Traffic Violations: Disputing Moving Violation Citations
Moving violation citations, issued for offenses such as speeding, running a red light, or illegal lane changes, are common traffic violations. While they might seem like minor inconveniences, they can lead to significant penalties, including fines, points on your driving record, increased insurance premiums, and, in severe cases, suspension of your driver's license.
However, if you believe the citation was issued erroneously, it is within your rights to dispute the ticket.
Understanding the Citation
Before disputing a citation, it's crucial to understand the violation you're charged with, the evidence against you, and the applicable laws in your jurisdiction.
- Citation Details: A moving violation citation should include details like the nature of the offense, the location and time it occurred, the officer's name, and instructions for contesting the ticket.
Preparing Your Case
Once you've decided to contest the citation, preparation is key. Here's how to go about it:
- Collect Evidence: Gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. This could include photographs of the area where the alleged violation occurred, witness statements, GPS data, dashcam footage, or anything else that might help prove your case.
- Understand Local Traffic Laws: Research and familiarize yourself with the traffic laws relevant to your citation in your specific jurisdiction. Each state has unique traffic laws, and understanding these can help shape your defense.
- Maintain a Clean Driving Record: A clean driving record can play a role in your favor when disputing a ticket, especially if the violation is minor and the court must make a judgment call.
Disputing the Citation
Once you're prepared, the next step is to formally dispute the citation. The process varies by jurisdiction, but it generally includes the following steps:
- Notify the Court: Notify the court of your intention to dispute the ticket before the deadline noted on the citation. This is typically done by mail or online, depending on the jurisdiction.
- Pre-Trial Conference: In some jurisdictions, you may have a pre-trial conference with a prosecutor to discuss your case. If your case is strong, the prosecutor might dismiss the citation or offer a plea deal.
- Trial: If your case goes to trial, you'll present your case before a judge or magistrate. This includes presenting your evidence and possibly questioning the officer who issued the citation. Consider hiring a lawyer if you're not comfortable representing yourself.
- Verdict: The judge will decide based on the evidence. If the judge rules in your favor, the citation will be dismissed.
Disputing a moving violation citation can be a complex process that requires careful preparation and a thorough understanding of local traffic laws. It is always beneficial to consult with a traffic attorney who can provide guidance based on their experience and expertise.
Contact a local attorney to learn more about disputing traffic violations.