You may think a traffic ticket is merely a costly inconvenience, but some traffic violations can have substantial consequences. Being charged with a DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and other serious traffic violations can lead to a revoked or suspended license, costly fines and even jail time. Seeking the counsel of experienced lawyers who handle traffic tickets in Pennsylvania may help you get charges reduced or dismissed and lower the number of points that are placed on your license. These four steps for contesting a traffic ticket can help you understand how the legal process works when you receive a traffic ticket.
1. Pay Attention to Points
Pennsylvania uses a point system for traffic violations. The more serious the violation; the more points placed against your driver’s license. Points for multiple minor violations can also add up quickly and put your driver’s license, auto insurance coverage and even your livelihood at risk. Serious offenses such as speeding in an active work zone can result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
2. Be Polite to Law Enforcement
It may seem obvious, but being rude or belligerent with a police officer will not help your case. Comply with the officer’s requests and respond politely and calmly. If you are apologetic and compliant, many officers will issue a citation for violation of PA Motor Vehicle Code Section 3111, Obedience to Traffic Control Devices instead of speeding, which will help you avoid putting points on your license.
3. Promptly Contest the Citation
If you believe you received an unfair ticket you can challenge it in court. To submit a not guilty plea, check the “not guilty” box and date and sign the citation. Mail it to the court that is listed on the citation in the specified time frame, which is typically 10 days. If you do not pay or respond to a citation within this period of time a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
4. Hire an Attorney
If you don’t feel confident about contesting your ticket yourself, it is vital to hire an experienced traffic violations attorney, which is often less expensive than paying hefty fines and higher insurance rates. Having a lawyer in your corner also increases the chances of charges and fines being reduced or dismissed.
Your attorney will review your driving record and the facts of the incident for potential problems with human error, traffic control and enforcement devices. If you are facing criminal charges such as DUI or were involved in a motor vehicle accident, criminal lawyers should handle your case.
An attorney will take care of negotiations with all involved parties, which may include the officer who issued the citation, the judge and/or district attorney; and will appear in court to handle the resolution of your case. If you are convicted, he or she can also file a summary appeal of your traffic conviction to the Court of Common Pleas to have charges dismissed or reduced.
If you have been charged with a traffic violation, our skilled West Chester criminal lawyer will protect your rights and work to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.