Things to Bring to Court for a Traffic Ticket

Police traffic stop at night with motorcycle pulled over
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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 want to defend the case are taken through a longer process of actively arguing the circumstances against a prosecutor and judge. There are many intricacies in defending a case; drivers should learn these prior to attempting to fight a ticket.

Bail Amount

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 the 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, payment plan arrangements must be made with the court beforehand.

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. Drivers should take a full driving history to court. This is mainly used for plea bargains to lower the defendant’s sentence.

Evidence Pictures and Video

People looking to fight and win should take pictures and videos of the violation site and collect these as evidence. Cases can be overturned because of 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 traffic cases without the possibility of jail time. Some examples of cases where an attorney is recommended 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 to using an attorney. A lawyer will have an expert knowledge of traffic laws and an ongoing relationship 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.


  • Prepare a legal packet containing a full driving history and any evidence related to a traffic stop or violation to court. In some instances, bail money and an attorney may be needed.

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