If you’ve recently gotten a traffic ticket, you’ve probably gone through the same thought process most of us do when that happens. At first you are annoyed or upset, then you start to wonder what the best thing to do might be. How will this affect my license and driving privileges? Is paying the ticket the best choice? What about insurance rates? Well, can the ticket be fought in a court of law?
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:
Still have questions?
Please call us for a free appointment with Miami business attorney Yoel Molina in our Miami office at 305-548-5020.