Advice and tips on defending your traffic ticket in a court trial

If you have received what you perceive to be an unfair traffic citation and are preparing to fight it in court, then there are things you should know in order to be as prepared as possible to face the judge. Although most people assume that all they have to do is show up and state their case, there are other things that you should know and do in order to improve your chances of winning.

The first thing you should know is what the charge against you is. The police officer will have written it down as a code number. The corresponding infraction will normally be found on the reverse side of the ticket. You should know whether you are facing a civil infraction or a traffic misdemeanor. Once you know the charge, doing a little research to determine whether you really violated the law will help. If you are facing a civil infraction, then you can certainly handle the court proceeding yourself, although it would be a good idea to find out as much as you can about court protocol and procedure. However, if you are facing a traffic misdemeanor then you will face actual criminal charges and it would be best to hire a lawyer to help you navigate the court system.

There are two ways of building your defense:

  • Using a fact-based defense
  • Using a technical defense

You can also have a combination of both a fact-based and technical defense.

The fact-based defence involves stating all of the facts of your case. For instance if you were travelling along and were forced to swerve suddenly thereby cutting off a car in another lane because the traffic in front of you braked suddenly, that is a fact that needs to be stated. The police officer might not have been able to see what happened but it is a fact that is relevant to your defence. Writing down all of the facts you have in a detailed way from the time and place of the incident to what traffic conditions were like to the weather can all be vital facts that need to be presented in your defence. The minutiae of the incident including the colour of your hair probably won’t make a difference if the police officer cannot remember such things, but if the police officer makes a mistake on some of the bigger issues, then your whole ticket can be called into question.

The technical defence is one based on a problem with the signage that prevented you from knowing what you should and shouldn’t be doing. For example, if you got a parking ticket because you were parked illegally, but the “no parking” sign was missing or damaged, then that forms part of a technical defence. If the sign in question was obscured because of an overgrown tree, then it is worth taking pictures of the place, the tree and the sign to prove your point.

Only by being fully prepared will be have the best chance of getting your traffic citation dismissed.


Traffic Tickets   |  October 24th, 2010    | 


2 Responses to “Advice and tips on defending your traffic ticket in a court trial”

  1. I feel so much happier now I understand all this. Thanks!

  2. I got a ticket in Arkansas for an illegal U-turn off of Hwy 40 just outside (14 miles) of Memphis TN. There was a traffic jam approx 1 1/2 miles in length and I got a 6 month pregnant daughter in law in the car. We sat there for 20 minutes, then I got out and saw the length of the jam since we were at a dead stand still. Two or three cars just ahead of me went up a few yards from where I’m at and made the U-turn. A few minutes later a policeman shows up and is parked directly across form the turn around point. (Now this was a beaten down path without gravel but still quit distinctive). After 10 more minutes of not moving, my daught in law must use the bathroom so I moved up, made the U-turn and was then was pulled over and got a ticket.

    I find it odd that on some U-turns it’s posted but stating such or it will say “Authorized vehicles only” or a U-turn with a U and the circle cross in it but if you see one and it’s not marked, can you make a legal U-turn? And what do you do when you have extenuating circustances like the pregnant mother. This isn’t a little kid where they can get out the car, pee and get back in-

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