given a citation, don’t be shy to exercise your rights and fight the claim. It could save you a considerable amount of time, money and stress.