If you have recently received a traffic ticket from an officer, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. You know you want to fight the ticket, but you have no idea where to begin. It will take some time and effort to plan a defense, and there are a few different types of defense that you can use depending on the situation.
1. The Officer Had an Obstructed View
There are several situations in which an officer may say that they witnessed a traffic violation occurring when in fact they did not have a clear line of sight of the scene. The officer's view could have been obstructed by a number of things, such as a building, fence or tree. In some cases, their view could have been obstructed by moving vehicles on the road.
Unfortunately, the officer tends to get the benefit of the doubt in these types of situations. Therefore, it is imperative that you have physical evidence that can back up your claims.
To begin your defense, you will want to have witnesses, such as bystanders or passengers. It is also a good idea to have photographs, drawings and video from the scene that can help demonstrate that the officer's view of the alleged violation was obstructed. This is most helpful if you know where the officer was parked and can take photos from where they were sitting at the time of the alleged violation.
2. You Made a Mistake Due to a Technicality
While making mistakes aren't exactly the wisest choice of action, a technicality defense may be the best way to fight your traffic ticket.
For example, if you were pulled over and given a ticket for speeding, and the speed limit sign couldn't be seen due to the fact that it was covered by overhanging branches, then you couldn't have known how fast to drive. The same can be said for a faded stop line at an intersection — you have no idea how far to pull up if you can't see it.
However, in order to use this defense, you will need proof from the time the officer gave you the citation. Make sure that you can take a video or photo with a timestamp. If possible, get your evidence the same day as being cited with the traffic violation. This is particularly important if the speed limit sign was covered in snow, in which case, a weather report for that particular day may come in handy as well.
3. The Issuing Officer Made a Citation Mistake
While it is not very common that the issuing officer will make a mistake when writing you a ticket, every human is prone to making mistakes. Therefore, take the time to carefully review the citation that you have been given. Make sure that you understand the difference between an honest mistake and a fatal flaw.
For example, an honest mistake may be accidentally taking down the wrong color of your car (almond instead of gold or black instead of dark green) or providing a different description of the day's weather. These things won't matter to a judge.
However, a fatal flaw is going to make a difference and could help get your citation dismissed. These types of issues include things like noting a completely different make or model of vehicle or misidentifying you in some way. Of course, this rarely happens, and it is most definitely a long shot. However, it never hurts to double-check.
If you have been cited for a traffic violation and would like assistance putting together a solid defense, contact a qualified traffic violation attorney at Tolbert & Tolbert, LLP.