Traffic Court Lawyers
What is Traffic Court?
Traffic court is a special type of judicial process intended for people to handle traffic ticket violations and cases. At traffic court, persons who have been given a citation for a traffic-related violation can enter a plea and take steps to have their case completed, often by paying a fine. They can also take other steps such as contesting a ticket or asking for a fine or sentence reduction.
At traffic court, the court will first call all the parties inside of the courtroom. Many defendants will be in the same room at the same time, and each will have their case heard by a judge one after another. The defendants may represent themselves or choose to have a traffic ticket attorney represent them.
The judge will then hear and review any motions that a person might request, including a request to dismiss the case or a request for a continuance. At a traffic court hearing, the judge might also call the prosecution and defense to present their statements, as well as call on any witnesses. In some cases, the judge may simply speak with the defendant to have their violation sorted out and resolved.
Once all the procedures are run through, the judge may issue a verdict. Depending on the verdict, this may result in the defendant having the case dropped or dismissed. If found guilty, they may have to pay fines, take traffic school, or in some cases, serve a jail sentence. Some cases may be appealed as well.
What is a Speeding and Moving Violation?
In most instances, the legal violation involved in a traffic ticket will be some kind of speeding and moving violation. These types of violations usually occur when the vehicle is in motion, rather than stationary. They may involve issues like:
- Driving recklessly or dangerously;
- Driving while under the influence;
- Exhibitions of speed;
- Failure to follow traffic rules (such as not stopping at a red light);
- Racing; and
- Various other violations.
In some cases, speeding and moving violations and other tickets may involve or lead to a car search. These must also be dealt with, especially if the search reveals any illegal items or contraband.
Not all traffic court cases involve speeding or moving violations, however. A common example of a non-moving traffic violation is where a person is cited for having outdated license plates or registration stickers. Illegal parking is also a common non-moving violation; in some states, keeping a non-operating vehicle parked on the street for too long might also lead to a violation.
Is it Possible to Successfully Argue Your Way Out of a Traffic Ticket?
Being arrested for a minor traffic violation, or even undergoing a simple traffic stop, does not automatically mean that you are guilty of a crime. The court must still prove whether you are guilty or not based on an examination of all the evidence.
Fighting a traffic ticket is often possible in many situations. For instance, fighting a traffic ticket or other violation can sometimes be challenged through various arguments, like:
- Mistake of Fact: Your case might be dismissed if you can prove to the judge that there was a mistake made. For instance, if you can show that a stop sign was obstructed or not visible from your viewpoint, it could help to dismiss a ticket for failure to stop;
- Conduct was Legally Justified: It might be possible for you to contest your ticket by showing that your conduct was legally justified (for instance, if you were pulling over or slowing down because there was an emergency vehicle en route approaching);
- Challenging an Officer’s Observations: It can sometimes be possible to present evidence that challenges a police officer’s observations.
- For instance, if you received a parking ticket for being parked in a red zone, and you can show that the curb was not actually painted red, it might help to dismiss your case. Other evidence that can help include witness statements, photos, and video of the scene;
- Conduct to Avoid Harm: If you were cited for certain actions, and you can show that your conduct was necessary to avoid harm, it might be a defense for your case. A common example of this is where a car swerves to avoid being struck by a drunk driver.
In some cases, simply showing up to court can help your case. In many instances, the officer who wrote the ticket must be there at the specific court date when you are called. In many jurisdictions, if the officer doesn’t show up, your case might be dismissed or withdrawn. This may vary from court to court, however. This is a common scenario also for violations resulting from surveillance camera traffic tickets.
Also, you may have other options, such has having the punishments for a traffic ticket reduced. This might be the case for instance if you are allowed to attend traffic school for your violation.
Most traffic tickets are considered citations, and will result in a small fine. Some violations, however, may result in misdemeanor traffic offenses or even felony traffic offenses (especially if someone was killed or injured).
These types of cases may involve higher criminal fines and/or jail or prison time. Part of traffic court may be entering a plea to have a felony reduced to a misdemeanor. Having a traffic ticket lawyer on hand may help tremendously in these types of situations.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Traffic Court?
Traffic court can sometimes involve very serious legal issues, especially for a felony ticket or other serious violations. It may be in your best interests to hire a lawyer near you if need help with any type of traffic violation. It’s especially important to secure legal representation in cases where you may face punishments such as jail time or a loss of driving privileges, or if you are a repeat offender.