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Can You Object a Traffic Fine in the US? 4 Ways to Object

Objecting a Traffic Fine

Traffic fines are a common occurrence for drivers. Most people simply pay the fine and move on. However, you do have options if you don’t agree with the ticket. You can object to the traffic ticket and present your case in court. This can be a daunting task, but it may be worth it if you believe you were unfairly ticketed. There are several things to keep in mind when objecting to a traffic fine, so consult with an attorney before taking any action.

Objecting a Traffic Fine

In the United States, traffic citations are considered to be “non-criminal” offenses or infractions. The driver can choose to plead not guilty in a court proceeding and mail in a request for a hearing. This option is often called an appeal.

Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Revenue, or Court to find out about objecting your traffic fine.

If you never got a ticket in the mail, but know that you did something illegal on your drive back home, call the police department and tell them about it. If they confirm via license plate scan or another method that you committed an infraction, they’ll be able to issue a summons for the next time you get pulled over – meaning no ticket will get put on your driver’s license.

Some officers are more lenient than others with traffic tickets, but this is often dependent upon their mood at the time of hand-out.

What to Do When Objecting a Traffic Fine?

objecting a traffic fine
  • You can try your luck in the courts: Although there is a little actual strategy in play, drivers have won citations in court simply by showing up. The driver and the officer who issued the traffic fine must both be present at a traffic hearing. If the driver appears and the officer does not, he or she usually wins without having to do anything. The ticket was dismissed by the court, and that’s all there is to it.
  • You can challenge the officer’s subjectivity: It’s all about whether an officer’s subjective judgment is adequate in some cases. For example, most states have a “basic speed law” that—regardless of the posted speed limit— prohibits drivers from driving faster than is “reasonable and prudent” under the current road and traffic conditions.
  • You can question the officer’s observation: With numerous sorts of infractions, the officer’s observations are critical for their accuracy. With a stop sign or red light citation (assuming we’re not discussing a red light camera ticket), the government’s evidence that you committed the infraction will generally be restricted to an officer testifying that he or she saw you run the stop sign or red signal. Try to focus on whether the officer was in a good enough position to accurately observe the allegation.
  • You can try to persuade the court it was an honest mistake: In many cases, judges are more flexible when it comes to events beyond a motorist’s control. If you can show that you made an honest and reasonable mistake, a court may dismiss your citation.
  • You can try your chance on persuading the court that the violation was necessary to avoid a greater danger: The “necessity” defense may be used to excuse a violation in an emergency. The key to this defense is to show that the conduct was required in order to prevent a far greater injury. For example, a person who tried to drive a car despite not having a driver’s license to save a bleeding person has a high chance of beating the ticket.

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