There’s a lot that can happen when you get a traffic ticket. You could potentially have a lot at stake if there are already points on your license or if your insurance premiums stand to go up. So yes, it’s a very wise thought to consider whether or not you can fight a traffic ticket in a court of law. In some cases this may absolutely be your best option as even if you can’t get it dismissed, you may be able to hire an attorney who can help get the penalties for the ticket reduced to a minimum.
Can a Traffic Ticket Be Beaten?
Many people think that trying to fight a traffic ticket is a foolish cause because the chances of beating them are slim to none. This is just not the case. In fact, traffic tickets are beaten all the time and can be one of the easiest to defeat legal infractions (depending on the circumstances).
The fact of the matter is officers often need to fill quotas on issuing tickets. That means they will issue tickets even if they know a well-defended case in court would get the defendant off. Why? Because they also know only 3% of people who receive a ticket will ever try to fight it. So right away, never assume anything about whether or not your ticket can be fought in court.
Does it Make Sense to Fight THIS Particular Ticket?
So since tickets can be beaten, you need to determine whether or not your particular ticket is worth fighting. Clearly in a situation where you know an officer made a mistake your chances of winning are likely higher than one where you know they were correct in issuing you the ticket, but to be honest, things are not so cut and dry. There are a few other things that you should consider.
The first of these is the seriousness of the infraction. The more serious the ticket, the more points will go on your license, the larger the fine, and the greater the chances are that you lose your driving privileges. Clearly you should hire a qualified attorney and fight to get your penalties reduced in such situations where you stand to lose a lot. The investment at that point makes sense because of what is at stake.
Additionally, by challenging a serious charge (or any for that matter) you give yourself time to research the issue and collect the evidence you’ll need to better assess your chances. Shooting for a plea-bargain for a less serious offense may be a valid option, but you’ll never know if you don’t give yourself the time you need to research it by challenging the ticket.
What many people don’t realize as well is that they don’t understand traffic law as well as they believe they do. For example, several states have laws about posted speed limits that make it clear these are not “absolute” this gives you room to perhaps establish a defense for yourself. In another example, if cited for an “unsafe” lane change that didn’t result in an accident – there is room to argue you were correct and not the officer because lane changes are indeed a “judgement call.” An experience traffic attorney will be able to help you understand your options, so challenge your ticket to give yourself time to consult with one.
Fight or Fold? A Checklist to Help You Decide
Before ending this discussion, I’d like to leave you with a checklist to go over to help you decide whether or not your ticket is worth fighting:
- Take a moment to use the internet to research the law you are accused of violating. Read it through and assess whether or not you believe you broke the law is it is stated.
- Examine the possible penalties for your ticket. Even if you know you broke the law, fighting a conviction on a technicality to save your license can help avoid fines and other penalties.
- Consider if you have the time and resources available to fight the ticket. It may be a commitment that is ultimately not worth the penalties you’d incur if you just went and paid it.
- Consider your unique circumstances in relation to the penalties. Have you had other tickets recently? Is your license close to being suspended? Will you have to go to driving school you know you don’t have time for? Make sure you consider your specific circumstances.
- Consider the citation itself: How clear of a view did the officer have? Could it be argued that they didn’t have a good enough view to ascertain if you indeed did violate a traffic law? This can be argued in a court of law by an experience traffic attorney.
- Is there a chance the officer stopped the wrong vehicle? Were there other identical cars driving similarly to how you were near you? There’s no reason to assume the officer saw you if you have any doubt about whether or not you caused the infraction they said. A common example of this is when you pass a speeding trap in traffic.
- Did you notice any provable mistakes or errors made by the citing officer?
- Are there any possible forms of legal defense for the infraction you committed? One example is driving too slowly in a left hand lane when you are only there to make a left-hand-only turn. There are other defenses an experienced traffic attorney will be able to go over with you.
Still have questions?
Please call us for a free appointment with Miami business attorney Yoel Molina in our Miami office at 305-548-5020.