Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beat or pay your Traffic Ticket

From my weekly (AM) radio segment titled "Legal Minute"

If you drive enough on the highways, you’ve probably seen those red and blue flashing lights accompanied by a siren behind your car at least once. Do you fight the ticket or pay it? If you’re a lawyer, it’s practically our nature to fight it. Otherwise, if you have had a clear driving record and this is your one ticket in 10 years then you may want to just pay it and restore your clean record. If you have a ticket or two already, then you may want to fight. Start by studying the law under which your ticket was issued. Sometimes, the officer can get the law wrong. So, read the statute carefully, word-by-word and break the law down piece by piece. Make sure that each requirement in the statute was satisfied in your case. If you can show that your conduct did not violate at least one element of the law, then you can beat your ticket. If the law is not on your side then look at other facts surrounding the stop to use in your argument. Never argue that the officer was lying, that you were ignorant or mistaken in the law or that you have a good reason for breaking the law. You will win if the officer doesn’t show but don’t count on that.