The last thing anyone wants is to receive a ticket after getting pulled over by a police officer. Sometimes the officer will let you off with a warning, but other times they may be less generous. Once you’ve gotten the ticket, you may wonder if you can challenge it in court if you feel it was given unfairly. Pleading “not guilty” to a ticket isn’t the only option, however, as you can also try to get your fine reduced. Here are some important things to know about a traffic court hearing and what to expect if you plan on going.
Paying the Ticket
The path of less stress and hassle comes simply in the form of paying the ticket. Most of the time, you’ll have the option to pay it online or through the mail and be done with it. Just understand that paying it means you plead guilty.
Appearing Before a Judge
If you don’t have the funds to pay the fine written on the ticket, or if you feel you were treated unfairly but are still guilty, you can appear before a judge to make your case. The time and date to do so will be indicated on your ticket. When your case is called, you can make your argument before the judge; for example, if there was an emergency the day you were pulled over and that’s why you were speeding. It isn’t always guaranteed, but the judge has the right to reduce your fine if they feel swayed by your plea.
Pleading “Not Guilty”
If you feel you were not guilty of the reason for the ticket, you can plead “not guilty” before the judge in the same scenario as above. The judge will then set another date for your trial. This will include summoning the police officer who gave you the ticket.
At the Trial
Traffic court hearings are fairly straightforward and simple. If the officer who gave you the ticket does not show up, the judge will likely toss your case out altogether before it even begins. Otherwise, the officer will testify with any evidence for your ticket and you can ask them questions in cross examination. Then you can present any evidence and testify should you choose. The judge will take this into consideration and determine if you must pay the ticket or not.
If you find yourself in need of a traffic court hearing, consider consulting with a lawyer, like a criminal lawyer from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., about the details of your case. They can help you determine if it is worth your time.