When Is It Worth Fighting a Traffic Ticket?
One of the questions we most commonly receive from clients facing traffic violations is whether it is worth the time and effort to fight a traffic ticket. Just because you can win doesn’t mean it’s a worthwhile pursuit. However, in some situations, a ticket can result in hefty fines and thousands of dollars’ worth of increased insurance premiums, which means it is very much in your interest to fight it.
A conversation with your attorney can help you determine whether it’s more sensible to pay the ticket and move on, or to contest it. If you decide you will contest the ticket, do not pay the ticket first — this is an admission of guilt. Instead, make plans to contest the ticket in court with the assistance of your attorney.
Keep in mind that there are no statewide processes for contesting traffic tickets in Georgia. The way you proceed will vary based on the county in which the ticket was issued.
How to fight a ticket
These are some of the most frequently used defenses used by people issued traffic citations:
- Officer not showing up: If the police officer fails to show up to your hearing, you automatically win. You can increase the chances of an officer no-show by postponing the court date to a date other than the one on your ticket, or choosing one that’s closer to holidays.
- Camera tickets: Camera tickets often have fewer obstacles to a successful challenge than tickets issued by an officer. Courthouses tend not to go to the trouble of bringing the picture or video to court. The opinion of the officer who viewed the tape can be argued to be hearsay.
- Sixth Amendment: The Sixth Amendment guarantees you the right to a speedy trial. In many areas, you’ll be asked to sign a document that waives your Sixth Amendment rights to allow the trial to occur later than state law requires. Never sign such a document.
- Errors on the ticket: If there are significant errors on your ticket, such as a wrong date, the wrong road or highway or the wrong make or model of your vehicle, you may be able to get your ticket dismissed.
In any case, it pays to seek representation by a skilled attorney who has successfully fought tickets like yours.