5 Traffic Court Mistakes to Avoid
Traffic court trials usually only last about five minutes, but they can be a very profitable five minutes. They can save you loads of money in increased insurance fees, fines, and the possible ramifications of license suspensions.
Of course, this is only true if you handle traffic court correctly. Here are 5 mistakes that just might mean paying your ticket in full.
#1) Failing to either show up or send representation.
Your lawyer can go to traffic court for you in some cases, but someone has to show up to deal with it. Failing to fight the ticket in court means the judge finds you guilty.
You’ll have to pay the fine, and you’ll get points on your license. At this point, you might as well have paid the ticket.
What happens if you don’t pay the fine after a default judgement? You’ll get your license suspended. You may be able to get a conditional or restricted use license so you can keep driving to work or school, but that takes time that few people can afford.
Driving on a suspended license can get you sent to jail.
#2) Dressing poorly.
You should treat court like a formal event, because it is. Showing up in ripped jeans and a t-shirt is a good way to ensure the judge and prosecutor have a negative opinion for you long before it’s time to address your case.
They will see it as a sign of disrespect, which can cause them to be harsher on you than they’d otherwise be. If you’re well dressed, you’ll seem intelligent, classy, and worth taking seriously.
#3) Becoming argumentative or acting rudely.
Stay still and quiet while you wait your turn and turn off your cell phone. Address the judge as Your Honor.
And whatever you do, don’t lose your temper.
All of this works against you.
#4) Being unwilling to compromise.
If things go well, the prosecutor may offer you a really good plea bargain. Ideally, a moving violation could become a non-moving violation. You’ll still pay a fine, but you won’t get points on your license and your insurance company won’t be notified.
In a perfect world your ticket would be dismissed, but it’s not always possible. 95% of state police tickets are adjudicated through plea bargains. Be willing to recognize a good deal when one is offered.
#5) Trying to represent yourself.
Judges don’t care if the traffic ticket was fair or not. They care if you violated the law, or didn’t.
It is unlikely you have the legal expertise to prove you didn’t, or to poke any holes in the case that the court is willing to expect. If you try to represent yourself, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up paying the full ticket.
Why risk it? Hire an Orange County traffic lawyer to defend your case, protect your license, and protect yourself from all the financial consequences of getting a ticket or losing your license.