Even the most careful drivers among us can make a mistake and receive a ticket. The good news is that there are multiple ways to dismiss a ticket. Fighting your traffic ticket may be a good option when the consequence threatens your bank account, your driver’s license, your insurance premium or even your livelihood. At the same time, having to testify in court isn’t exactly a fun field trip. You need a significant amount of preparation for the best chance of success. To successfully fight your ticket, make sure you have a dependable plan. These are the most common strategies available to get traffic tickets dismissed.
- Request Ticket Dismissal by Default
In some cases, the court may dismiss a challenged ticket by default. For this to happen, the officer who issues the ticket does not appear in court or fails to fill out the correct paperwork. Keep in mind that this option isn’t available for every situation. It depends on the type of ticket issued as well as municipal or state law applicable in your jurisdiction. Of course, this strategy only works if the police officer in question can’t commit to fighting your version of events. Because police officers are busy and issue a significant number of citations, the chances are good that they won’t be able to make the court appearance for each and every citation they hand out. However, it is a gamble on your part. If the officer shows, you still need an argument to get out of the ticket else you will have to pay the fine.
- Argue Your Reason for Breaking the Law
Did you have a reason for parking where you did or driving as fast as you were? For example, perhaps you didn’t know the speed limit because a sign was obscured by construction or by trees. Maybe you had to make an illegal maneuver to prevent an accident. Another example might be battling the clock in the face of a life-or-death emergency. These are a few common arguments for dismissal; however, they aren’t legal arguments. Instead, by submitting this reasoning, you put forward a good-faith argument and rely on the mercy of the judge. Keep in mind that needless and poor errors in judgment can’t usually be explained away. You should also be able to support your argument with photos from the scene or evidence of the emergency you intend to cite in court. Additionally, avoid arguing that you didn’t know the law. You may be familiar with the saying “Ignorance is no excuse.” Just because you didn’t know the rule doesn’t mean you’re innocent. As a licensed driver, it is up to you – and no one else – to know the rules and regulations of the road when you slide into the driver’s seat.
- Demonstrate an Error on the Ticket
Was your ticket an error? In some circumstances, a police officer may make a mistake and cite an incorrect regulation, mistake your car for another or misidentify a location. If any of these mistakes turn up on the ticket, you may have an opening to argue in court to get a ticket dismissed for wrong information. For example, if the officer writes that you were driving a red Chevrolet Impala, but you were actually in a red Ford Explorer, then you may be able to argue that the officer caught the wrong car. However, smaller differences like one wrong digit on your plate may not get you out of trouble. A helpful example of a technical error is a ticket for a violation that occurred during a specific period. Perhaps you turned right at a red light where the practice is banned between 7 AM and 5 PM, and a police officer pulled you over. However, when you turned, it was 5:10 PM, which means the maneuver is permitted. You can argue that the time stamp on the ticket is an error because your turn was legal at 5:10 PM.
- Argue Your Innocence
Are you completely innocent? If you truly believe that the officer made a mistake or lied, then you should say so in court. If you choose this strategy, you need evidence on your side. In situations like this, a judge is more likely to believe the officer who cited you. Some of the best evidence comes from statements of witnesses. Unfortunately, you need to be thinking about this at the time of the ticket – not before your court date. If there are eyewitnesses, you can ask them to testify in front of the judge. Other helpful evidence includes photographs to prove that a sign was hidden from view by overgrown tree branches or a diagram that demonstrates the locations of all the vehicles in question. These items are very helpful for identifying whether you committed a violation and if the officer could have seen it.
How to Get a Ticket Dismissed without Going to Court
Perhaps the most common and effective strategy for dismissing a ticket is successfully completing an online traffic school course. If you have never used an online course to dismiss a ticket, you may have several questions:
- If I take defensive driving will my ticket be dismissed?
- How often can I take defensive driving to dismiss a ticket
- Can I take any driving safety course to dismiss a ticket?
- If a ticket is dismissed does it affect insurance?
- Do I have to pay a dismissed ticket?
It is important to note that even though a ticket is dismissed, you must still pay the traffic fine. By taking a defensive driving course, you are no longer contesting the ticket. You admit that you made a mistake, but want an opportunity to keep your driving record clean. Many courts allow online driving schools for ticket dismissal. This is important because fewer tickets and points on your record typically mean you’ll qualify for lower insurance rates. Be sure to present your defensive driving certificate of completion to the appropriate court representative as well as to your insurance company. Quality driving courses cover more subjects than just the violation you receive. You learn about laws and regulations as well as safe driving techniques. You can refresh your road knowledge and safety training to become a better driver. The best part of this strategy is that you don’t need to spend your free evenings or weekends in a classroom to get the job done. You can take online defensive driving courses tailored to the specific laws and regulations in your state. How Does an Online Defensive Driving Course Work? The rules for allowing you to dismiss a traffic ticket and reduce points from your driving record vary from state to state and even court to court. As technology continues to play a bigger role in our daily lives, more courts permit drivers to take online defensive driving courses to address road violations. Here’s how it works. Many states use a point system to rate driver performance. You receive a specific number of points per citation. For example, in Georgia, you receive two points on your license when you get caught going 15 mph over the speed limit. If you are ticketed for reckless driving, you receive 4 points. And 6 points are added to your record for passing a school bus unlawfully. When you get too many points, the state can suspend–or even revoke–your license. If you don’t know the point system for your state, visit your local DMV web site to learn more. To get your license reinstated, or to remove points from your record, simply complete an online driver improvement course. Drivesafe Online® offers a variety of defensive driving courses to satisfy most state and court requirements, including 1 hour, 3 hour, 4 hour, 6 hour and 8 hour course options. Georgia is the perfect example again. The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) allows you to take a Driver Improvement Course to remove points. Each Georgia driver may remove up to seven points once every five years. In other cases, the court or DMV may mandate a defensive driving course. For example, you may get a letter requiring you to take a driver improvement course. Each state outlines its own approved ticket dismissal requirements. Contact local court authorities (meaning the location where you received your ticket) to find out if the court approves a ticket can be dismissed. For example, you may not be able to get a careless driving ticket dismissed. It can be challenging to get a car accident ticket dismissed, too. And there are time limits, so you may not be able to get old tickets dismissed either. A court representative can tell you if you can get a failure to yield ticket dismissed. The same person can also explain how to get a stop sign ticket dismissed. Completing a safe driver program could help you reduce points and keep your license. It can also help you save money with potential insurance discounts. As you know by now, your insurance rates may go up as you receive more points. If you attend a traffic school you could save on your car insurance. A defensive driving course can earn you an insurance discount of up to 10 percent off your premium. You could save more than $100 each year. And since the discount lasts up to three years, that could mean more than $300 in your pocket. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent to find out if your defensive driving certificate qualifies for a discount. Defensive Driving Courses Prevent Traffic Tickets People get traffic tickets for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes the ticket is worth fighting because it is unlawful or threatens your driving privileges. Other times, your best strategy is to accept your actions and agree to become a better driver. Defensive driving courses cover the rules of the road and also prepare you to identify and avoid dangerous road situations. Completing a defensive driving course is a small investment that can help you save money, dismiss tickets/reduce points, and most importantly, make you a safer driver. Are you ready to save money and be a more confident driver? Begin your journey now.