WHAT DO I DO AFTER RECEIVING A TRAFFIC TICKET?
There is no worse feeling then looking in your rearview mirror and seeing the flashing lights of a police car instructing you to pull over. At that moment, adrenaline and a million thoughts go through your head as you dutifully pull over to the side of the road to find out what your fate is. More often then not, you will be the recipient of a traffic ticket for anything from improper registration to speeding. As such, what should you do after receiving a traffic ticket?
Look At the Ticket
After you have received a ticket, your first step should be to take a look at the actual text of the ticket. On the ticket, you should at least see the following information:
- Date, time, and location of the traffic offense;
- Color, make, model, license plate number, and registration information of the vehicle;
- Information about the traffic offense and the applicable fine;
- Name and badge number of the police officer; and
- Notice of the right to a hearing;
Although the format and information on a ticket vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, this information should be located somewhere on the ticket in order for you to be aware of the pertinent details regarding the offense. Additionally, if any of this information is missing, you may be able to use the lack of this important information as a defense to fight your ticket.
Determining Your Strategy
After you have looked over the ticket, you must make a decision regarding how you are going to deal with the ticket. Generally, you have two options: (1) you can pay the fine and take the punishment/charge on your DMV records, or (2) you can attempt to contest the charge. To make this decision, you should consider the consequences of either strategy. Typically, most traffic charges consist of: (1) a fine that could range anywhere from $100-$1000, and (2) possible points on your license. Although the fine could be expensive, in reality, the points may be worse because they could affect the amount you pay for car insurance or your ability to retain your license. However, if you simply pay your fine, you can walk away from the ticket and not have to worry about going to court or potentially arguing your case.
Contesting a Ticket
If you decide to contest a ticket, you will have to go to court and go through a hearing to explain why you did not commit the offense which the officer wrote you a ticket for. Although this can be done by an average individual, the process may take an entire day or even several visits to the courthouse. As such, you may want to consider whether it is worth your time. If not, you can either pay the fine or hire a traffic attorney who will be able to take care of your traffic ticket for you.
If you have received a ticket for a traffic violation, it may be smart to consult with an experienced traffic defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.
James Minick is founder and C.E.O. of Minick Law, P.C. James is committed to providing top notch legal services through his team of highly specialized legal professionals. James will defend your rights.