They say that the only real mistakes are the ones we don’t learn from. Life presents us with numerous ways to make mistakes, especially if you ever have to go to traffic court. Before you do, learn the top mistakes people make in traffic court so that you can learn from their experiences and avoid them yourself.
It takes humility and courage to admit you’ve made a mistake. It takes observation and intelligence to find lessons in the mistakes of others. The following traffic court mistakes can be averted, but only if you know how.
Traffic court mistake 1
Going in unprepared
It’s easy to think you will just go into traffic court, tell the judge what happened and why the police officer was wrong. Unfortunately, this typically comes off as whiny and critical and the judge won’t like it. This behavior won’t get you a dismissal.
You need to research your violation and the related laws. That way, after the officer explains what you did wrong, you will have a better chance at discrediting his account. Did he satisfy all aspects of the statute? Make your case and ask pertinent questions, such as how the officer made use of the speed measuring device. When you finally have your day in traffic court, make sure you have any necessary paperwork. Realize that the deck is already stacked against you and your only real defense must be based on legal claims.
Traffic court mistake 2
Not using your time wisely
If you have ever been to traffic court, you know that it can take hours and you have no choice except to wait. You will often see people on their cell phones, talking to someone nearby or reading.
What you should be doing instead is listening to the defendants that come to the judge before you get your turn. This will allow you to recognize patterns in how the judge rules on different issues, mistakes people are making and what you should or should not do when your time comes. Most people will probably use the same or similar excuses, like “the light was yellow” or “there was no speed limit sign.” Notice the judge’s face and the decisions handed down after these reasons are given. What happens if someone is rude or talks out of turn? Learn from their mistakes.
For example, following proper court procedure will go a long way in showing the judge that you take the charges seriously and you are ready to properly defend yourself.
Traffic court mistake 3
Saying too much
In an effort to prove their case, many people come to traffic court and ramble incessantly. They believe that the more details they provide, the better prepared they will appear. This assumption is incorrect.
Since you are not obligated to give any information that is not legally required, don’t. The excuses you think will clear you almost always won’t. For instance, if you tell the judge that you were only speeding for a few minutes or you were just going as fast as everyone else doesn’t cut it. The fact remains that you were still speeding.
Traffic court mistake 4
Just paying the fine to get it over with
Sometimes, people think that just paying the fine will make everything go away. This belief may be especially prevalent if you received your ticket in another state or that this is the least expensive option. You might also think that you are guilty anyway so it’s not worth the trouble to take time off, appear in court, only to get the same results.
Some people feel so defeated by the process that they decide not to show up in traffic court altogether, hoping that their case will simply slip through the cracks. However, rest assured that once found and could face even stiffer penalties.
The truth is that no matter where you get a ticket, it will eventually show up on your record in your home state. This will likely cause an increase in your insurance premiums and maybe even points on your license. You could even be at risk for losing your license or driving privileges.
Traffic court mistake 5
Not hiring an attorney
Many people believe it’s not worth the expense to come to traffic court with an attorney. Truth be told it might actually be more expensive in the long run to go without one. It may help to think of it this way: doctors don’t operate on themselves, they enlist professional help. In a court of law, any type of court, a lawyer has the necessary expertise to handle whatever comes up.
You might view traffic tickets as minor or no big deal. However, they can easily snowball into something bigger. Especially if you don’t know what you are doing or what to expect in traffic court.
Your attorney might be able to help you cut through lines and red tape to negotiate with the prosecutor quickly and solve your issue without all the legal drama. Also, she or he will have more influence and esteem with judges and prosecutors than you do.
The attorney you choose should have extensive experience in handling traffic tickets in New Jersey, success in winning numerous citations and be willing to appear in traffic court on your behalf. Whoever represents you in traffic court should be the same one you speak to, not some junior staff member with little experience who doesn’t know your case.
In addition, don’t fall for sleazy sales tactics or bait-and-switch pricing. If they provide a guarantee, such as no points or no fee, make sure you understand what is being offered before you sign anything.
Get the best DWI lawyer in Morris County.
Drunken driving laws in New Jersey can be very complex. It’s essential that your attorney is knowledgeable about the laws in your area and the charges you are facing. At the Law offices of Marc A. Futterweit, they understand Morris county traffic court, and can give you the best possible legal help and advice.