There are different questions you have asked. One is "Can I represent myself." Your wife could represent herself, but unless you are an attorney, you cannot represent her. It is not a good idea for your wife to represent herself. You are more than likely not going to get a trial by jury with a traffic ticket of following too closely, but you could try. What the responding officer said is technically correct but it is totally understandable why you wouldnt want a vehicle to slam into yours with young children in the back. If she has witnesses, she should get them as soon as possible -- their names, numbers, and addresses. I think you will be able to find an attorney to represent her for this matter at a reasonable price. If she has a clean driving history, it also helps.
I agree with the answer above. You should speak to a criminal defense attorney who handles traffic citations.
Unless you are a lawyer, you cannot represent her. That's a serious crime. So you won't get to speak. And that's a good thing. This is a case where a lawyer will know how to present the case. Depending on the details, which court and her record, she may be able to work out a plea deal to a non-reporting offense, or come up with other alternatives.
A trial by jury is probably a bad idea. Without a lawyer that will be a disaster, and although with one, things may go okay, the cost would be huge. See a lawyer, weigh the options and there likely are cost effective answers.
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Best bet is to spend a couple hundred bucks for a traffic court lawyer that handles cases in that court, so you have a chance at a favorable resolution.
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You can not represent her unless you are an attorney. If she want a jury trial she will need an attorney.
Darrell B. Reynolds, Sr.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
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