California is Car Country
With its winding jungles of concrete freeways, California has long been labeled “car-country” by its many residents. In areas like Los Angeles, it’s not uncommon to see that one vehicle zig-zagging between the others, and passing what seems like 12 cars in under 14 seconds. Ironically, there’s never a cop around in these situations, but then one day you find yourself parked on the side of the street, staring into the dark sunglasses of Mr. Policeman for going five miles above the speed limit.
Step 1: How will you plead? Guilty, Not Guilty, or No Contest?
As embarrassing as it might be, the fact is you’re not alone, and there are routes you can take to dig yourself out of the “ticket hole.” For starters, decide how you will plead. Are you guilty? Are you not guilty, or will you settle at no contest? Pleading guilty or no contest means you’ll have to pay the fine, and depending on the offense, the amount you’ll owe may be higher than expected.
Step 2: Inform the court
Following your plea decision, the next step is to inform the court prior to your scheduled appearance. This is extremely important, as failing to do so could potentially lead to fines, a suspension of your license, and in some cases, an arrest. If you decide to pay your ticket, make sure to do so before the date on your court notification.
Step 3: Traffic school?
Depending on the “cleanliness” of your driving record, you may be eligible to attend traffic school. This incurs a whole separate fee, but it’s a good opportunity to get those unwanted points off your record and stop your insurance rates from shooting up. Points can stay on one’s driving record from anywhere between three to ten years, and completing traffic school can lead to the dismissal of your traffic citation.
Final step: pay your fine, appear in court, or get help
For the most part, paying your ticket can be done completely online, but if you find yourself wrongfully accused and in need of defense, things may require a bit more effort. Not every traffic ticket handed out is valid, but in order to fight, you’ll need to know where to turn.
If you choose to contest your traffic charge, you’ll be required to appear in court on the date listed on your ticket. Upon pleading not guilty, you’ll be issued a trial date, and you’ll be required to pay bail funds. Next, see about getting yourself a good traffic attorney. If you can’t afford one, one may be provided for you, or you can choose to represent yourself.
The written declaration option
You may also earn your trial via written declaration. Granted your citation is for a minor offense, your ticket due date hasn’t passed, and a court appearance is not required, you may simply provide a written statement and evidence backing your claim of innocence either by mail or in-person to the court listed on your ticket. Depending on the specific nature of the offense, you may be required to submit additional documentation with your statement. Most importantly, make sure you keep copies of everything you send for your records.
Once a decision regarding your case has been made, the court will notify you. If you’re found not guilty, the bail money you submitted will be returned to you. If the court finds you guilty, you will be required to pay the fees incurred, or you may ask that a new trial be held in person.
Prefer professional help?
While a traffic ticket may seem overwhelming, no situation is considered too large or too heavy for a seasoned traffic lawyer. If you’re looking for a lawyer to help you fight your ticket, simply upload it onto our site, include the respective details, and our attorneys will contact you regarding their prices. Choose the one that best meets your budget. The service is free to use, and available throughout the country.