DES MOINES, Iowa, Aug. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Even the best drivers occasionally get ticketed for going over the speed limit or running a red light. When in the wrong, most people generally choose to admit it and pay the fine. However, there are times when you don't think the ticket is justified, receipt of a ticket may increase your insurance premium or your license may be at risk if you don't contest the charges.
"If you choose to fight a ticket, you can either hire an attorney who can try to dispute the charge to have it dismissed or negotiate a plea arrangement," says Ann Cosimano, General Counsel for ARAG®, a global provider of legal solutions. "Or you can attend traffic court yourself to try to accomplish the same."
To better understand what goes into fighting a ticket, whether on your own or with an attorney, here's an overview of the steps you'll need to take. For more information on traffic tickets, download ARAG's free Traffic Tickets guidebook (link).
- Let the court know you're contesting.A court date and location is typically listed on the citation you receive. If it is your first appearance, you or your attorney can let the magistrate or prosecutor know that you wish to contest your ticket and the court should provide you with an adjournment (continuance) and a new trial date.
- Request documents and information. Either you or your attorney can submit a written request to review any items the officer collected during the traffic stop and any items he used in his investigation (breathalyzer, radar gun, etc). For instance, with a red light violation you can request any recorded tape showing the violation. If the tape cannot be produced, then there is a possibility that your ticket will be dismissed.
- Know the laws. Every state has its own set of traffic laws (generally available on your state legislature's site or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website). These resources will be limited to the actual traffic laws and not advice. Keep in mind that neither the DMV, the court nor a prosecutor can provide you with legal advice.
- Defenses. If you decide you are going to defend yourself, you need to understand that it would be wise to learn the defenses available to you by the law, but it will take time and effort in a local law library. Beware of specific information on the Internet regarding traffic defenses and the law posted by novices. If the information is not provided by a traffic law attorney in the relevant jurisdiction, he or she may not have a full understanding of the law nor how to apply it to the facts of your case.
In general terms, here are a few matters that may be used to defend a traffic ticket yourself:
- The stop was unlawful or without reason or justification. If it can be shown at trial that the traffic stop was without justification or illegal then the entire ticket may be dismissed by the judge.
- The offense was not committed. The judge will have to weigh the testimony of the driver and any of the driver's witnesses against the officer's testimony.
- You were involved in an accident where either monetary and/or injuries were sustained. Tickets are often issued if you were involved in an accident. If you can provide the prosecutor with an insurance letter showing that your insurance company will cover the damages, then the ticket may be dismissed.
Even minor traffic tickets can have major consequences. Another option to consider is purchase a legal plan. These plans, which are offered by providers like ARAG, offer convenient access to a nationwide network of attorneys and legal resources that can help when unexpected events happen. Many purchase a legal plan so they know they'll have immediate access to professional services and resources when a legal need arises.
ARAG ® (www.ARAGgroup.com) provides affordable legal solutions through trusted service to help people protect what matters most.
ARAG is the world's largest privately owned legal solutions enterprise. The company has an international premium base of nearly $2 billion and protects 15.5 million individuals and their families – worldwide. We are committed to providing our customers a choice of legal solutions to help them live a life full of opportunities.
We demonstrate expertise, integrity and passion in everything we do to serve our customers and make a positive difference in our community. We are proud to sponsor ARAG Free Will Day, providing low and middle income citizens with free access to attorneys for the creation of important legal documents to protect their family, finances and future.
ARAG's North American headquarters are based in Des Moines, Iowa. We've earned the prestigious Center of Excellence Award for six consecutive years (2007-2012) and have been awarded a Top 100 and Top 20 Call Center (2010-2011). ARAG team members voted ARAG a Best Places to Work in Insurance (2009-2012).
For more news and information about ARAG visit ARAGgroup.com.