How to Defend Yourself in Traffic Court

Written by S. Danilina and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

If you believe that it is in your best interests to contest your traffic ticket, it is important to be prepared to represent yourself in the court. In the traffic court as in any court it is not your job to prove that you are innocent. However, it is the state’s job to prove that you are guilty of the traffic violation charges.

Before you even go to the court, it is wise to be prepared for it by getting copies of all police reports. You have the right to have a copy of all reports and witnesses’ statements. Once you have obtained all necessary documents, check your State Vehicle Code. Compare your own violation with the conduct that is stated in the Code to make sure that you have a valid defense point.

It is also important to take pictures of the place where the incident happened to be able to prove that the state is wrong. Moreover, it is recommended to check a car’s odometer to be sure that the odometer is not broken.

During your traffic court hearing, it is very important to make a good impression on the judge. Make sure that you are dressed nicely and have a pleasant attitude. It is highly recommended to call the judge “Your Honor” when you speak to him or her. Try your best not to argue with the judge.

Furthermore, make sure to bring any witnesses you have to the court. You might need to subpoena them. The subpoena forms are available in the court.  Witnesses often can verify and support your version of the events and help you to dismiss the ticket. If you have any passengers in the car, consider putting them on the witness stand as well.

During the hearing ask for the dismissal of your case and present all your gathered evidences. Moreover, make sure to take advantage of your legal right to cross examine a police officer who wrote you a ticket. During the cross examination try to remain calm and treat the police officer with respect. If the police officer tries to ask you questions, object to it and let him know that he is not allowed to practice law. It is highly advisable not to request a jury trial since, often, jurors are not sympathetic to a defendant in traffic violation cases.

The best defense in the court is to prove that it is not your vehicle that has been scanned for speeding or it was not you driving it if it is the case.

If you did your best defending yourself in the court, but the judge’s decision was not in your favor, calmly accept the decision.

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