When you get a traffic ticket, the officer may point out the court date to appear before the judge to take care of your ticket. It’s a good idea to make a note of that date to make sure you don’t miss it. Although you don’t need to go to court, you can potentially get a better outcome by presenting information that invalidates your ticket. You may be able to get the fine lowered or even removed completely. Some charges, such as reckless endangerment or a DUI, may require a court appearance, but you could probably just plead “no contest” to a speeding ticket without having to appear in court.
Should You Go to Court or Not?
Only you can determine the best course of action for your situation. Pleading to a ticket is usually the least hassle. But it does go on your record. You do have to pay the fine, which can be expensive. If you already have a few points on your driving record, one more ticket could put you in jeopardy of losing your license. It can be worth fighting it. More points on your record also equates to higher insurance rates. Although going to court can be time consuming, it might be better in the long game.
Prepare For Court
If you’re planning on fighting your ticket, you’ll want to get prepared. Arguing that you shouldn’t have gotten a speeding ticket because you were running late for something important is just admitting guilt. You need a valid defense against the charge. A common defense for speeding tickets is to challenge the speed-measuring device. Red light cameras are often challenged because the images aren’t clear. A lawyer can help you find the right argument to make to beat the ticket in your case.
Be Respectful of the Court’s Procedures
On the day of court, you’ll want to dress appropriately. Traffic court may not seem as formal as criminal court, but you do need to show respect for the procedures. No jeans, t-shirts, baseball caps or dirty clothes. Think business casual or better. You will likely have to wait for your turn. The court will try to get through cases quickly. You need to be prepared to speak when your case is called. Address the judge and other parties respectfully.