Nearly everyone of driving age has at some time or another received a ticket for violating the rules of the road. Most people just accept the ticket as law and pay their fine, but it is often the case that they could have received a reduced fine or been cleared of the charges if they had just investigated their case more carefully and gone to court.

Did You Actually Break the Law?

Police officers often don’t know the exact wording of the laws that they are trying to enforce, and it is often the case that they give out tickets when there has technically been no violation of the law. When you first get your ticket, do a little research to determine whether or not you actually violated the exact wording of the law that you have been charged under. If you can show that your circumstances did not violate the law’s exact wording, you should be found not guilty in court.

A Good Defense

Even if you were in violation of the law, you may have an opportunity for defense that will hold up in court. Ask yourself a few questions about the circumstances surrounding your violation to see if you have a defense:

  • Was the officer’s view obstructed in any way? If their view could have been obstructed, you can usually argue that they could not have seen the events clearly. Be ready to explain the events in your own words to explain the potential misunderstanding.
  • Did the police officer stop the right car? Heavy traffic situations combined with a common car model and color can lead to an officer pulling over the wrong vehicle. If you can show that the officer may have lost sight of the offending vehicle between observing the violation and pulling you over, you may have a valid defense.
  • Were you driving safely while speeding? In many states, it is legal to drive slightly over the speed limit as long as the surrounding conditions allow it to be safe for you to do so.

Ultimately, whether you pay your fine or go to court depends on whether you believe you will receive an advantage from going to court. If you have a solid defense or did not actually violate the law, you may receive anything from a reduced fine to a not guilty verdict.