The first thing most drivers do is try to challenge their traffic ticket there on the side of the freeway. This is not wise for many reasons, besides the fact that traffic stops on the freeway are not safe for anyone.
However, there are two things you should never do there under any circumstances: do not admit guilt, and do not challenge the law enforcement officer (LEO) on the side of the road. When you challenge the LEO, you will make sure they remember you. It’s easier to defend a traffic ticket in court if the LEO doesn’t remember you.
Plus, a traffic stop is one of the most dangerous parts of the job for an LEO. Thus, it is not the time to argue with them. It is best to sign your ticket and challenge it in court with the help of a traffic defense attorney.
Anyone that’s been driving for more than a day or two knows when an LEO pulls you over for speeding, they will almost always ask, “Do you know how fast you were going?”
You are not obligated to answer. Another thing most everyone is aware of is their Constitutional “right to remain silent.” On the roadside, talking to a police officer who is likely wearing a body cam is a perfect time to exercise that right. You can simply say, I wasn’t looking, or I’m not sure without being confrontational.
Challenging Your Traffic Ticket in Court
Traffic court is nothing like what you see on TV. Each day the traffic court judge hears dozens, sometimes 50 or 60 cases, and once your case is called, you only have a few minutes to explain why you are not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You will not have the opportunity to take a break to call witnesses or get a document you forgot. If you get stage-fright or tongue-tied, your defense could be over before you get to utter a word.
Traffic attorneys sit in traffic court waiting for their client’s case to be called day in and day out, and they hear lots of traffic cases. Not only their clients, but many others as well, and they know how most judges rule on specific incidences; they know what excuses they will accept and which will get you a quick “Judge Judy” eye roll and a guilty verdict.
They know the judges and the CHP officers. They know when to ask for a dismissal, and they know whom to ask to get a reduced non-moving violation conviction where you only pay a fine with no points. It’s what they’re good at doing. It is their profession.
Besides the fine, a conviction will cost you an increased auto insurance premium that will likely cost more than you would pay an attorney.
Are You Eligible for TVS Because of Your Traffic Ticket?
Too many drivers waste time and money on taking the traffic violators school (TVS) when it will not provide them a financial benefit. If you have a “fixit” ticket such as “no proof of insurance in possession,” a broken taillight, or loud exhaust, you do not need TVS. It will only benefit a moving violation.
Likewise, TVS is not always the best choice, it could just add more expense. If you have two tickets within 18 months, you can only mask one from your insurance company. Always ask a traffic attorney before deciding to pay the fine and accept TVS.
Some traffic tickets are easy to defend and get a dismissal or reduced charge, but you never know which it is until you ask.
Do Not Go It Alone — Consult a Traffic Attorney
There are three ways to mess up your motor vehicle driving record (MVR): To have an at-fault accident or get convicted of a moving violation are the first two, defending yourself is the third. Just for the record, paying your fine is the same as getting convicted; you arbitrarily plead guilty when you pay the fine.
What’s more, many believe the myth they read on the internet that taking a traffic violator’s school (TVS) “forgives” their ticket. I don’t know how they figure pleading guilty and paying the full fine equals forgiveness, but that’s the myth. It merely keeps your conviction confidential so that your insurance company does not learn of it from the DMV and raises your rate.
Bigger & Harman, APC, Can Help You Resolve Traffic Tickets in Kings County
When you must appear in Hanford Traffic Court in Kings County because of a mandatory court appearance or because you wish to challenge your traffic ticket, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdf