Getting a traffic ticket is not fun, but it happens to many people. A report from Governing shows that fines and fees generate about 10% of the budgets of almost 600 United States jurisdictions. A ticket is both annoying and pricey, but law enforcement officials will not stop issuing them. Although there is no fool-proof method of preventing one, avoid traffic violations to keep other road users and your loved ones safe and lower the chances of getting a ticket. You should also prepare for traffic court just in case something happens.
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Know What to Expect
Traffic court procedures are fairly routine. You will appear before a judge who will listen to the arguments in an open proceeding with other people waiting for their turn. Some of the things you should know are that you will need to show up on the date indicated on your subpoena, follow the instructions of the judge and court officials, and state the evidence and facts when presenting your case.
If you are facing serious or complicated charges, you should hire a lawyer. Doing so is particularly important if the ticket was issued at a special zone, received many speeding tickets within a short period, or cannot afford to earn more points on your license. Getting a traffic ticket outside your state or county and cannot travel for the hearing also warrants an attorney.
Contact the Court for Information
You can contact or visit the court indicated on the Notice to Appear to find out the procedure for handling your traffic violation. The court’s website can provide information on the date and place for the hearing and how to pay the ticket in person, online, by mail, or by phone. You may need to prepare a written notice to the court office’s clerk of certain jurisdictions indicating how you intend to handle your citation. Some of the options may include going to traffic school or asking for a court hearing.
Research and Organize Your Case
You would not want to appear in court without being prepared, as that wastes the court’s time and yours. Traffic courts are busy places that handle several cases every day, so before appearing in front of a judge to fight a traffic offense, ensure that you are prepared. Judges in these courts have heard all sorts of excuses, so gather your evidence, organize, and present it when your turn comes.
Pictures, diagrams, maps, and eyewitness accounts can be quite helpful to your case. Review the evidence, analyze the facts, and determine their connection to the law section you are charged with violating. If you wish to testify, you should be prepared to offer an honest, clear, and compelling account of what transpired.
Pick an Appropriate Outfit
What you wear to traffic court will be used to gauge the level of respect you have for the court and your professionalism. When picking clothes for court, go for a clean-cut attire without wrinkles or creases and avoid chewing gum, baseball caps, T-shirts, crop tops, strapless dresses or sundresses, muscle or sleeveless shirts, and jeans. Besides choosing the right clothes, do not over-accessorize and choose a simple, tidy hairstyle or haircut.
Some of the appropriate clothes include conservative attires that you can wear to work or church, like a suit or a nice dress. Make sure the clothes fit, remove your piercings, shave or trim your beard, wear less makeup, and put on deodorant.
Most drivers choose to pay for their traffic tickets instead of taking time out of their busy schedules to challenge them in court. While this presents an easy way of dealing with these tickets, going to court presents an opportunity for case dismissal or fewer fines.