How to Plead Guilty by Letter

By Stephen Saylor
Tickets cost less if you pay them early.

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When responding to a traffic ticket, denial of guilt may not be the best move. Sometimes we speed and get caught. There is hardly a driver who has not committed a rolling stop. Our impulse to deny guilt is so strong that it takes real effort to accept responsibility and consequences and write a letter to the court pleading guilty. This may be the quickest way to get on with the process of either going to traffic school or clearing your driving record over time.

Jot down the details of your citation number, date, the citing officer, the place, the vehicle plate information and the date you are ordered to appear. This order to appear could mean to respond in person or in writing to the court. Your written response fulfills this order to appear in most cases. Be sure that your case does not require a physical appearance before the judge.

In your brief letter, include the basic facts of the case with all pertinent information from the citation. Explain what you did and why you did it. Make reference to your prior clear record, if that is the case. Request to attend traffic school, to have a reduction of fine or to make payments as your needs may dictate.

Be sure to sign the letter legibly. Include your home address, phone number, email and alternate phone number if necessary. Include a check or money order for the full amount or for a partial amount if you are unable to pay the total at that time. You may also have requested an extension in time to pay the debt.

Consider pleading guilty. Being honest with yourself when you are in the wrong is character forming. It makes you a better person, citizen and driver. It frees the court system for cases that really need to be heard. It keeps officers on the streets who need to be protecting and serving the community. It saves you time in dealing with the consequences of your own misconduct.

About the Author

Stephen Saylor is a bilingual educator and translator who has been writing since 2005. He has contributed articles to websites such as rockeros.net and XtremeMusic. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts in education from San Diego State University.

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