Nothing can ruin a perfectly good day easier than finding yourself pulled over for speeding. For so many people, the minute they see those flashing lights in the rearview window, it’s time to prepare to pay a hefty fine. That’s the worst attitude to take, though. While only about 5 percent of people receiving tickets fight the charges, a majority of those that do challenge traffic tickets and up with less severe consequences than suggested on their tickets. In fact, about 60 percent of the contested cases get the charges totally dropped.
In order to fight a traffic ticket, you simply need a strategy. Here are five tips for effectively fighting a traffic ticket to get you started.
- Delay your case or ask for a continuation. The court should permit you to defer your court date, and you should take advantage of this. Not only will you have more time to collect evidence or hire a Columbus traffic lawyer, but the arresting officer also becomes less likely to show up, which may lead to your case being dismissed.
- Collect evidence that the officer’s observations surrounding the traffic violation were hindered. Sometimes circumstances make it easy to throw doubt on the officer’s testimony. All you have to do is find out what. For example, if there was something obstructing their view or if you can produce witnesses who state a different course of events, you may be able establish doubt.
- Prove that your actions were legally justified or necessary to avoid harming yourself and others. If there were extenuating circumstances that justify your violation, you may have cause for those actions to be legal. For example, speeding on the way to the ER for a medical emergency is justified. Similarly, swerving to avoid a pedestrian is legal. Sometimes even external justifications are valid, such as a wasp flying in the window and stinging you causing temporary erratic behavior. Just remember that any old excuse won’t work. It has to be valid.
- Hire a Columbus traffic lawyer. If your case could lead to very high fines or serious charges, you don’t want to risk a conviction due to your inexperienced defense. Consult with a local Columbus traffic lawyer who can give you practical legal advice.
- Prove that your violation was a genuine “mistake of fact.” If you can show that you made an honest and reasonable error, a judge has some leeway to consider these circumstances. For example, if a stop sign is hidden due to overgrown brush or a crosswalk is too faded to view easily, a judge may be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you had made an honest mistake. Just remember that in these cases the judge will consider all the facts, so if it can be proven that you should have known regardless (like if the sign in question is less than a block from your home or office), you may lose the judge’s good will.
Simply by showing up and pleading not guilty to your ticket, you are seriously increasing your chances of beating the charges. Just because you got a ticket, doesn’t mean you deserved it. You should not be forced to give up hundreds of dollars to pay the fine and potentially thousands more on insurance penalties. If you need help fighting a traffic-related charge, we are ready to help at a moment’s notice at Luftman, Heck & Associates. Call us today at (614) 500-3836 for a free consultation on your specific case with an experienced Columbus traffic lawyer.