Category - Traffic Ticket Tips

Handling A Traffic Ticket The Right Way

How To Handle A Traffic Ticket

You’re driving down the street in a pretty good mood when all of a sudden you notice red and blue lights moving closer to the rear of your vehicle. Then you hear a loud siren that you recognize from the movies. It’s getting louder and louder. Within 10 seconds you realize you’re being pulled over for a traffic violation.

When the police officer approaches your window don’t be afraid, be respectful, and speak to him like you would anyone else. A lot of people are very nervous around police officers, mainly because they receive a lot of negative publicity. If you personally knew a police officer, you would realize that he would prefer to be treated as if wasn’t a bad guy, but just an individual doing his job.

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What To Do After You Receive A Traffic Ticket

When the 10 to 15 minute ordeal is over and the police officer drives away, you’re left with a piece of paper in your hand, the citation. After agreeing that you will appear at the courthouse within an allotted time regarding this citation, you may feel a bit confused.

Now what do you do? Being a Deputy Court Clerk for nearly 10 years let me offer you some helpful advice.

First, you don’t need to rush to the courthouse as soon as you get the ticket. Police officers don’t turn their ticket books in until their shift is over. Therefore, he will still have the court’s copy of your ticket his ticket book. So, if you happen to run to the court house minutes after you were issued the ticket, more than likely, you’ll be sent away by the court clerk until a later date because the court won’t have record of your citation.

Second, take the time to read the back of the citation in order to choose the best way to keep the violation off your record. It is very important to keep traffic violations off your driving record because many states are making it difficult for drivers with violations to remain on the road. Therefore, this step should not be ignored. If the information on the citation sounds confusing, simply contact the courthouse by calling the phone number listed on the citation. Since many court clerks have a heavy workload, you should call at least three times and ask questions to three different clerks. You’ll find that you won’t receive complete information if you don’t make at least 3 contacts.

Third, if you decide that you were not guilty of the offense and you want your day in court to express your opinion and disagreement with the ticket, this is your option. However, be aware in most small cities, you are rarely found not guilty for the offense. You may, at best, get a reduction in the fine and then offered Deferred Adjudication or Defensive Driving to prevent the traffic violation from appearing on your record. But no matter what amount your fine is set at, you should be aware that there are court costs, which are really state fees, added to each fine amount. So even if the Judge sets your fine for $1.00 you’ll still pay at least a $50.00 payment because state fees will be included.

Whatever option you choose to handle your violations don’t forget to follow through because there is little mercy offered to those who choose to ignore their order from the court.

However, if something detrimental happens in your family and you’ve missed the due date of your fine or your court date, simply find out what the Judge’s name is and send him a letter as soon as you can with a detailed explanation for your non-compliance. Even a Judge can be understanding.

When you get a ticket it doesn’t make you a bad person and it shouldn’t even ruin your day. Just remember, there is a wide array of people that have received citations, young and old, rich and famous, even those riding bikes.

Do Not Ignore Your Traffic Ticket!

Just keep the ordeal in perspective and handle your citation responsibly just as you would a light bill or telephone bill. Don’t ignore it because it won’t go away.

Although you may be able to live with a candle instead of a light bulb or email instead of using a telephone, the negative effect of not taking care of a citation issued to you is an arrest warrant. If you’re issued an arrest warrant for your citation, the fine more than doubles and you are no longer afforded many of the options initially offered to you.

Therefore, if you receive a citation, immediately, put it somewhere you can remember it and in the forefront of your mind until it’s taken care of. This action will prevent further frustrations and annoyances when handling a traffic citation within the Justice System.

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5 Fun Ways to Get Out of Speeding Tickets

From VASCAR calculators to hidden cameras, radars and known-location speed cameras, police departments have every angle covered when it comes to catching traffic violators. In some states, they have even more — they have slanted laws that favor the evidence from the devices. In the state of Vermont, for instance, the law assumes that police officers have inbuilt radars — they are allowed to guess at the speed of a vehicle and have their guess stand in court.

Since you can’t catch every speed sign as you drive, it can make sense to constantly keep an eye on the way the traffic around you behaves. If drivers around you seem to be slowing down, you should too, even when you haven’t seen a sign asking you to slow down. It also pays to keep a low profile. For instance, if you have a sports car, you should know that the police expect you to speed and watch you closely when they can. You have less room for mistakes than someone who drives a minivan. You’ll need to be extra careful.

Here are a few more specific tips on what you can do to avoid speeding tickets.

If you’re pulled over, watch your mouth

It’s a good idea to be friendly and polite to a policeman who pulls you over. Friendliness, though, doesn’t need to involve being chatty. The more you talk, the greater the risk that you will accidentally incriminate yourself in some way. It’s important to say as little as possible. When pulled over, you are only required to follow instructions — not answer questions. If the policeman asks you for any information, you can ask to speak to your lawyer. It’s important to remember to be polite through the process. The more antagonistic you are, the more violations the police are likely to write you up for.

After you’re written up, challenge the legality of the ticket

Equipment that’s used to measure a vehicle’s speed usually needs regular calibration if it is to not show incorrect readings. Police departments, though, are often too busy to make time for equipment calibration. If you’ve been caught, chances are that the measuring device is a poorly calibrated unit. All you need to do to get rid of such a ticket is to challenge the police department in court for using poorly maintained equipment. The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to ask for calibration information.

If you were measured with a laser device, the ticket is automatically thrown out by the court because laser devices cannot be calibrated. You simply need to show up and challenge it.

If yours is a photo ticket (a speeding ticket based on evidence from an automatic camera), the law in many states requires that the forensics expert who analyzed the photo to determine your speed needs be present in court. This is because the law allows you the right to “face in your accuser.” Often, though, police departments are too understaffed to be able to spare their forensic experts. If you show up, then, you win by default.

Beat the ticket on a technicality

Every driver should look up the manual on uniform traffic control devices on the Internet at mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/ser-shs_millennium.htm. This document details the exact approved design for every kind of traffic sign — typeface, size, color and so on. A significant proportion of the signs you see on the streets are not up to spec. You should check the speed sign that you are supposed to have violated to see if it’s actually up to code. If it isn’t, mentioning it in court will get you out of the charge.

Other technicalities

In any legal case, you can have your credibility and integrity questioned if you mis-remember one detail from one court hearing or police hearing to the next. You can use this devotion to technical accuracy in your favor. Unless it is illegal in your state to record conversations with the police (it is illegal in Maryland, for instance), you should be alert enough to switch on your cellphone’s recording mode as soon as you are pulled over. Then, you should compare the language used in the court filing with what you hear in your recording. If there is a contradiction, you will easily win.

Another example of a technical violation would be inadequate pacing. Usually, the law requires that an officer follow you for between a third of a mile and half a mile before stopping you. You need to ask the officer if he actually did it. Officers often neglect to follow protocol.