Traffic laws make provisions for various traffic offenses that a driver can violate. An offending driver reserves the right to decide how he wishes to handle his situation. On a daily basis, drivers are cited for different violations which may be for reasons such as speeding, driving against traffic, running a red light, or some other traffic disobedience. The penalty for traffic tickets may not be harmful since traffic offenses are generally regarded as simple offenses which in most cases can only attract the punishment of a fine.
The hassles attached to traffic tickets usually require an offender to invest time, energy and payment of huge fines and increased insurance rates. The purpose of this article is to converse some of the legal options available to motorists on how to handle their situation.
Traffic Disobedience compared To Other Offenses
In nearly every state, the law considers minor traffic offenses such as speeding, running a red light or driving against traffic as minor offenses and they are usually cited and heard in Traffic Courts. This is different from other traffic violations viewed as more serious offenses such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and Reckless Driving charge are heard in the Criminal Court.
Legal Options Available To Offenders
Options legal options available to individual offenders would always depend on the particular situation regarding the facts of each case such as the State of residence of the person and the extant laws applicable therein. However, usually, an offender will be faced with deciding on any of the following options:
• Sign up or register for traffic school
• Challenge the traffic ticket, and
• Engage an attorney.
In making any or all of the above-listed choices, it pertinent that you take note of the following:
The traffic school is also known as “defensive driving” or “driving safety” class. It is applicable in some states. The traffic school enables the relevant authority to keep records of the violations of the individual motorists and circumvent the connected insurance rate hike.
A good number States that have traffic school permits drivers to participate only once every twelve or eighteen months. In many other situations, the traffic school is not available for specific categories of more serious traffic violations.
It is noteworthy that the driver usually must bear the costs of traffic school which may be between $10 and $100. Some other States makes it mandatory for the offender to pay the citation fine or traffic tickets in addition to attending the traffic school.
The Option of Challenging The Traffic Tickets
Most offenders who do not want to go through the troubles of challenging traffic tickets would usually pay the citation fees and move on with their lives. The law provides the option of challenging or contesting traffic tickets where a driver does not want to attend traffic school; then he will have to decide to fight the ticket before a court.
More often than not, the offender would have to hire an attorney (where he may not be available personally) to raise defenses in law before a traffic court; or where the driver considers the issuance of the traffic ticket as unjustly done, or that the drivers believe he is innocent and would demand a review of the facts leading to the issuance of the traffic tickets.
Paying a ticket is absolutely the easiest way of resolving traffic citations; however, it is not suggesting in any way that drivers who believe they have been unjustly treated should not fight for their rights. The right choice on the option to take will always depend on the circumstance and uniqueness of each case.
A driver can avoid having to go to court by paying the ticket online or through the mail, but there are disadvantages to it as the driver will be made to pay the maximum possible fine and the insurance rates will probably be hiked.
A driver may also decide to plead guilty before a court, and he may have the opportunity to have the judge reduce your fine.
Disputing traffic tickets usually requires an investment of time and money, especially where you opt to hire an attorney though, on the other hand, it gives you a chance of thrashing the ticket and becoming exculpated entirely from the penalty.
There are two ways a driver can win his case: the judge may upon evaluation of facts and based on the preponderance of evidence find the driver not guilty after trial; secondly, the officer who cited the driver might not show up to court and thereby giving the driver a technical victory.
The other part of disputing a citation means the driver will have to appear in court at least once. Traffic court sits during business hours, which means that the driver will be absent from work or school. Some States, such as California and Oregon allows the driver to challenge a traffic ticket in writing where the matter will be heard based on affidavit evidence. The procedure is called trial by “declaration” or “affidavit.”
The Option Of Hiring an Attorney
Hiring an attorney is another option in dealing with traffic issues. It may not be necessary for drivers who opt to plead guilty or go to traffic school to hire an attorney. This is based on the fact that an attorney is needed in traffic matters only for two reasons:
where the driver has decided not to pay the fine or sign up for a traffic school and have chosen to dispute the ticket but would not be available to conduct his case personally or cannot handle the legal complications of the case.
For persons who have decided to contest their citation, hiring a lawyer offers so many benefits such as the driver would not have to be in court personally, the experience, professional expertise and legal knowledge of the traffic attorney might have a better shot of thrashing the case at trial.