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The Do's and Don'ts of Traffic Court

For whatever reason, traffic court is doing a brisk business. Despite adding sessions to accommodate more cases, the courts are busier than ever before. Many believe it is because of the slow economy and the high unemployment rate, people are more apt to fight a ticket than just pay the fine and move on. In California in particular, it is just too expensive not to take a chance and fight the ticket. While others believe, it is due to a more informed public or the ability of the public to look up or Google the CA Vehicle Code (CVC) they have been charged with violating.

Therefore, we would like to share some court etiquette and tips with the public to make the process a little faster for all of us. Whether you decide to hire a traffic ticket defense attorney or not, there are certain things that are common in every traffic court. Things that will upset the judge and bailiff and cause delays while the offender is removed from the courtroom and in some extreme cases, arrested and held in contempt.

First, let’s start with some things you should DO in court.

Do these in Traffic Court

1. Do Turn Your Cellphone Off!

2. Do Dress Appropriately. It used to be that every man coming to court wore a suit and tie and women wore a pantsuit, although that is no longer “mandatory,” jeans and t-shirt or a hoodie will not win you any points with the judge. A polo or button up shirt/blouse or sweater and slacks is OK.

3. Do Be Respectful. No matter who you are addressing in court, you should be civil, but address the judge asYour Honor.

4. Do Be Prepared. Even if you cannot afford a lawyer or choose not to use one, you should at least look up the CVC you were charged with and find out what the state, law enforcement (LE) official, or District Attorney (DA), must prove you did. Just like in any other court, you are innocent until proven guilty. In most cases, there will not be a DA assigned for infractions, but if it is a misdemeanor or felony offense, there usually is and you should hire a defense attorney, as well. Misdemeanors and felonies stay on your driving record for many years if you are convicted.

5. Do Write it Down. Write down what you intend to say and rehearse it. You will not have much time, so keep it short.

6. Do Be Truthful. The judge has been doing this for a long time and will usually know when you are lying, besides it’s easier to remember the truth.

7. Do Pay Attention. Listen to what is going on with the cases before you, particularly similar charges. You might hear something that will be of assistance in your case. If the judge gives someone a reduced fine, remember what caused the reduction. If the other person asked for a reduction, maybe you should too. When the bailiff calls your name, it will not look very good if you are sleeping.

8. Do Be Patient. You could be in court all day.

9. Do Consult an Attorney. It is not always necessary to hire an attorney, but in most cases, you will not know which cases you will need assistance with until it is too late. Traffic court is a fast-paced forum and you can get lost or caught up in the turmoil very quickly. The price of a traffic ticket and increased insurance rates over three years could be well worth hiring a lawyer to protect.

Secondly, let’s look at some things you shouldn’t do.

Don’t Do these in Traffic Court

1. Don’t Chew Gum.

2. Don’t Wear Short-shorts. Short skirts, shorts, midriff shirts or blouses, and tank tops are also taboo for males and females.

3. Don’t Interrupt Anyone that Is Already Talking. This is particularly true of the judge, bailiff, or court official.

4. Don’t Talk in the Audience. If another case is being heard, it is rude and you could be held in contempt for talking during proceedings.

5. Don’t Yell or Take out Your Frustrations on Court Clerks and Staff. Even if you had a problem with the way the arresting officer treated you or believe you weren’t allowed to state your case. Yelling at the court’s staff will not help. If you believe you were treated unfairly, hire an attorney and do as they recommend.

6. Don’t ever just Pay the Fine without first consulting a Traffic Ticket Lawyer.

Expert Traffic Ticket Defense Attorneys

Throughout south-central CA, Bigger & Harman are widely-known and respected traffic ticket attorneys. Bigger & Harman don’t handle divorces; they don’t do family court. In Tulare, Kern, Kings, and Inyo counties, as well as in other areas of south-central CA call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300, or send an email: attorney@markbigger.com with the details of your ticket. You will be given a FREE, no obligation consultation. Bigger & Harman will go over the possible scenarios and recommend a course of action. Mark and Paul are not like other lawyers that will take any case. They practice traffic law in traffic courts on a near daily basis.

The state must prove the elements of the CVC you have been charged with violating. Bigger & Harman know the ins and outs of traffic court and will make sure you get a fair shake. They know how to get tickets dismissed when there isn’t enough evidence to convict, they know how to get probation instead of a license suspension or jail time. They are your advocate in court.

En español, llame al 661-349-9755.