Do I Have to Go to Court for a Traffic Ticket?

    It is highly common for drivers to underestimate the significance of being issued a traffic ticket. Though it may seem to be nothing more than an inconvenience – both concerning time and finances – a traffic ticket can have notable consequences, depending on the case. These tickets are typically issued for minor offenses such as ignoring a stop sign or speeding, which is why they do not usually require court appearances to resolve the case. If you wish to dispute the ticket, however, then you may need to prepare to go to court over it. Here are a few details to consider, provided by Ellis Injury Law, when determining whether or not a trial is appropriate for you, following the issuance of a traffic ticket. 

    Getting a Traffic Ticket – Will You Be Expected in Court?

    Traffic tickets are most often not severe enough to warrant a court appearance. Most violations are so minor that they do not justify the legal expenses and time commitments associated with a trial, so they are typically handled independently. As the recipient of the ticket, you would simply refer to the information printed on the citation to learn how to pay the fine. Once the fine is paid, the case is closed, and you move on as if it never happened. Still, not everyone is satisfied by this process, especially since paying the fine is legally regarded as an admission of guilt.

    If you believe that you were wrongfully issued this citation, then the process of addressing your ticket will look much different. This is one case in which you can reasonably expect to go to court. This way, you can make your case to a judge on why you do not deserve to pay the fines associated with the alleged violation. If the officer who issued your ticket does not show up in court, then the fines will be waived, and you will no longer be expected to fulfill the payments or endure any related penalties. (If the citation cannot be dismissed entirely, the judge may be able to reduce the fine or develop a payment plan for you.)

    Types of Traffic Tickets that Require a Court Appearance

    However, disputes are not the only justifications for going to court over a traffic ticket. There are a handful of cases in which you would have to go to court to resolve the matter, whether you intend to dispute it or not. The eligible violations include:

    • Driving 25+ over the speed limit
    • Hit-and-run accidents
    • Driving with a suspended license
    • Reckless driving
    • Causing an accident that results in wrongful death or serious injuries

    If you are guilty of any of the above violations, then you need a lawyer to represent you in court. You may be tempted to skip the trial entirely in an attempt to hide from possible repercussions, but this will only make matters worse. Anyone who fails to pay a traffic ticket or neglects to appear in court on the specified date may have their license suspended or face additional penalties, including possible misdemeanor charges. Hire an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you face only the appropriate charges and to prevent the circumstances from worsening.