The last thing you want to happen when driving is to receive a ticket. Since it is such a rare occurrence, many people do not know what happens after the ticket is issued. It is important to know what your next steps should be, so you can handle the situation as well as possible. This simple guide explains what happens after receiving a ticket.
The first thing you should do is determine whether or not a court appearance is required of you. For some violations, you can simply pay the ticket and be done with it. If this is the case, you can pay the ticket online, by mail, or in person at your county’s courthouse. Other times, you are required to appear in court. This only happens for especially serious violations, such as:
- Driving recklessly
- Violations involving a serious injury or death
- Extreme version of otherwise mundane violations
- Driving drunk
If you are required to appear in court, the ticket will specify so. The issuing officer will likely tell you that a court appearance is required as well. If you do need to appear in court, a date and location will be specified on the ticket.
Contesting the Ticket
Very early on, you should decide whether you wish to contest the ticket. If a court appearance is not necessary, you can still choose to contest it, which will involve setting up a court date. If a court appearance is already mandatory, then that is when you will declare your intentions to contest the ticket. If you wish to go down this route, you should immediately speak with a traffic attorney. He or she will be able to give you information specific to your situation and to the state you are in.
Remember, you need to appear in the court corresponding to the county you were in when the ticket was issued. You cannot simply go to the court for your home county if you received the ticket while travelling. At your first court appearance, you can request to have the court location moved to your home county, but it is rare for these requests to be approved.
Finally, it is never a good idea to skip a mandatory court date. It is nice to hope the issue will simply go away on its own, but the consequence for skipping a required court appearance will always be much worse than simply going. Most likely, you will face a revoked license, jail time, and a steep fee.
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