How to Fight a Traffic Ticket
One minute you're cruising down the highway making record time on your commute,
and the next you're pulled over on the side of the road with the flashing lights
of a police cruiser in your rear view mirror. Were you really guilty of the
crime? Since you are innocent until proven guilty, here is how you can try to
beat that ticket.
1. Be polite and cooperative when you get pulled over. Being belligerent or
indignant may make you feel better but it might cost you more. By being polite
and cooperative, the officer may just write your ticket for a less costly
offense instead of what was actually committed and with luck, you might just get
a warning! On the other hand, if you are nasty or curt, the officer may note
this and the prosecutors will be less likely to cut you a deal if this went to court.
2. Avoid admissions of guilt and never make excuses or create outlandish stories.
When you are asked if you know why you were pulled over, just respond with a simple
and polite, "No officer, I do not,". Keep in mind that honesty is the best policy
especially when you prefer to get with merely a warning. On the otherhand, if you
do get you the ticket, and decide to contest it, remember that any admissions you
make now, can be used against you later.
3. Two theories diverge here - to question the officer or not.
4. First is the 'low-profile' theory. Ask the officer if you can handle the
ticket by mail. The officer will immediately see you as a low probability to go
to court and may take fewer notes. When you do challenge the ticket, the
officer's sparse notes will make him want to skip the hearing. Even if he does
come to the hearing, his sparse notes and memory will help the judge decide in
your favor. Questioning the officer on the other hand will cause him to write
voluminous notes on the traffic stop.
5. Alternatively, question the officer, as you are handed the ticket, about how
the offense was detected and verified. In the case of a speeding ticket, find
out where the they were positioned when they clocked you and what type of speed
measurement device,was used and if it was radar,laser or Accutrac. Gather as
many specifics as possible, including the serial number of the device.
If, however the officer estimated your speed by following you, then find out
what the location was when he began to follow you. Make sure you write down the
patrol car's license plate number and his badge number. If you were cited for an
offense other than speeding, make sure you understand exactly why you were
pulled over, especially if you were cited for something that could not have been