Is It Best to Go to Court to Fight a Traffic Ticket?
Getting a traffic ticket is often inevitable if you are a driver. I have had my fair share of traffic tickets in my lifetime. I have always wondered what the best plan of attack to handle these traffic tickets is. Should I just pay the ticket, go to traffic school, or appear in court to fight the ticket? I did some research to see what is the best course of action.
Should you appear in person for court for a traffic ticket? The answer to this question is based on your situation. If you are a person that rarely gets tickets, it might be easier to pay for the ticket. Going to court to fight a traffic ticket is in your best interest-
- If you are innocent of the traffic offense.
- If you want a chance to not get points on your license.
- If you do not want to pay for the ticket.
- If you want the option of attending traffic school.
- If you want a possible reduction in the ticket cost.
Continue reading to discover what you need to know regarding appearing in person in court for a traffic ticket. In this post, I will discuss the pros and cons of appearing in court or otherwise when you have a traffic ticket, traffic court fees, traffic school, and when to get a lawyer.
Attending Court for a Traffic Ticket
Your choice to attend court in person for a ticket is a personal decision based on your circumstances. Some people just do not like the court system, so they rather say out of court!
However, if you feel like you have not committed the traffic offense, you might want your day in court to defend yourself.
If you are a person who never gets tickets or you do not get tickets very often, you might just want to pay the ticket to be done with it.
If you do not want to have points put on or taken away from your license, it is best to attend court.
You request points to the judge. The point system and how a traffic offense affects it varies from state to state. Also, the number of points on your license could affect how much you pay for your car insurance. So it could be worth your while to go to court in person.
Send An Attorney Instead
If you do not want to pay the ticket, going to court or sending an expert attorney might be best. They can fight your ticket and most likely get you a favorable outcome. At times appearing in person in court will allow you to attend traffic school instead of receiving points on your license.
Lastly, if you appear in court, the judge can decrease the ticket amount and even waive the ticket fee altogether. However, in most courts, the judge will often assign court fees even if they do not make you pay the ticket.
Another good option is to get a lawyer to represent you in court. Some attorneys specialize in defending traffic citations in court. This might be the best alternative for you, depending on your circumstances. You will have to pay attorney fees, but this could be the best avenue you can take based on your situation.
Should I Represent Myself or Get an Attorney?
When dealing with a traffic ticket issue, we do not realize our options. One of those options includes getting professional legal representation. This is the next best thing to appearing in court yourself.
If you attain an attorney skilled in handling traffic citations in court, it could be your best solution to your best outcomes.
Your attorney can fight for you to get the least adverse effects on your license. They can fight for the points on your license and ticket fees.
The only trade-off is that you will have to pay an attorney for their services. These costs could outweigh or equal the price of the ticket. However, if you need or prefer legal representation and can afford it, it could be your best choice!
The Option of Traffic School
Going to court and asking the judge to attend traffic school might be a good option for some individuals. Often, if you attend traffic school, the judge will dismiss your ticket, possibly not access violation points, or reduce the severity of your ticket.
This will save you a lot of pain and heartache in the future. If you have a certain number of points against your license, the state can suspend your license, and you possibly will have to pay other fees to get it reinstated. Another benefit of attending traffic school is that it can assist with your car insurance premium not increasing.
In traffic school, you will learn defensive driving, basic traffic laws, safety procedures, and other things that will improve your driving skills. Traffic school content is based on the traffic laws of the state you reside. If you complete traffic school, you will have to submit your certificate of completion to the court to receive the program’s advantages towards your citation.
How To Fight Your Ticket in Court
There are many strategies you can employ to handle your ticket in court. The first and most straightforward strategy is just to show up. Generally, if the officer who wrote the ticket does not show up, the court judges the case in your favor and dismisses the ticket.
You will, however, have to pay court fees which might be the same cost as the ticket.
You can also challenge the officer’s conclusion in assessing the ticket. You would have to prove you were driving safely based on the conditions of the road and the weather. You can also show that the ticket resulted from circumstances beyond your control.
The judge might grant you some leeway regarding the ticket in such cases. You can also prove that you were in an emergency, and you had to commit the traffic violation to avoid greater harm. If you need help with any of these defenses, it might be best to get legal representation to assist you with your case.
What is the difference between fines and court fees for a traffic citation? Court costs are separate from a fine. They are the amount of money a defendant must pay if they go to court and plead no contest or are found guilty or plead guilty for their traffic citation. Court costs are the fees paid to reimburse the court.
Court costs are used to maintain the courthouse facilities, pay court workers, and maintain operations equipment. If you go to court and are found not guilty, you will not pay court costs. You pay court costs one time, no matter how many times you appear in court or how many tickets you receive. Fines can vary depending on the offense and your state.
Fines are meant to penalize you for committing a traffic offense. Fines are given by the judge and are given based on his discretion. He will look at your traffic offense, your history or record, and the outcome of the ticket, among other things.
How can I avoid court costs? The best way to avoid court costs is not to attend court! Some offenses do not necessarily require that you appear in court. Offenses such as certain speeding tickets, seat belt tickets, accident tickets (without personal injury), and others do not require that you make a court appearance.
For things such as this, you can just pay the ticket. However, if you just pay the ticket, you still receive the adverse consequences (points on license, car insurance increases, etc.) associated with having a traffic ticket. The only other way to avoid court costs is to get your ticket dismissed or win at trial. Keep in mind that once you decide to appear in court, you no longer have the option to just pay your ticket to avoid court costs.
When are court costs and fines due? Court costs and fines are due immediately. In most situations, if you need more time to pay your court costs or fines, it will be extended to you. Timeframes can typically range from 60 days to 1 year to pay your costs and fines. This will depend on the court regulations, your judge, the type of offense, and the amount due. Court costs and fees can range depending on the traffic offense.
They can start small and reach in the thousands of dollars. The important part is to be truthful with the judge if you know you will have problems paying the associated costs and fines. You also might have the option of having your court costs waived. This process typically involves legal aid to help you prove your inability to pay.
Courts have different regulations, but this could be an option for you, especially if you are already on public assistance or if paying court fees would cause a financial hardship for you to support your family and pay your court fees.