If you contest a traffic infraction and the court finds you not guilty, the case is essentially over. You will not pay any fines, face penalties, or see a charge on your DMV record. If you have already paid a fine, the judge will dismiss the ticket and order an immediate reimbursement. To get to this stage in the legal process, you need to provide evidence that will convince the court that it was a mistake for the police officer to issue a ticket in the first place.
Fighting Your Traffic Ticket
To contest a traffic ticket, you have the option to hire a lawyer or represent yourself. Regardless of your decision, you must inform the court of your decision to fight the ticket by filing a notice to dispute as soon as possible. Once your dispute goes through processing and approval, you will receive a “notice to appear” citation, informing you of the date and time of the hearing. While you are waiting, you must build your defense strategy.
Reviewing the Statute of Law
To have an in-depth understanding of what you are up against, you need to review the statutes you have been accused of violating. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation lists major offenses that may even result in the suspension of your license. Through your analysis, you may be able to determine if you violated all or some of the conditions listed in Title 75, Chapter 33, of the Pennsylvania. On the other hand, if you did not violate any of the conditions and can prove it in traffic court, the judge may dismiss the case against you.
Requesting the Ticketing Officer’s Notes
It is within your right to request the notes the police officer made after you were pulled off the road. By reviewing the notes, you will be able to tell if they documented the incident accurately, left out vital information, or if you can dispute specific claims in traffic court. Since you will have the chance to question the ticketing officer, we recommend that you make notes and prepare a list of questions that can challenge their observations.
Recounting the Incident
Even though you may be overwhelmed, it is vital to go down memory lane and document the incident in its right sequence. By doing so, you will have a clear picture of what took place before and after the incident. Where possible, sketch out the exact spot your car was pulled over and the location of the police officer. If you can prove that the officer’s decision to issue a ticket was unwarranted since they did not have a clear view of your vehicle, the outcome may go in your favor.
A credible witness can be a pedestrian, a motorist, or a passenger. But before you ask someone to take the witness stand, remember to ensure that their version of the incident aligns with yours. While you are under no obligation to testify on your behalf, you can choose to do so. However, by deciding to share your side of the story, the prosecutor can cross-examine you. So, remain calm and speak clearly and as honestly as you can.
Your Defense Strategy
It is not enough to tell the court that you did not know that your actions were illegal. You must prepare a foolproof defense strategy that warrants the court to overturn the charges. You may claim the following as defense:
- Mistake of fact defense: Here, you prove to the court that you made a genuine mistake due to elements on the road that were not apparent or caught you off-guard. This could include a faded crosswalk or a new traffic light that was only just installed on a road you take frequently.
- Necessity defense. A valid necessity of defense can be speeding to get away from a dangerous situation or to get medical care or swerving to avoid hitting a pedestrian or animal.
Consider a Defense Attorney with McKenzie Law Firm, P.C.
If you were issued a ticket, McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. may be able to handle your case. Our defense lawyer may investigate the details of your case, negotiate with insurers, and represent you in a personal injury lawsuit if necessary. Call us right now at (610) 680-7842 to discuss your case and determine how we may help.