How to defend yourself in traffic court

defend yourself in traffic court

There are many ways to win in traffic court, but most people don’t know them. This article will tell you how to win in traffic court without an attorney. How to defend yourself for a speeding ticket and many other moving violations. How to save yourself from fines, loss of driving privileges, and increased auto insurance rates.

Knowing your rights is extremely important, but many people do not know them. Our first right as a United States citizen is to be treated fairly; to not be deprived of our life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. So, first of all, we are presumed innocent in any court.

You do not have to prove your innocence, even in traffic court. It is the state’s job to prove you are guilty. So, it is your job to make the judge believe that the state has done a poor job of meeting the standard of proof. The evidence the state has should be shown as faulty, wrong, unclear, incorrect, or is not clear and convincing, etc.

Making a good impression during your traffic court hearing is first and foremost. You need to exhibit a pleasant attitude, good manners, and a tidy appearance. The judges impression of how you look will definitely effect his decision. It shouldn’t, but this is just human nature. As for the good manners, addressing the judge as “your honor” will go a long way. Speak loud and clear; but listen carefully to what you are being asked. Do not irritate the judge in any way. Don’t be late for your hearing. And above all, don’t be argumentative with the judge.

Prior to your hearing it is a good idea to prepare for court by getting copies of the police reports. You can get these reports by writing a letter to the court telling them that you are contesting the case. In fact, you must notify the court of your intentions anyway. In this letter ask for copies of the police reports, statements of the state’s witnesses and test results, or anything else needed for this discovery period. You have the right to discover what you are being accused of.

Once you have a copy of the report and a copy of the violation you need to look up the State Vehicle Code or local ordinance that you are accused of violating. Compare your own conduct with the conduct that is illegal in the ordinance to see if you have a valid defense.

Bringing a visual defense with you to court is invaluable. Go and take pictures of where the incident occurred to prove the state is wrong. Get your odometer checked and a reading done at a car shop to show that your odometer was broken. If you draw a diagram it must be to scale and so noted on the exhibit.

You have the right to bring a witness to trial with you. Even children can make good witnesses if they are old enough to answer a question and know what it means to tell the truth. They often can bring a positive atmosphere into the court room. Witnesses can verify and support your version of the facts. Passengers in the car make good witnesses.

Pedestrians who witnessed the incident are good witnesses if you by chance know how to reach them. First, of course, talk to potential witnesses to see if they support your claims. If a pedestrian or onlooker is a complete stranger then this is even more credible than your passengers. Judges will give their testimony more weight because they are less prejudiced toward you.

If there was a store or an office building that had a direct view of the incident you can go inside and ask if anybody saw what happened. You might need to subpoena these witnesses and this is your right to do so. The subpoena forms are available from the court. You need to give it to a company that serves papers to people, this usually costs money.

Here are some different defenses you might be able to use in your case.

Mistaken vehicle: if radar was used you might be able to prove it was not your vehicle being scanned. When traffic is heavy chances of error in reading increases.

Establishing the speed limit in the zone of incident. Take pictures of speed limit signs.

Signs must be adequately posted. If there isn’t one on the street you were on, you may have a defense.

Mistaken identity of the diver: use this in the case of photo radar.

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