Nothing feels worse than seeing those blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror when cruising down the highway. Whether you were in a rush or your mind just wandered, and you were not paying attention to the traffic rules, receiving that ticket is nothing short of frustrating.
Apart from ruining your day, a traffic ticket can expose you to a huge financial burden through fines or insurance premiums. But the good news is, you can lower the financial burden or even have the tickets dismissed altogether. Wondering how? Read on to learn more.
Getting your ticket dismissed: 3 tips
1. Ask the officer
Yes, sometimes, it’s as easy as just asking the officer for some leniency.
If you had a positive interaction with the police officer, you can simply ask them to dismiss your ticket. Giving the officer a genuine heart-tugging reason might also appeal to their emotions, and they might decide to dismiss your ticket.
For example, if you were speeding to the hospital to save your loved one’s life, the police officer might consider the situation and forgive your circumstances.
What if your initial ask was unsuccessful?
Ask the officer for a withheld of adjudication. This will keep you from getting points on your driving record.
2. Prepare a good defense
Many people choose to contest their traffic ticket in court rather than pay. This is especially true if the ticket is expensive or if it will raise their insurance premiums.
If you decide to fight your ticket in court, it is important that you prepare yourself beforehand for the best chance of success.
Here are a few things you can do in preparation for your ticket case:
Keep a detailed account of what happened
Keep a clear record of what happened before the officer issued you the ticket. Take note of the day, time, location, circumstances, and anything else you might find necessary for your case.
Hire an experienced lawyer to help you put up a good defense in court
If you are not confident about representing yourself in court, you might want to hire an experienced lawyer to fight off the case on your behalf.
Dressing well is a surefire way of making a first good impression in the courtroom.
In addition to dressing, ensure you stand when addressing the court and always maintain eye contact. A little etiquette too goes a long way when you have a lot at stake in court.
Practice how to speak in court
Here are a few tips and key terms you should consider using when fighting a traffic ticket:
- Not guilty
- Always speak calmly and clearly
- Explain in detail
- Present your evidence and argue your case convincingly
Familiarize yourself with the best possible defenses to present in court
If you’ve decided to represent yourself, familiarize yourself with some good defenses for the best chances of winning. Here are some good defenses that can succeed in court:
a. Incorrect ticket information
Errors made by officers are often valid grounds for ticket dismissal. Once you receive your ticket, therefore, make sure to check it for possible errors. Some common errors officers tend to make include things such as wrong license plate number, incorrect date, or wrong location of the offense.
Depending on the judge, even the smallest of errors can result in the dismissal of your ticket.
b. Faulty equipment
While this is often not the easiest thing to prove, providing evidence that the equipment used by the officer was faulty can have your case dismissed.
For example, if you are certain that the radar gun used by the officer was faulty, you can present your evidence in court when arguing your case.
c. Show that your conduct was a result of a “mistake of fact”
Judges are allowed to dismiss the ticket if the mistake was made in a circumstance that was beyond the offender’s control. If you can prove to the court your mistake was an honest error, then the judge might give you some leeway.
For example, if you missed a stop sign while driving because it was partially blocked by a tree branch, the judge might accept this as a “mistake of fact”.
d. First offense
If it’s your first offense, there’s a chance the judge will be sympathetic and dismiss your speeding ticket. While you shouldn’t necessarily count on this, most judges will be willing to let you off the hook if your driving record is clean.
3. Take a defensive driving course
Some states allow for the dismissal of tickets for drivers willing to complete a defensive driving course.
A defensive driving course is a short course that helps you brush up on your driving skills and improve your traffic safety knowledge. Taking the course shows the judge that you are working towards improving your driving skills and conduct on the road.
In defensive driving courses, you get to learn defensive driving skills, traffic laws, and how to avoid accidents on the road. Most courses can be completed within 4- 6 hours and can be taken online.
Apart from having your ticket dismissed, there are a few other ways you’ll benefit from a defensive driving course. Here are a few:
a. Avoid adding more points to your driving record
Defensive driving can help you avoid having more points added to your license. Points on your record indicate the number of cases you’ve been or tickets you’ve received. The more points you have, the closer you are to having your license suspended.
For example in New York, if you get 11 points within a period of 18 months you might have your license suspended.
b. Qualify for an insurance discount
A defensive driving course allows you to qualify for a car insurance discount. Depending on the state, your insurance rate may be lowered by 5 – 10%. This allows you to save money on your monthly premiums.
Final thoughts on how to get your ticket dismissed
You can never be too prepared when it comes to a traffic ticket. If you’re pulled over for a traffic violation, keep in mind you have a few other options than just paying the fine. We hope this article has helped you learn some of these options and legal processes you can follow to get your ticket dismissed.