Justin M. Crozier
DEALING WITH A TICKET
Traffic Tickets are the most common way that most people interact with both the police and with the legal system. It is unfortunate, but true. From the moment the interaction begins it is important to keep your head together and to deal with the situation in a manner that will help you get the best result you can get.
While Getting the Ticket
You have just been pulled over, you see the flashing lights behind you, and you know that this is not going to be fun. It is okay. Calm down, take a deep breath and listen to what the Officer is telling you. There is a careful balance that you want to take at this moment, be respectful of the Officer but also protect your rights.
You don't have to tell them anything. You don't have to tell them where you were going or where you have been. You can hand them your ID, your insurance information, and your registration and then just be quiet. Don't insult the Officer. Don't call them names. Don't ask if they have anything better to do. You don't have to let them look in your vehicle (but they can look through the windows). You don't have to let them in your car or into your trunk.
If they ask to take a look, politely tell them no. If they want to know what you are doing politely tell them you don't want to answer any questions unless you have an attorney. If they won't let you go tell them you will call your attorney. If you need to, call your attorney, my number is on the bottom of the page.
The Officer is going to give you the ticket or not give it to you, don't worry about that. We will deal with the ticket next. At this stage, we just want to keep you from getting into any more trouble than you have to.
Dealing with the Ticket
Now you have the ticket and don't want those points on your license. At this point, the best thing you can do is get in touch with an attorney and have them help reduce the charge, or get you some kind of driving "diversion" (a legal term meaning you pay the ticket but you don't actually get the points).
Often times, tickets can be resolved by the attorney calling the prosecutor and working out a deal. Sometimes you have to go to court and see what the judge is willing to offer. Believe it or not, tickets can result in jail time if the judge is not in a friendly mood. It may cost a couple hundred dollars to have the ticket fixed, but you will save that in insurance payments over time and you won't have to worry about losing your driving privileges. If your lucky, and if your attorney is paying attention, they may be able to dismiss the ticket because the Officer made a mistake when they filled out the ticket. Your attorney is going to need to take a good look at it, and is going to have to do a little bit of work, but it is worth it if you can get the ticket tossed.
If you have to go to court (you were going too fast, you got into an accident, you caused some trouble and yelled at the cop) then listen to what your attorney says, and maybe take a peek at this. There are a lot of ways that the ticket can be resolved to help you out. The Officer sometimes doesn't show in court, they don't have a video, they make a mistake in testimony, or they didn't calibrate their radar gun. All of these are possibilities, but you can't count on them happening. Usually the Officer did everything right, and you are going to have to pay a fine.
Pay the fine on time. Go to your court date. Don't get a warrant. If you DO get a warrant, call an attorney immediately and see if they can file some paperwork for you so that you can get it removed. Acting fast is critical so that you don't get tossed in jail.
Ultimately, you need to protect your rights but also be respectful. You will save yourself a lot of trouble by smiling and complying in the street, and fighting their behavior in the court.