Here is a step-by-step guide to traffic infractions. Remember that each case is unique and requires personalized attention. Please contact our office for further information.
Step 1: Paying for a ticket
First, it is probably a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney. It is the only way to protect your driving record. Although some people will choose to handle their traffic infractions on their own, many end up with the citations on their record.
If you choose to simply pay for a ticket, it means you are admitting to the infraction and thus Department of Licensing will be notified and your insurance company will have access to your record and can increase your insurance rates.
Step 2: Mitigation
Mitigation is another option that is provided on the traffic citation itself. Although it may seem like a good idea to mitigate a moving violation (such as a speeding ticket), the court will still require an explanation as to why the citation should be lowered. And even with a mitigating factor, you answer committed to this citation and it will become part of your driving record. But you will likely pay less than the face value of the ticket.
Step 3: Contest
Next, there is the option to contest your ticket. Many people believe that they can explain to the judge that there is no way the officer could have gotten a specific reading on their vehicle, when there are many other cars on the road. This is an argument that is litigated regularly by non-attorneys and the judge will probably not find in your favor. Another typical argument we hear in court is that everyone else was also going above the speed limit-the judge will usually respond by saying *touch luck* because that is no excuse that YOU should go over the speed limit.
In a contested hearing, you will be allowed to present your evidence and the prosecutor will be allowed to present their evidence. The burden is much lower for the prosecutor, so if more likely than not you did commit the violation, you will probably lose. Also remember that the officer is not required to show you his Radar/Lidar gun when he clocks you and the officer will not automatically show up to a contested hearing, unless you subpoena him or her.
Step 4: Deferral
Lastly, there is an option of deferring your traffic ticket. All of us (not CDL drivers) get 2 deferrals every 7 years - One for a moving violation (such as speeding) and one for anon-moving violation. These deferrals come with specific requirements that must be followed, but if successful, at the end of the deferral term, your ticket will be dismissed.
Additional resources provided by the author
There are also many other nuances that must be taken into account when handling traffic citations, so please consult with an attorney and drive safe!
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