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How to Defend a Traffic Ticket in a Pre-Trial Hearing

by Laura Payne

Defending a traffic ticket at a pretrial hearing is not as challenging as you might think and a successful defense will keep your auto insurance company from raising your rates if the ticket you received is for a point-carrying offense. If you have been issued a a traffic ticket for a civil infraction, it is well worth the time and effort to schedule and attend a pretrial hearing in an effort to keep points off of your driving record.

Make notes about the circumstances that resulted in the issuance of the traffic ticket. It is always best for you to have a clear recollection of the events as they occurred.

Do research. Occasionally laws or speed limits are amended without public notice or sign change. For example, Michigan's Public Act 85 invalidated thousands of city-set speed limits that were found to be obsolete and baseless by traffic studies.

Prepare your defense. If there are witnesses who can back up your version of what transpired, either bring them with you or have them make a written statement that can be notarized.

Take photographs. If you were issued a ticket as the result of a faulty traffic sign or signal, take a picture to provide evidence of such.

Dress properly. A traffic ticket should not be taken lightly and dressing in clean dress pants or a skirt with a pressed blouse or shirt will show your respect for the court.

Behave appropriately. When you present your defense in a polite and knowledgeable manner you will be more likely to earn the magistrate's patience and attention to your explanation.

Ask for a deal. If the prosecutor is not willing to dismiss the ticket entirely, you may still be able to get a deal. Typical deals for traffic tickets include a dismissal on costs and an under advisement. A dismissal on costs is an option to pay the court fees and fine with the points and ticket being dismissed. An under advisement is basically the same as a dismissal on costs but includes the stipulation that you not get any additional traffic tickets for a specified period of time before the ticket and points are dismissed.

Tip

  • Make sure that you show up for the pretrial hearing on time. If you are there and the officer that issued the ticket is not, the ticket will be dismissed in the majority of courts.

Warning

  • If you have received a traffic ticket for a misdemeanor, it is best to consult an attorney. Misdemeanors are considered criminal charges and include offenses such as reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

About the Author

Laura Payne has been freelance writing for several online publications in her free time since 2006. She holds a Master of Arts in linguistics from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Oakland University. Payne teaches linguistics classes at both universities on an adjunct basis.

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