Getting a traffic ticket can be a significant event for drivers. Most moving traffic violations require the driver to go to court and initially plead guilty or not guilty. Defendants who wish to defend their case are taken through a longer process of actively arguing the circumstances of their case against a prosecutor and judge. There are many intricacies in defending a case; drivers should learn these prior to attempting to fight their ticket.
Most supreme courts require the defendant to bring the complete bail amount with applicable traffic school and court fees regardless of whether the defendant will fight his ticket. The court uses this as a guarantee of the defendant's participation in the case. If the defendant wins the case or the case gets dismissed, the bail amount will be returned in full minus court fees. For people who are unable to pay the full amount by the court appearance date, they must contact the court beforehand to make arrangements for payment plans or paying at a later date.
Traffic Ticket Secrets, an online source for fighting traffic tickets, highly encourages defendants to get a copy of their driving history. A long and otherwise clean driving history goes a long way toward lowering or eliminating traffic fines; judges may be more lenient toward upstanding drivers who are concerned about the ticket and are regularly following traffic rules. This tactic is mainly used for plea bargains to lower the defendant's sentence.
Evidence Pictures and Video
People looking to fight and win their ticket should take pictures and videos of the violation site and collect these as evidence. Cases can be overturned because unclear traffic rules; for example, if a "no turn on red" sign was partially or fully blocked from the driver's point of view, this can be used to dismiss evidence taken by a security camera. Possible equipment malfunctions should be documented as well. A red light ticket can be overturned if it can be proven that the yellow light malfunctioned or changed lights too quickly -- yellow lights are required to stay on for several seconds as a buffer, the length of which depends on the state.
Insight: Necessity of Attorneys
Attorney services are particularly expensive and may be unnecessary for most traffic cases. World Law Direct suggests only using an attorney for cases with possible jail time. Some examples of these exceptional cases are driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, a hit and run accident or a felony case involving the driver's vehicle. Despite this, there are still advantages for using an attorney; he has an expert knowledge of traffic laws and has ongoing relationships with the court and most prosecutors which can be used to reduce sentences and fines. Defendants should assess the benefits and the costs of hiring an attorney on a case-by-case basis.