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

by Laura Payne
Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.

×