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Should you fight your traffic ticket?
Here are some important points to consider when deciding if you should fight your traffic ticket.
Did you ever feel that when you received a traffic ticket you were already considered guilty?
If you were told you were cheating on an exam, would you simply accept it?
If your bank told you that you’re being charged a fee because you overspent, when you didn’t – would you just “pay it?”
Would you just accept being over charged at the grocery store and not say anything?
The average person’s experience with the police is nearly always with a traffic stop. Most of us are nervous with this singular encounter. The expectation is that you have been caught doing something against the law and the expectation is that you will just take the punishment of paying the fine.
Make no mistake Traffic Tickets are an industry and the only significant revenue source, besides taxes, for the court system. Most cities and towns with a police force place the amount expected from traffic tickets as part of its yearly budget. Conflict of interest bleeds through the entire system.
Here are some of the many reasons why you should consider fighting your ticket:
- Civic duty - government considers it a good source of extra revenue. Fighting them discourages over-use
- Just paying the ticket costs money
- It will cost you more money when you renew your license
- Tickets affect your driving record
- To many tickets can effect whether you can drive, or not
- It can affect your insurance premiums
- Points against you licence can add up quickly but take a long time to disappear
- Maybe you just want time to pay your ticket - fighting it often gives you more time
- You might not actually be guilty of anything
How to Decide Whether to Fight or Fold
Before assuming the ticket can’t be beaten and resigning yourself to writing out that check, we encourage you to take a hard look at the facts to see if you have a reasonable chance of success. You may be surprised at the variety of legal grounds available for defeating your ticket.
Here are some questions to determine whether going to court makes sense:
- Was the officer’s view of what occurred obstructed by other moving vehicles or stationary objects like trees, fences, or buildings? If so, this allows you to argue that the officer could not have clearly seen the alleged offense and gives you an opening to sell your version of events to the judge.
- Did the officer stop the right car? It is quite possible in heavy traffic for an officer to see a violation committed by one white minivan (a 1995 Plymouth Voyager, for example) and to stop another (an almost identical white 1994 Dodge Caravan) farther down the road. Your ability to claim this happened (“the officer got the wrong driver, Your Honor”) obviously goes way up if you can show that because of a curve in the road, construction project, or just heavy traffic, the officer lost sight of the offending vehicle between the violation and pulling you over.
- Was there an actual, provable error in the officer’s approach or methodology? In citing you for speeding, did the officer correctly pace your vehicle or properly use radar, or laser to establish your speed?
- Do any other legal defenses exist to the law you’re charged with violating? For example, if you were charged with driving too slowly in the left lane of a multi lane highway, it is a legal defense that you were planning to turn left.
For more questions and help with any legal issues consult with our Trusted Regina Lawyer Robert MacKay
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Robert MacKay's team provides professional, personalized service and with their assistance, you can rest assured that you will be handled with the utmost consideration and care.