How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Court


Traffic court is not your typical Judge Judy or Judge Brown Show. Having witnessed several traffic court proceedings and had a fair dose of court TV, I think traffic court would certainly make tons of money if it is turned into TV show.

No one likes to get pulled over by the cops for mistakenly running a red light or going over the speed limit if you are super late say for a job interview and the reasons are many. For most people who do not realize that in traffic court you are guilty until proven innocent, they are in for a tough ride.

In 99% of the cases, the judge rules in favour of the cops. Well, it is not as simple as that though. Typically, the cop will look and sound professional so the judge is more likely to buy his/her story. The cop does not need to have a camera mounted on his car to prove the offence committed. All he/she needs to do is show that protocol was followed and that he/she complied fully with the law and all proceedings with regards to the situation encountered were followed accordingly.

Besides the fact that the cops often convincingly tell their stories, in about 99% of the cases, the defendant is usually guilty. For some reason, none of us like to be pronounced guilty or convicted of minor traffic offences. No one would believe any story that says the cop was just sitting by waiting to pull you over and when you showed up, that was what exactly happened. Most of those getting pulled probably do not have any relationship of some sort with the cop or even remotely know each other. So, the judge does give more credence to the cop and with that goes the benefit of doubt.

If you do find yourself having to fight a traffic ticket in court, there are simple things to do to ensure that you do not get convicted or even when your are found guilty, try to make the legal process last as long as possible.

When you do get pulled over and you are asked if you know why you got pulled over, make sure to say no. Second, do not try to get into any shouting match with the cop and any argument of some sort. That would not help your case as the cop will be writing down everything you say.

Also, whatever the cop says, try to respond politely. You may just get forgiven for politeness. If the cop does issue you are ticket, do not argue. Say thank you and ask how you can make the payment. He is likely to explain all the payment options for that jurisdiction. Pretend to be ignorant and ask if the payment could be made immediately and so on. Again, do not argue whatsoever. That would not help your cause. Try to give the cop the impression that he does not have to worry about the ticket any longer and you would be dashing to make payment the next day.

Having the done, the cop would have little to write about the incidence and he/she is unlikely to remember you. Those who make a lot of noise at traffic pullovers have little idea what they are into. If it so happens that they challenge the ticket in court, the officer is likely to produce a significant evidence he wrote down and would probably have a mental picture of the situation just because of the the fuss they created. The judge after hearing such mounting, negative and documented evidence against the defendant is largely to rule in favour of the cop.

If you kept calm and played along with the cop, he/she might not have written anything. With no evidence, and you challenging the ticket, the cop would try to save his/herself from embarrassment and fail to show up. Whenever the cop fails to show up in court, that is good news for you, The prosecutor will withdraw the charge immediately and the case would be thrown out.

Traffic courts have a long waiting list of cases and whenever someone challenges a ticket, it usually takes months for it to be brought to trial. Now, before your court date is up, head back to court and request an adjournment of the case. Also request the paper work alleging the offence you committed. Because of the backlog, your case would be moved several months again. Do and abuse that for as long as you can. That is the technical legal delay process. It always works in your favour. One, it postpones when you could be convicted and that may cost you a job. Two, it does not cost you anything and the judge can never rule against you because the case was adjourned.

You could get lucky and the cop gets transferred or moves from that city. If that happens, then luck is on your side. Play the luck card until it happens. Now, when your court day finally arrives, make sure you show up otherwise you are automatically convicted. Getting a retrial is another long legal process and unless you have a solid reason for not showing up, the judge won't retry the case.

Always, prepare before court day. Make sure to recount everything that happened and can recite it with some degree of professionalism. Master everything you see in the police report you requested. Try to find any inconsistency in the cop's story. Inconsistency supports your theory of what happened and the judge is likely to rule in your favour if you raise enough doubt about the report.

No cursing or shouting is allowed in court. Never try to interrupt the judge. These will only make the judge rule against you. Stay polite even if the judge convicts you. You may get charged again for interrupting court proceedings. That charge may count more than your minor traffic ticket.

Good luck with your court challenge!!

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