Getting a traffic ticket can be a big deal. One traffic ticket can add points to your driving record, maybe pushing you into a higher insurance category or even towards a license suspension. A traffic ticket may affect your employment, if you have to drive an employer’s vehicles, you could be prohibited. If you have a traffic ticket, you may want to fight it in court to keep it off your record.
Don’t Use These Arguments in Court
Only you can decide how to deal with your ticket. If you do decide to fight the ticket, you may hope that the officer doesn’t show up in court which can get your ticket dismissed. While that tactic may have worked in the past, it’s not a good defense. Here are other things you shouldn’t use:
- Even though you violated the law, no one was injured or damaged. You shouldn’t get a ticket. This probably won’t fly with the judge.
- You weren’t aware of the traffic law that you violated. Ignorance is not a defense.
- You try to tell a sympathetic story about how you needed to pick up your child from day care. This tactic isn’t going to hold merit. The judge may even empathize, but it won’t get you out of the ticket.
- You claim that the officer is lying. Judges see these officers all the time and know that you’re just trying to get out of a ticket.
Traffic court may not have the same level of seriousness as criminal court, but it is taken very seriously. To avoid your ticket, you’re going to have to demonstrate that you didn’t violate the law or that there were extenuating circumstances.
What Types of Defenses Do Work?
While you should avoid the above arguments, there are defenses that do work. Many people use the hearsay defense to get out of a camera ticket. The officer who writes the ticket didn’t actually see you do anything. That person is simply relying on something else, the camera, to give you a ticket. The camera can’t testify, nor can the officer actually testify as to what you did wrong.
Radar guns have many issues and can be challenged in court. You can ask whether the officer checked the calibration. Ask for documentation. If the radar gun wasn’t maintained properly, the ticket may be dismissed. Ticket errors are another common defense. A misspelled name can make the ticket invalid. Check the laws that were cited. It’s possible the officer wrote down the wrong law.
Do You Need a Lawyer For a Traffic Ticket?
You can certainly go to traffic court without a lawyer, but if you’re facing serious penalties, it can be to your benefit to discuss your case with an attorney. Make an appointment to talk to a traffic lawyer in Salem, VA about your case.
Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into criminal law and arguments to avoid in traffic court.