Do You Have To Go To Court For a Traffic Ticket?
If you’ve been pulled over for a speeding ticket or other traffic offense, the police officer probably told you that you need to appear in court. If your heart fell into your stomach, don’t panic right away. You do have options. Slow down. Get to where you need to be. Read the fine print on the ticket. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the ticket. Make a note about the dates on the ticket. Put it on your calendar. Make some notes about the circumstances. Was the speed limit sign hidden? What was the weather like? What were the driving conditions? If you decide to fight your ticket, you’ll want this information. If you can take pictures safely, you may want to take the time to do so.
You Can Just Pay the Ticket
If you look closely at the ticket, there’s generally an option to mail your fine to the court and just be done with it. However, by paying the ticket by mail, you are essentially pleading guilty. Even if there is a box for “nolo contendere,” you are saying that you are guilty and you just don’t want to contest the ticket. If you send in the ticket, it will go on your record. One speeding ticket may not seem like a bad thing. It might only be one or two points on your driving record. If you have more points already on your record, you may want to reconsider.
You Can Go to Court
Going to court can often give you a better outcome. If you go to court, you’ll be given a chance to argue your side of the story and ask questions of the officer. This is not the time to get personal. This is the time to nail down the specifics of your case. Find out how the officer knew you were speeding. Ask if the instrument had been recently calibrated. Your case may even be dismissed if the officer doesn’t appear in court.
You Might Have the Option to Go to a Driving Class
If you believe you’re guilty, but don’t want the points on your record, you may have an option to attend a driving class instead of taking the negative consequences. Depending on the county where you got the ticket, you may even be able to plead to a lesser charge. Sometimes, you need to ask for options to keep a ticket off your record.
Talk to a Carroll County, VA traffic lawyer who can help you explore your options and learn more about the consequences for your situation.
Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into traffic law and going to court after getting a ticket.