Traffic Ticket Content 11/22/21

TRANSPORTATION CODE


CHAPTER 708. DRIVER RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 708.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter, “department” and “license” have the meanings assigned by Section 521.001.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.002.  RULES.  The department shall adopt and enforce rules to implement and enforce this chapter.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.003.  FINAL CONVICTIONS. For purposes of this chapter, a conviction for an offense to which this chapter applies is a final conviction, regardless of whether the sentence is probated.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.


SUBCHAPTER B. DRIVER’S LICENSE POINTS SURCHARGE
§ 708.051.  NONAPPLICABILITY. This subchapter does not apply to:

(1)  an offense committed before September 1, 2003;

or

(2)  an offense covered by Subchapter C.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.  Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 8, § 2.03, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.

§ 708.052.  ASSIGNMENT OF POINTS FOR CERTAINCONVICTIONS. 

(a)  The driver’s license of a person accumulates a point under this subchapter as of the date the department records a conviction of the person under Section 521.042 or other applicable law.

(b)  For each conviction arising out of a separate transaction, the department shall assign points to a person’s license as follows:

(1)  two points for a moving violation of the traffic law of this state or another state that is not described by Subdivision (2);

and

(2)  three points for a moving violation of the traffic law of this state, another state, or a political subdivision of this or another state that resulted in an accident.

(c)  The department by rule shall designate the offenses that constitute a moving violation of the traffic law under this section.

(d)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), the department may not assign points to a person’s driver’s license if the offense of which the person was convicted is the offense of speeding and the person was at the time of the offense driving less than 10 percent faster than the posted speed limit.  This subsection does not apply to an offense committed in a school crossing zone as defined by Section 541.302.

(e)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), the department may not assign points to a person’s license if the offense committed by the person was adjudicated under Article 45.051 or 45.0511, Code of Criminal Procedure.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.053.  ANNUAL SURCHARGE FOR POINTS. 

Each year, the department shall assess a surcharge on the license of a person who has accumulated six or more points under this subchapter during the preceding 36-month period.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.054.  AMOUNT OF POINTS SURCHARGE. 

The amount of a surcharge under this chapter is $100 for the first six points and $25 for each additional point.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.055.  NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT OF FIFTH POINT.

The department shall notify the holder of a driver’s license of the assignment of a fifth point on that license by first class mail sent to the person’s most recent address as shown on the records of the department.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.


SUBCHAPTER C. SURCHARGES FOR CERTAIN CONVICTIONS AND LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
§ 708.101.  NONAPPLICABILITY. 

This subchapter does not apply to an offense committed before September 1, 2003.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.  Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 8, § 2.03, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.

§ 708.102.  SURCHARGE FOR CONVICTION OF CERTAIN INTOXICATED DRIVER OFFENSES.

(a)  In this section, “offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated” has the meaning assigned by Section 49.09, Penal Code.

(b)  Each year the department shall assess a surcharge on the license of each person who during the preceding 36-month period has been finally convicted of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

(c)  The amount of a surcharge under this section is $1,000 per year, except that the amount of the surcharge is:

(1)  $1,500 per year for a second or subsequent conviction within a 36-month period;  and

(2)  $2,000 for a first or subsequent conviction if it is shown on the trial of the offense that an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.16 or more at the time the analysis was performed.

(d)  A surcharge under this section for the same conviction may not be assessed in more than three years.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.103.  SURCHARGE FOR CONVICTION OF DRIVING WHILE LICENSE INVALID OR WITHOUT FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. 

(a)  Each year the department shall assess a surcharge on the license of each person who during the preceding 36-month period has been convicted of an offense under Section 521.457, 601.191, or 601.371.

(b)  The amount of a surcharge under this section is $250 per year.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.104.  SURCHARGE FOR CONVICTION OF DRIVING WITHOUT VALID LICENSE. 

(a)  Each year the department shall assess a surcharge on the license of a person who during the preceding 36-month period has been convicted of an offense under Section 521.021.

(b)  The amount of a surcharge under this section is $100 per year.

(c)  A surcharge under this section for the same conviction may not be assessed in more than three years.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.


SUBCHAPTER D. COLLECTION OF SURCHARGES
§ 708.151.  NOTICE OF SURCHARGE. 

The department shall notify the holder of a driver’s license of the assessment of a surcharge on that license by first class mail sent to the person’s most recent address as shown on the records of the department.  The notice must specify the date by which the surcharge must be paid and state the consequences of a failure to pay the surcharge.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.152.  FAILURE TO PAY SURCHARGE. 

(a)  If before the 30th day after the date the department sends a notice under Section 708.151 the person fails to pay the amount of a surcharge on the person’s license or fails to enter into an installment payment agreement with the department, the license of the person is automatically suspended.

(b)  A license suspended under this section remains suspended until the person pays the amount of the surcharge and any related costs.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.153.  INSTALLMENT PAYMENT OF SURCHARGE.

(a)  The department by rule shall provide for the payment of a surcharge in installments.

(b)  A rule under this section:

(1)  may not permit a person to pay a surcharge:

(A)  of less than $2,300 over a period of more than 12 consecutive months;

or

(B)  of $2,300 or more over a period of more than 24 consecutive months;

and

(2)  may provide that if the person fails to make a required installment payment, the department may declare the amount of the unpaid surcharge immediately due and payable.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.154.  CREDIT CARD PAYMENT OF SURCHARGE. 

(a)  The department by rule may authorize the payment of a surcharge by use of a credit card.  The rules shall require the person to pay all costs incurred by the department in connection with the acceptance of the credit card.

(b)  If a surcharge or a related cost is paid by credit card and the amount is subsequently reversed by the issuer of the credit card, the license of the person is automatically suspended.

(c)  A license suspended under this section remains suspended until the person pays the amount of the surcharge and any related costs.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 708.155.  CONTRACTS FOR COLLECTION OF SURCHARGES. 

The department may enter into a contract with a private attorney or a public or private vendor for the provision of services for the collection of surcharges receivable and related costs under this chapter.  The total amount of compensation may not exceed 30 percent of the amount of the surcharges and related costs collected.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.  Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., 3rd C.S., ch. 8, § 2.04, eff. Jan. 11, 2004.

§ 708.156.  REMITTANCE OF SURCHARGES COLLECTED TO COMPTROLLER. 

Each surcharge collected by the department under this chapter shall be remitted to the comptroller as required by Section 780.002, Health and Safety Code.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

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Below you will find Chapter 544 of the Texas Transportation Code in its entirety.  Many moving violations including Red Lights and Stop Signs are found in Chapter 544.

Example: For Running a Stop Sign see Section 544.010, “Stop Signs and Yield Signs.”

For Running a Red Light see Section 544.007(d), “Traffic Control Signals in General.”

§ 544.001.  ADOPTION OF SIGN MANUAL FOR STATE HIGHWAYS. 

The Texas Transportation Commission shall adopt a manual and specifications for a uniform system of traffic-control devices consistent with this chapter that correlates with and to the extent possible conforms to the system approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 544.002.  PLACING AND MAINTAINING TRAFFIC-CONTROL DEVICE. 

(a)  To implement this subtitle, the Texas Department of Transportation may place and maintain a traffic-control device on a state highway as provided by the manual and specifications adopted under Section 544.001.  The Texas Department of Transportation may provide for the placement and maintenance of the device under Section 221.002.
(b)  To implement this subtitle or a local traffic ordinance, a local authority may place and maintain a traffic-control device on a highway under the authority’s jurisdiction.  The traffic-control device must conform to the manual and specifications adopted under Section 544.001.
(c)  A local authority may not place or maintain a traffic-control device on a highway under the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Transportation without that department’s permission.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 544.003.  AUTHORITY TO DESIGNATE THROUGH HIGHWAY AND STOP AND YIELD INTERSECTIONS. 

(a)  The Texas Transportation Commission may:
(1)  designate a state or county highway as a through highway and place a stop or yield sign at a specified entrance;  or
(2)  designate an intersection on a state or county highway as a stop intersection or a yield intersection and place a sign at one or more entrances to the intersection.
(b)  A local authority may:
(1)  designate a highway under its jurisdiction as a through highway and place a stop or yield sign at a specified entrance;  or
(2)  designate an intersection on a highway under its jurisdiction as a stop intersection or a yield intersection and place a sign at one or more entrances to the intersection.
(c)  The stop or yield sign indicating the preferential right-of-way must:
(1)  conform to the manual and specifications adopted under Section 544.001;  and
(2)  be located:
(A)  as near as practicable to the nearest line of the crosswalk;  or
(B)  in the absence of a crosswalk, at the nearest line of the roadway.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 544.004.  COMPLIANCE WITH TRAFFIC-CONTROL DEVICE. 

(a)  The operator of a vehicle or streetcar shall comply with an applicable official traffic-control device placed as provided by this subtitle unless the person is:
(1)  otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer;
or
(2)  operating an authorized emergency vehicle and is subject to exceptions under this subtitle.
(b)  A provision of this subtitle requiring an official traffic-control device may not be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation the device is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to an ordinarily observant person.  A provision of this subtitle that does not require an official traffic-control device is effective regardless of whether a device is in place.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 544.005.  INTERFERENCE WITH TRAFFIC-CONTROL DEVICE OR RAILROAD SIGN OR SIGNAL. 

A person may not, without lawful authority, alter, injure, knock down, or remove or attempt to alter, injure, knock down, or remove:
(1)  an official traffic-control device or railroad sign or signal;
(2)  an inscription, shield, or insignia on an official traffic-control device or railroad sign or signal;  or
(3)  another part of an official traffic-control device or railroad sign or signal.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 544.006.  DISPLAY OF UNAUTHORIZED SIGNS, SIGNALS, OR MARKINGS. 

(a)  A person may not place, maintain, or display on or in view of a highway an unauthorized sign, signal, marking, or device that:
(1)  imitates or resembles an official traffic-control device or railroad sign or signal;
(2)  attempts to direct the movement of traffic;  or
(3)  hides from view or hinders the effectiveness of an official traffic-control device or railroad sign or signal.
(b)  A person may not place or maintain on a highway, and a public authority may not permit on a highway, a traffic sign or signal bearing commercial advertising.
(c)  A person may not place or maintain a flashing light or flashing electric sign within 1,000 feet of an intersection except under a permit issued by the Texas Transportation Commission.
(d)  This section does not prohibit a person from placing on private property adjacent to a highway a sign that gives useful directional information and that cannot be mistaken for an official sign.
(e)  A sign, signal, light, or marking prohibited under this section is a public nuisance.  The authority with jurisdiction over the highway may remove that sign, signal, light, or marking without notice.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 544.007.  TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNALS IN GENERAL. 

(a)  A traffic-control signal displaying different colored lights or colored lighted arrows successively or in combination may display only green, yellow, or red and applies to operators of vehicles as provided by this section.
(b)  An operator of a vehicle facing a circular green signal may proceed straight or turn right or left unless a sign prohibits the turn.  The operator shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk when the signal is exhibited.
(c)  An operator of a vehicle facing a green arrow signal, displayed alone or with another signal, may cautiously enter the intersection to move in the direction permitted by the arrow or other indication shown simultaneously.  The operator shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other traffic lawfully using the intersection.
(d)  An operator of a vehicle facing only a steady red signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop line.  In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.  A vehicle that is not turning shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown.  After stopping, standing until the intersection may be entered safely, and yielding right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other traffic lawfully using the intersection, the operator may:
(1)  turn right;  or
(2)  turn left, if the intersecting streets are both one-way streets and a left turn is permissible.
(e)  An operator of a vehicle facing a steady yellow signal is warned by that signal that:
(1)  movement authorized by a green signal is being terminated;  or
(2)  a red signal is to be given.
(f)  The Texas Transportation Commission, a municipal authority, or the commissioners court of a county may prohibit within the entity’s jurisdiction a turn by an operator of a vehicle facing a steady red signal by posting notice at the intersection that the turn is prohibited.
(g)  This section applies to an official traffic-control signal placed and maintained at a place other than an intersection, except for a provision that by its nature cannot apply.  A required stop shall be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating where the stop shall be made.  In the absence of such a sign or marking, the stop shall be made at the signal.
(h)  The obligations imposed by this section apply to an operator of a streetcar in the same manner they apply to the operator of a vehicle.
(i)  An operator of a vehicle facing a traffic-control signal that does not display an indication in any of the signal heads shall stop as provided by Section 544.010 as if the intersection had a stop sign.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.  Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 19.04, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

§ 544.008.  FLASHING SIGNALS. 

(a)  The operator of a vehicle facing a flashing red signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop line.  In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.  In the absence of a crosswalk, the operator shall stop at the place nearest the intersecting roadway where the operator has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway.  The right to proceed is subject to the rules applicable after stopping at a stop sign.
(b)  The operator of a vehicle facing a flashing yellow signal may proceed through an intersection or past the signal only with caution.
(c)  This section does not apply at a railroad crossing.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 544.009.  LANE-DIRECTION-CONTROL SIGNALS. 

If a lane-direction-control signal is placed over an individual lane of a highway, a vehicle may travel in a lane over which a green signal is shown but may not enter or travel in a lane over which a red signal is shown.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 544.010.  STOP SIGNS AND YIELD SIGNS. 

(a)  Unless directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic-control signal, the operator of a vehicle or streetcar approaching an intersection with a stop sign shall stop as provided by Subsection (c).
(b)  If safety requires, the operator of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall stop as provided by Subsection (c).
(c)  An operator required to stop by this section shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.  In the absence of a crosswalk, the operator shall stop at a clearly marked stop line.  In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop at the place nearest the intersecting roadway where the operator has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 544.011.  LANE USE SIGNS. 

If, on a highway having more than one lane with vehicles traveling in the same direction, the Texas Department of Transportation or a local authority places a sign that directs slower traffic to travel in a lane other than the farthest left lane, the sign must read “left lane for passing only.”

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 628, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.  Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, § 17.08, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

=====================

§
544.007.  TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNALS IN
GENERAL.

(a)  A
traffic-control signal displaying different colored
lights or colored lighted arrows successively or in
combination may display only green, yellow, or red
and applies to operators of vehicles as provided by
this section.

(b)  An operator of a vehicle facing a circular
green signal may proceed straight or turn right or left
unless a sign prohibits the turn.  The operator
shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to
pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or an adjacent
crosswalk when the signal is exhibited.

(c)  An operator of
a vehicle facing a green arrow signal, displayed alone
or with another signal, may cautiously enter the
intersection to move in the direction permitted by the
arrow or other indication shown simultaneously.
The operator shall yield
the right-of-way to a
pedestrian lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other
traffic lawfully using the intersection.

(d)  An operator of
a vehicle facing only a steady red signal shall stop at
a clearly marked stop line.  In the absence of a
stop line, the operator shall stop before entering the
crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.  A
vehicle that is not turning shall remain standing until
an indication to proceed is shown.  After
stopping, standing until the intersection may be
entered safely, and yielding right-of-way to
pedestrians lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other
traffic lawfully using the intersection, the
operator may:

(1)  turn right;  or

(2)  turn left,
if the intersecting streets are both
one-way streets and a
left turn is permissible.

(e)  An operator of
a vehicle facing a steady yellow signal is warned by
that signal that:

(1)  movement
authorized by a green signal is being
terminated;
or

(2)  a red
signal is to be given.

(f)  The Texas
Transportation Commission, a municipal authority, or
the commissioners court of a county may prohibit within
the entity’s jurisdiction a turn by an operator of a
vehicle facing a steady red signal by posting notice at
the intersection that the turn is
prohibited.

(g)  This section
applies to an official traffic-control signal placed
and maintained at a place other than an intersection,
except for a provision that by its nature cannot
apply.  A required stop shall be made at a sign or
marking on the pavement indicating where the stop shall
be made.  In the absence of such a sign
or
marking, the stop shall
be made at the signal.

(h)  The obligations
imposed by this section apply to an operator of a
streetcar in the same manner they apply to the operator
of a vehicle.

(i)  An operator of a vehicle
facing a traffic-control signal that does not
display an indication in any of the signal heads
shall stop as provided by Section 544.010 as if the
intersection had a stop sign.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch.
165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.  Amended by Acts
2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, § 19.04, eff. Sept. 1,
2003.

§
544.008.  FLASHING SIGNALS.

(a)
The operator of a vehicle facing a flashing red
signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop
line.  In the absence of a stop line, the
operator shall stop before entering the crosswalk on
the near side of the intersection.  In the
absence of a crosswalk, the operator shall stop at
the place nearest the intersecting roadway where the
operator has a view of approaching traffic on the
intersecting roadway.  The right to proceed is
subject to the rules applicable after stopping at a
stop sign.

(b)  The operator of a vehicle facing a flashing
yellow signal may proceed through an intersection or
past the signal only with caution.

(c)  This section
does not apply at a railroad
crossing.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch.
165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

===================

In
reality, most traffic ticket lawyers actually try a small number of
cases. Most of their client’s cases are resolved by agreement with
the prosecutor and their client pleading “Nolo Contendre” or “No
Contest” to the charges. The purpose of this book is to show you how
to keep the ticket off your driving record. If you can do that, you
have won. That is the exact same goal of the traffic ticket lawyer
and is what he is trying to accomplish for his client. The lawyer is
trying to keep the ticket from becoming a conviction which causes
points to be put on the client’s permanent driving record. If a
ticket conviction can be kept off the record, then there will not be
any more points which will increase the client’s insurance premiums,
or worse in the case of too many points, that the client’s insurance
coverage will not be canceled, or the state suspends the client’s
driving privileges. I have not included any sections in this book
about how to cross-examine an adverse witness (the police officer),
how to offer and exclude evidence, how to research and argue the
law, how to present witnesses or how to conduct discovery of the
state’s evidence. Neither does this book go into the technical
aspects of radar or laser speed detection, the equipment that is
used, how it is calibrated, the training that is required or the
legal evidentiary predicates that must be laid by the prosecutor
before such evidence can be introduced. From my viewpoint as a
practicing trial lawyer, it would be very difficult for the ticketed
driver to represent themselves on their own case for a number of
reasons. Much of the defense of a traffic ticket case does not occur
in the court room during a trial, but rather informally in
conversations between the attorney and the prosecutor or between the
attorney’s support staff and the court clerks. Lawyers, prosecutors
and judges deal with the traffic ticket system differently, as they
are not the object of it. They do this every day and they often know
each other very well. Lawyers, prosecutors, police and judges deal
with the criminal justice system on a daily basis. It is not
something that they do every two or three years, or even every month
or two. They are all there to move cases, the lawyers trying to get
their clients cases dismissed or probated, the police, prosecutors
and judges trying to resolve the cases so that the revenue that is
paid at conclusion by the ticketed drivers is realized. The traffic
ticket system is less about guilt or innocence, convictions or
acquittals than it is about revenues for the various political
subdivisions of the government that issue the tickets. Traffic
tickets are an invisible tax that we are charged to drive. It is
just that this “tax” is disguised as enforcement of and compliance
with traffic codes and ordinances. Look at it from the city’s side.
All their little part of the government really wants is the money or
revenue that they get from your ticket. If you have a conviction on
the ticket the city gets to keep only a part of fine money…..much
of the money then has to be sent to the state. On the other hand, if
you are not convicted, but plead “No Contest” the traffic court
judge can levy court costs and fees on you, and the city gets to
keep every penny of it. Co-incidently, the court costs and fees will
end up being about the same amount as the fine. So the question
becomes, how does the city get its traffic ticket money without the
drivers being priced out of auto insurance or losing their driver’s
licenses altogether from the accumulation of points from traffic
ticket convictions? It does this by granting ticketed drivers
“Deferred Adjudications”, “Probations” and “Dismissals” for taking
court ordered Defensive Driving School. During those periods of
economic down turn and high unemployment, our states, counties and
cities struggle with budget short falls. It is during these poor
economic times that more tickets get issued. Unfortunately, when
prosperity returns, the states, cities and counties don’t stop
issuing tickets as previous levels, as they have become dependent
upon this source of revenue. Issuing traffic tickets has become and
will continue to be a growth industry. You can’t stop them from
issuing you the ticket, but there are ways to keep it off your
record. That is the most important goal you will accomplish. This
book is going to start in the beginning. You’ve already got a ticket
or you probably would not have bought this book. Lets look at what
you can do from today on to minimize the tickets you will get in the
future. If you observe speed limits and traffic laws you probably
won’t get a ticket, but that isn’t always the case. More tickets are
issued for speeding than for any other traffic offense, and even a
perfect driver lime me occasionly gets a speeding ticket every now
and then. The truth of the matter is that law enforcement officers
occasionally make mistakes and ticket an innocent driver. It is
impossible to drive safely and reasonably and not eventually get an
undeserved ticket. However, most of the time you do deserve the
ticket. Either way, you’ve got a ticket. So what do you do to
minimize your chances for getting a ticket? 1. Does your car attract
attention? Is it going to catch a Cop’s Eye? Hopefully not. Your car
should be neat, clean and in good repair. If it is old, the body,
paint and tires need to be in good condition. Avoid: dark tinted
windows, obnoxious bumper and window stickers, and state issued
numbers attract less attention than personalized license plates. 2.
The cops can see you, can you see them? Even if you never speed, the
use of a radar detector is recommended. You need to know when there
are police in the area that are using radar. There’s just something
about driving a car, seeing a cop with a radar gun and having a
heart attack, even if you’re not speeding. It also helps to get an
early warning. When the detectors go off, as fast as you can, check
the traffic around you and if it is safe to do so, quickly and
firmly put your brakes for only a second or two. This will drop your
speed very quickly, will confuse the officer (the radar numbers will
change instantly) and you will know exactly what your speed is when
you let off your brakes. You can then safely accelerate back up to
the speed limit and set your cruise control. Unless there is a
problem, you don’t want to be driving much under the speed limit, as
that attracts a cop as much as a speeder, and it creates a traffic
hazzard. 3. For road trips, invest in a CB radio. Check the channels
and pick up the truckers in your area. They will see and report the
cops on the radio miles before you will see them. 4. Try to keep
the sun out of your eyes, and keep your eyes open. Be looking for
situations that would provide good hiding spots for a cop with a
radar gun. Look in the medians, on the shoulders behind trees, on
over-passes, watch your rear-view mirror constantly and closely. 5.
When you are driving, your eyes should always be moving. They should
always be moving between the road, your rear and side view mirrors,
your instrument panel, the other traffic, both coming and going, and
the surroundings, allowing them to rest for only a moment each time
you move them to a different subject. Constantly be alert and aware.
Keep the radio on or play some music. Talk to your passengers. Keep
your mind working in as many ways as possible. This will actually
keep you from getting sleepy or sluggish, it will help you to spot
the cops and will keep you alert while you are driving. 6. Check all
the gages on your instrument panel. Make sure that you know your
speed, that your oil pressure is ok, that your battery and
alternator are working and that your engine is not overheating. 7.
Never put packages or cargo in your car that will even partially
obstruct your vision through any of the windows! 8. When you are
watching the traffic keep an eye out for cars coming up from behind
that are traveling at high rates of speed. Speed differential
between vehicles traveling in the same direction is not only the
number one cause of highway accidents, but also the cause of cops
being confused by which car is actually doing speeding. 9. This has
nothing to do with avoiding tickets, however, it may keep you alive.
Avoid driving traps. These are situations where your car is
surrounded on two or more sides by other vehicles (especially
trucks) or immovable barriers. These movable and immovable barriers
may prevent you from being able to make an evasive manoeuver to
avoid an accident.

10. However, if you are in a pack that is traveling
over the speed limit, try to stay in the slow lane as much as
possible and try to be next to, behind or in front of a big truck.
The radar fixes on the larger vehicle. 11. Always observe the “2
second” rule for keeping the proper distance between your front
bumper the rear bumper of the vehicle in front. Watch the car in
front. When its rear bumper passes a road mark (tree, sign, bridge)
your car should not pass the same road mark less than 2 seconds
later. This rule automatically adjusts for speed of the cars, and
will allow enough time and distance for you to come to a complete
stop before you hit the car in front. This will not only help you
avoid a high-speed accident, but will also eliminate the possibility
of a cop pulling you over for reckless driving (tail-gating). 12.
They don’t look like they did. Police and Highway Patrol cars aren’t
necessarily large 4 door, black and white sedans with a rack of
lights on the top. They paint them solid, non-black and white
colors. Some are smaller 2dr models. Some are SUV’s or Pick-up
trucks. The flashing lights are often in the front grills and rear
windows. They still mainly park and use radar to pick up speeders,
so watch for the un-marked police vehicle parked where a cop would.
If you suspect anything at all, always let off the gas. 13. The
radar being used today is not uni-directional. It can also be used
to determine speed by calculating speed differentials. In other
words, the cop can be traveling the opposite direction on the road
as you are, but can use the radar to accurately calculate your
speed. They can also get a good radar fix while traveling in the
same direction as you. They can get you, coming or going.14. Keep a
watchful eye around exits, on-ramps, marked u-turns, medians and
access roads on divided highways and Interstates. Cops in patrol
vehicles and on motorcycles have lots of options for successful
radar targeting of speeders in and around these types of areas.
15. In many of the Western States, where there are vast
scarcely populated areas, states use aircraft to time vehicles
between mile markers painted on the highway (you’ll be able to spot
them as you are driving). The pilot radios the calculated speed to a
ground patrols….this can be done without the use of radar.
Generally there clearly marked warning signs posted that speed is
controlled by aircraft patrols. Aircraft patrols are extremely
difficult to detect. Just be very alert, keep an eye out for the
posted signs, the markings on the roads and small aircraft following
along the highway. When being pulled over there are procedures and
protocols you should follow. In his excellent book,
A Speeder’s Guide to Avoiding Tickets, The Essential Manual for Life
in the Fast Lane
, Avon Books, Inc., 1350 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, New York 10019, 1990, by James M. Eagan, Sgt. Egan,
N.Y.S.P. (Ret.) offers incredible insight into the psychological
make-up of a traffic enforcement officer. For future reference, this
book is well worth the nominal price. I bought mine from Amazon.com.
Officer Eagan tells us that a police officer is motivated by two
great psychological factors and that these two factors impact
everything the officer does or will do. Knowledge of these factors
makes the officer’s actions rather predictable. These two factors
are fear and ego. At both the conscious and subconscious levels a
police officer is always in a defensive mode because of the fear of
being injured or killed. Their survival instincts are much more
developed than those of others. Police are also egotistical, and if
not by nature, are trained to become so. Put the officer’s fears at
rest and feed his/her ego, watch what you say, what you do and you
may have a chance of getting the warning and not the ticket. 1. As
soon as you have seen that you are being stopped, if it is at night,
turn on your interior light then put your right arm out and elbow up
at a 90% angle and wave your hand side to side. This signals to the
officer that you are aware of his presence, and at least for the
time being, acknowledging that it is you he wants to stop (sometimes
he’s not after you, but you won’t know until he has passed you by).
He knows that you are fully co-operating at this point. Continue
your visible co-operation by pulling over the right shoulder of the
road (never pull over to the interior median) as quickly as
possible, safely changing lanes if necessary and properly using your
turn indicators. 2. Pull your car off the right shoulder as much as
possible. If you can do so safely pull your car over far enough for
the officer to be able to park his vehicle between your car and the
roadway. That way he can safely approach your car with his own
protecting him from the traffic. 3. Roll your drivers’ side window
all the way down. If it is dark, turn on the interior light and put
both of your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer to
approach your car. Do not start looking for your drivers license,
vehicle registration, proof of insurance or anything else before he
requests that you do so. From his perspective, it causes your head
to disappear and the glove box to open where you may, for all he
knows, be getting your gun. Just sit still with both hands on the
wheel. You may have to wait while he runs your license plate
through the computer, but just be patient. By all means DO NOT GET
OUT OF THE CAR. Just sit still.4. According to officer Eagan, unless
you have really aggravated him by driving way over the posted speed
limit, failing to see that he is trying to pull you over, doing
something really reckless while pulling over (like slamming on your
brakes or not looking before changing lanes), or doing something
that scares him (opening your glove box before being told to do so,
getting out of the car before being told to do so, or demanding an
explanation from him before he has spoken to you) then he has not
really decided if he is going to write you a ticket or give you a
warning. That will depend upon how you continue to reduce his fear
and feed his ego. 5. When he talks, look him straight into the eyes
(even if he is wearing dark sunglasses). He wants to see your eyes,
but does not want you to see his. Don’t give one syllable answers.
When he asks for your license, registration, proof of insurance,
etc., just say “sure”, “certainly”, “OK” or something like that, be
friendly about it, and then BREAK EYE CONTACT WHILE YOU LOOK, which
will alleave some more of this fear. While you are looking for the
documents, you can start talking to him. 6. When he comes up to your
car, the officer has no desire to have a conversation with you,
however, this is your chance, your only chance, and you’ve only got
about 30 seconds to tell him your story.7. Even though no lawyer in
his right mind would tell you to do this, officer Eagan tells us
that the best way to avoid the ticket at this point is to be
perfectly honest with the cop. Tell him the truth. Admit that you
were going too fast. Tell him why you were speeding, and again
remember to be truthful. Be truthful even if it means saying “I was
speeding because I was bored”. Finally ask him to show you mercy and
give him all the reasons you can think of why its important that he
should.

8. Stay positive, don’t grind on him, don’t mutter
to yourself. Feed his ego and give your self a chance for a warning.
The consequences of a traffic tickets are serious. In addition to
expensive fines, insurance premiums go up, your insurance can be
canceled and with enough convictions, you can loose your driving
privileges. It is therefore important to challenge tickets and avoid
convictions, or take action to keep traffic ticket convictions off
your record, as the consequences of not doing this are very
serious. It is interesting to note that between 80 % and 90% of all
ticketed drivers simply pay the fine. They don’t do this because
they like paying tickets, it is because most drivers don’t know what
the options are. It is a simple matter to find out what the fine
will be on a ticket if you’re just going to pay the fine. This
information is often it is printed on the back of the ticket with an
address where the fine can be mailed. If this information is not on
the ticket, just call the court (whose contact information will be
on the back of the ticket) and the court clerk will be able to tell
you what your fine will be.

Today most traffic courts would rather you not be
convicted on your traffic ticket. This is because if there is a
conviction, the court must send a portion of the fine to the state
government. If, however, there is a “No Contest” plea on your part,
the court is not required to convict and charge a fine. The court
can choose to put you on Probation, give you a Deferred Adjudication
or order your ticket dismissed upon completion of court ordered
Driving School. If this is the case, then with a conviction you can
be charged court costs and fees, allowing the court to keep all of
the costs and fees for the local municipality or Justice Court.
These are generally called deferred adjudication cases (the name
varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction) and accomplish two very
valid purposes. First, they generate income for the ticket issuing
authority and second, they keep the ticket off your record. No
conviction, nothing reported or appears on your driving record
equals no points equals no insurance rate premium increase. If for
what ever reason you do want to fight the ticket, you will need to
get a court setting on a date certain. Sometimes this can be a
problem. If it is a big city, then many times there is more than one
setting. The first time you go to the court house, there will not be
a trial, you will just be given a date for the trial. In smaller
jurisdictions, the problem is not too many cases, it may be too few.
The judge may only hear cases once or twice a month, and you have to
be available on those dates. In any case, be sure and call the court
clerk and be sure you understand the way that particular court
works. Each court is different. One last thing. Always be pleasant
when speaking with the clerk. Don’t get angry or try to put them in
their place. We call them “court house people” and they can make
your life miserable. Just make sure to stay on the good side of the
court house people. Follow the Golden Rule. They can be very helpful
if you are nice. Often you will have an option of taking Driving
School, Defensive Driving Class, or Traffic School (the name varies
from jurisdiction to jurisdiction) in conjunction with a Deferred
Adjudication of your case. This isn’t bad, its good news. Driving
school is usually 8 hours of class, but you will learn quite a bit,
and many insurance companies will reduce your premiums by 10% to 15%
each year for as much as 3 years after you have taken and completed
the course. However, there are generally limitations on taking
Defensive Driving School. Usually, a driver is limited to taking the
course once every 24 months. Also, most states will not allow
dismissal for Driving School in the case of speeding more than 15
miles over the posted limit. Concerning increases in your insurance
premiums, almost all states now have a point system which dictates
what your insurance premiums will be. If you get a ticket or are in
an accident (it doesn’t matter if your are at fault or not) you get
points on your record. The points can stay on your insurance driving
record for three years before they drop off. If you get too many
points, your insurance carrier can cancel your insurance. Generally
speaking, deferred adjudications and dismissals for Traffic Schools
will not appear on your driving record and will not affect your
point score. Be sure and check this with the court. It is possible
to loose your driving privileges for too many tickets or accidents,
however, this does not happen very often. As a general rule, a
driver will not get a license suspended unless there is a major
violation such as DWI/DUI, reckless driving or causing an accident
with a serious injury. However, most states discriminate against
younger drivers and have statutes for drivers under the age of 18.
If you are 18 or younger, you can loose your driving privileges for
as few as two traffic ticket convictions or two accidents in a 24
month period of time. As a practicing trial lawyer of nearly 30
years in the courtroom in front of judges and juries, I recommend
that you:

1.
Consult a traffic ticket attorney to represent you should it become
necessary for your case be tried. This is not about how smart you
are, or how smart the police officer is or the judge for that
matter. This is about the fact that the law is complex and full of
technicalities. As a matter of fact, the law is technicality. In
many ways this is not about the truth. It should be, but it may not
be. This is about being trained in the law and in law enforcement
and about lots of experience. This is about human relationships. Its
about people that see each other every day within the context of a
traffic court. The lawyers know the judges and police officers and
they all know each other. They also know what the local practice and
custom is. There is no way that a short traffic ticket manual can
prepare you to walk into a situation like this and have a clue of
what is going on or what is about to happen. 2. Hiring
an attorney to represent you is about hiring cool-headed detachment,
knowledge, experience and objectivity. It is not possible to be
detached and objective if you are representing yourself. Although
you can clearly “see” and “understand” what happened, it may not be
at all that clear to the prosecutor or judge. It is amazing how
often they just don’t “Get It”. He or she may just not understand
your side. Then you get convicted on the ticket. Pay a fine and you
get points on your driving record. 3. I believe in this concept so
strongly, that I have always hired another attorney to represent me
and the members of my family when we get traffic tickets. I just
turn it over to the other attorney and forget about it.4. There are
valid reasons why you might not hire an attorney to handle your
traffic ticket case. The first reason that comes to mind is the
expense. Yes, lawyers charge for their services, however, their fees
are reasonable in relationship to what is at stake. For example, if
you are convicted on a particular speeding violation it may be a
$125.00 fine and your insurance rates go up $400.00 a year for 3
years. That’s $1,325.00 dollars. The attorney may charge you
something like $100.00 plus court costs of $75.00 for a total of
$175.00, you agree not to get any more tickets for the next 60 days
and the ticket is dismissed. That is a huge savings and is much,
much easier…mentally, emotionally, physically and financially. 5.
Another reason you may not hire an attorney is because you do not
know how to find a traffic ticket lawyer to handle your case. This
may actually be the best reason. I live and practice law in a large
metropolitan area where we have millions in population and more than
15,000 lawyers in the county. However, most of those lawyers would
be hard pressed to name just one traffic ticket attorney. Its hard
to find them even in the yellow pages. There is no listing for
traffic ticket lawyers. Those that practice traffic ticket law are
relatively few in number and not particularly easy to find. However,
they are the ones who really know how to handle tickets, and they
handle them in large volumes. Obviously the purpose of the
traffictickets.com website is to help those with tickets find
lawyers to represent them. The easiest way to find one is to GOTOBUTTON BM_1_ www.traffictickets.com
to find your traffic ticket lawyer.

6. A
third reason is that you simply do not want to hire an attorney to
handle the case, that you would rather handle it yourself. Although
a valid reason, you should keep in mind that you are at a marked
disadvantage if what you want to do is win the case and have the
ticket dismissed. If that is your aim, then allow plenty of time to
prepare your case. Organize it well and write everything out that
you are planning to say. It looks much easier on TV and in the
movies than it really is. Be polite, pleasant and to the point. The
judge does not like un-organized time wasting cases. Have your
witnesses, photographs and other evidence ready. Do not expect to
make your case from the officer’s testimony. His job is to make sure
you are convicted, and he will be good at his job. Your job is to
show that your driving was safe and prudent or that the officer was
mistaken. The shorter and neater your case, the better your chance
of winning. 7. If you must handle your own case then set a goal or
objective that you can reasonably expect to achieve, which is: You
want to keep this ticket off your driving record. The real problems
start when you get tickets on your record. Deferred Adjudication
through a No Contest Plea on your ticket. You will pay court costs
and fees, however, the total won’t be much more than just paying the
ticket would have been. Another option is Defensive Driving School
or Traffic School. Upon a No Contest Plea, Courts will often give
the option of taking a Defensive Driving School in lieu of
conviction. Again, there are court costs to pay, and the cost of the
Defensive Driving School (about $50.00), however, the total cost it
will usually not be much more than just paying the ticket on a
guilty plea would have been. Some jurisdictions may not have these
programs, but may have similar options by different names. Describe
to the clerk, prosecutor or judge what you want. This chapter is
about what happens when you don’t take care of business. 1. When you
are issued a traffic ticket, you have a certain number of days in
which to pay the ticket fine or set the case for trial. 2. If you do
not take care of the ticket within the deadline, the ticket will go
into “Alias” status and a Warrant issued for your arrest.3. In
addition to the original fine there may be additional charges or
court costs added on.4. If you are stopped for a traffic violation
and have an outstanding Arrest Warrant for an earlier ticket, you
will be arrested, and if you are driving by yourself, your car towed
away and impounded. When you get your car back you will be charged
towing and impound fees for each day the car is in the “pound”. The
fees to get the car back can be well over $100.00. 5.
If you have children in the car and no adult passengers, the officer
has the option of calling Child Protective Service to come and get
the children while you are being taken to jail. However, usually the
officer will let you call family or friends to come and get the car
and the children. 6. You will be hand-cuffed, read your rights, sent
to the jail in the back of a police cruiser, finger-printed,
photographed, booked and then thrown into the drunk tank until a
friend or family member posts your bail.7. In addition to having to
post a separate appearance bond for each of your traffic tickets
that have gone into Warrant status, your friend, family member or
lawyer, will also have to post bond for the amount of the fines and
court costs on each of the tickets.8. Then you get your lawyer and
go to court. All of that having been said, what do you think? Do you
want to take care of business or not? You should always vote for
taking care of business, it simplifies your life and you don’t have
to check that box for the rest of your life that appears on every
document you’ll ever sign: “Have you ever been arrested?” That point
having been made, lets say you have a warrant or two out there for
un-paid traffic tickets. What do you do? Hire a lawyer. Your lawyer
will post appearance bonds so that if you are stopped you won’t be
arrested. He will then go to court with you and work out a,
hopefully, favorable and reduced sum (fine and costs) of money which
you will immediately pay to the court for not having taken care of
business. What if you go down to the court house and try to take
care of it yourself. You’ll get arrested as soon as you tell them
who you are. Really! Don’t mess with warrants….hire a lawyer to
help you. Winning a ticket traffic court isn’t easy, however, these
tips should help. 1. Read your ticket carefully. Speeding and
traffic control violations are the most common offenses. Did the
officer get the who, when and where correct? What about license
plate numbers, time, date and place of the offense? Mistakes in
identification are legal defenses and they work. Simpler mistakes
such as year, make and model of your car are less important. Write
down all of the mistakes on the ticket. 2. Was it possible for the
officer see the offense? Did he stop the right car? These are
factual defenses. They can raise doubt. Write down all of the
factual defenses you can think of. 3. In most states a traffic
violation is a criminal offense, generally it is a Class C
Misdemeanor (the lowest criminal offense there is). As such, the
ticket itself is not the document with which you will be prosecuted
in court. After issuing the ticket, the officer swear out a criminal
complaint. You will be tried on the officer’s Sworn Complaint that
sets out the crime with which you are being charged. Compare your
ticket and the complaint carefully. Is there a difference between
the information on the complaint and that on the citation or ticket?
If there is (this is called a variance) then the variance could be
“fatal”, which means that the case against you will be dismissed.
If you can find any type of variance at all, argue that it is fatal.
4. In some instances the posted speed limit is absolute, for
example, in a Posted 20mph School Zone, if you go 21 miles an hour,
you have a violation. However, most of the time exceeding the posted
speed limit merely creates a presumption you were driving at an
un-safe speed. The presumption in favor of the posted limit is what
lawyers and judges call “rebutable”. That is, as the ticketed
driver, you are allowed to present evidence that you were driving at
a safe, reasonable and prudent speed under the driving conditions at
that time, eg., you were driving during daylight, conditions were
clear, the sun was shining, the road surface was dry, traffic was
light, visibility was good for miles in every direction. Obviously,
the more over the limit you were traveling, the harder this defense
becomes. However, particularly on highway speeding tickets, this
defense has been successfully argued many times. Expect that once
you have presented your evidence (your testimony, your passengers,
photographs of the location, etc.) To rebut the posted speed limit
presumption, the officer can rebut your arguments. Expect to hear
him testify that you were driving too fast under the conditions to
be safe, the tires on your car were bald, the road was not flat and
straight, etc. 5. If radar or laser was used, did the police officer
properly calibrate the radar or laser timing device before using it
to calculate your speed? Was the officer properly trained? Quite
frankly, this type of a defense is very technical and should be left
to an attorney. Should you decide to ask these questions, expect
that the officer will have all the right answers. 6. If you are
uncertain about whether or not to fight your ticket, call the
clerk’s office and plead not guilty. You will be assigned a court
date. Be sure and ask what your options are as far as pleading “No
contest”. Often you can enter this plea and be given a fine and a
deferred adjudication. If you do not receive another traffic ticket
within a specified period of time, the case is dismissed, and the
ticket does not go against your driving record. 7. If the officer
doesn’t appear for the trial the judge should dismiss your case. The
non-appearance of a police officer is not uncommon for many reasons.
If you were ticketed for a serious violation the officer will
probably be there. If it is not a serious offense and you have
managed to have the hearing re-scheduled several times, the officer
is less likely to show up. Try to get your trial date postponed as
many times as possible. It is normal for us to be nervous when we
are in an unusual situation where the outcome is very important and
depends upon how we talk and conduct ourselves, but here are a
couple of tips: 1. Catch your breath. Many times when a person is
nervous, they can’t catch their breath when they are speaking. They
just can’t get enough air in their lungs, precisely because they
can’t relax enough to even breath. SOLUTION – Take ten full
deep-as-you-can breaths, filling your lungs from the bottom up
(starting with your stomach), and take each one through your nose.
Also expel each of these breaths through your nose. This may take a
while, best not to do it in open court, but asked to be excused for
a moment to “catch your breath”. You will be amazed at how well this
works and how simple it is to do. 2. Write it down on a note pad.
When we are nervous or under stress our brains tend to seize on us.
The best prevention here is to write your questions, thoughts,
notes, etc., nice and neat (so you can read them at a glance) on a
note pad. Always maintain a positive attitude, don’t get mad and
loose your temper, follow the above two recommendations and you will
be composed, look and like a pro when dealing with those authority
figures.

===========================

While speeding may be the most common kind of offense that tickets are issued for in New York State, there are several other offenses that New York State Troopers and local police officers are on the lookout for as they patrol the New York State Thruway (I-90), the Northway (I-87) and other New York highways and local roads. The consequences of these tickets can be significant fines, points that can result in suspension or revocation of New York State driving privileges, and an increase in your auto insurance rates. In addition, these violations can end up being listed on your driving record in states and provinces that have reciprocity with New York State (nearly every US state and several Canadian provinces have agreements with New York). Hiring an experienced attorney from The Rosenblum Law Firm will not only save you the trip to court, but also provide you top-notch attorney representation to get your tickets reduced and save you money.

Driving While Suspended / Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (NY V&T Law 511)

Traffic tickets have no expiration date or statute of limitations. If you ever mistakenly failed to respond to a ticket with a plea, didn’t show up on a scheduled court date, or didn’t pay a fine, the court would notify the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles which would in turn issue a Notice of Impending License Suspension to your last known address. Often, this address is not your actual address but an address at which you once resided. Unfortunately, if you didn’t notify DMV of your address change, the suspension notice may have ended up at the wrong address and you wouldn’t even know it. If you were caught driving on a suspended license, you could be charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation which is a criminal offense. While this offense does not carry points, it does carry significant fines and the risk of jail time and a permanent criminal record (while some states allow a criminal record to be sealed or “expunged”, New York has no such procedure). The least severe degree of this offense (Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the 3rd Degree) carries a maximum fine of $500.

Cell Phone (NY V&T Law 1225-c) & Electronic Device / Texting (NY V&T Law 1225-d)

In New York, as in many jurisdictions, it is forbidden to drive while operating a hand-held cell phone. Over the past several years, this offense has gone from 0 points to 5 points – making it the second-highest number of points issued for a single ticket (the only offense that carries more points is speeding 21mph over the limit and above; Reckless Driving and Passing a School Bus also carry 5 points). Operating an electronic device or texting also carries five points. Police officers have been extremely vigilant in ticketing for these offenses due to the high correlation of texting and car crashes – and for the same reason auto insurance companies can place a driver in a higher risk category and significantly increase auto insurance rates if convicted of this offese.

Reckless Driving (NY V&T Law 1212)

According to NYS law, driving or using any motor vehicle in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the use of a public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway is considered “reckless driving.” While driving at a high rate of speed cannot, by itself, be considered reckless driving, it can be considered reckless if it is combined with other behaviors that make the conduct unreasonable. For example, driving at a high rate of speed and weaving in and out of traffic or changing lanes unsafely can be reckless driving. This offense carries 5 points and, according to a national study, can lead to auto insurance increases of up to 82%.

Disobeyed Traffic Control Device (NY V&T Law 1110-a)

If a you do not follow a traffic control device (commonly a road sign), you can be ticketed for this offense which carries 2 points and a maximum fine and surcharge totaling $243. While there are a number of road signs you can be accused of violating – stop and yield signs, no right / left turn, etc., this is also quite commonly issued as a “roadside reduction.” In this scenario, a police officer has reason to ticket a person for a certain (more severe) offense, but decides to be lenient and write up the ticket for Disobeyed Traffic Control Device as a means of offering the driver a break, especially when the driver has a good driving record. So you may in fact be caught speeding, but be written up for this offense instead in the police officer’s discretion (the “traffic control device” in this case being the speed limit sign).

========================

In
reality, most traffic ticket lawyers actually try a small number of
cases. Most of their client’s cases are resolved by agreement with
the prosecutor and their client pleading “Nolo Contendre” or “No
Contest” to the charges. The purpose of this book is to show you how
to keep the ticket off your driving record. If you can do that, you
have won. That is the exact same goal of the traffic ticket lawyer
and is what he is trying to accomplish for his client. The lawyer is
trying to keep the ticket from becoming a conviction which causes
points to be put on the client’s permanent driving record. If a
ticket conviction can be kept off the record, then there will not be
any more points which will increase the client’s insurance premiums,
or worse in the case of too many points, that the client’s insurance
coverage will not be canceled, or the state suspends the client’s
driving privileges. I have not included any sections in this book
about how to cross-examine an adverse witness (the police officer),
how to offer and exclude evidence, how to research and argue the
law, how to present witnesses or how to conduct discovery of the
state’s evidence. Neither does this book go into the technical
aspects of radar or laser speed detection, the equipment that is
used, how it is calibrated, the training that is required or the
legal evidentiary predicates that must be laid by the prosecutor
before such evidence can be introduced. From my viewpoint as a
practicing trial lawyer, it would be very difficult for the ticketed
driver to represent themselves on their own case for a number of
reasons. Much of the defense of a traffic ticket case does not occur
in the court room during a trial, but rather informally in
conversations between the attorney and the prosecutor or between the
attorney’s support staff and the court clerks. Lawyers, prosecutors
and judges deal with the traffic ticket system differently, as they
are not the object of it. They do this every day and they often know
each other very well. Lawyers, prosecutors, police and judges deal
with the criminal justice system on a daily basis. It is not
something that they do every two or three years, or even every month
or two. They are all there to move cases, the lawyers trying to get
their clients cases dismissed or probated, the police, prosecutors
and judges trying to resolve the cases so that the revenue that is
paid at conclusion by the ticketed drivers is realized. The traffic
ticket system is less about guilt or innocence, convictions or
acquittals than it is about revenues for the various political
subdivisions of the government that issue the tickets. Traffic
tickets are an invisible tax that we are charged to drive. It is
just that this “tax” is disguised as enforcement of and compliance
with traffic codes and ordinances. Look at it from the city’s side.
All their little part of the government really wants is the money or
revenue that they get from your ticket. If you have a conviction on
the ticket the city gets to keep only a part of fine money…..much
of the money then has to be sent to the state. On the other hand, if
you are not convicted, but plead “No Contest” the traffic court
judge can levy court costs and fees on you, and the city gets to
keep every penny of it. Co-incidently, the court costs and fees will
end up being about the same amount as the fine. So the question
becomes, how does the city get its traffic ticket money without the
drivers being priced out of auto insurance or losing their driver’s
licenses altogether from the accumulation of points from traffic
ticket convictions? It does this by granting ticketed drivers
“Deferred Adjudications”, “Probations” and “Dismissals” for taking
court ordered Defensive Driving School. During those periods of
economic down turn and high unemployment, our states, counties and
cities struggle with budget short falls. It is during these poor
economic times that more tickets get issued. Unfortunately, when
prosperity returns, the states, cities and counties don’t stop
issuing tickets as previous levels, as they have become dependent
upon this source of revenue. Issuing traffic tickets has become and
will continue to be a growth industry. You can’t stop them from
issuing you the ticket, but there are ways to keep it off your
record. That is the most important goal you will accomplish. This
book is going to start in the beginning. You’ve already got a ticket
or you probably would not have bought this book. Lets look at what
you can do from today on to minimize the tickets you will get in the
future. If you observe speed limits and traffic laws you probably
won’t get a ticket, but that isn’t always the case. More tickets are
issued for speeding than for any other traffic offense, and even a
perfect driver lime me occasionly gets a speeding ticket every now
and then. The truth of the matter is that law enforcement officers
occasionally make mistakes and ticket an innocent driver. It is
impossible to drive safely and reasonably and not eventually get an
undeserved ticket. However, most of the time you do deserve the
ticket. Either way, you’ve got a ticket. So what do you do to
minimize your chances for getting a ticket? 1. Does your car attract
attention? Is it going to catch a Cop’s Eye? Hopefully not. Your car
should be neat, clean and in good repair. If it is old, the body,
paint and tires need to be in good condition. Avoid: dark tinted
windows, obnoxious bumper and window stickers, and state issued
numbers attract less attention than personalized license plates. 2.
The cops can see you, can you see them? Even if you never speed, the
use of a radar detector is recommended. You need to know when there
are police in the area that are using radar. There’s just something
about driving a car, seeing a cop with a radar gun and having a
heart attack, even if you’re not speeding. It also helps to get an
early warning. When the detectors go off, as fast as you can, check
the traffic around you and if it is safe to do so, quickly and
firmly put your brakes for only a second or two. This will drop your
speed very quickly, will confuse the officer (the radar numbers will
change instantly) and you will know exactly what your speed is when
you let off your brakes. You can then safely accelerate back up to
the speed limit and set your cruise control. Unless there is a
problem, you don’t want to be driving much under the speed limit, as
that attracts a cop as much as a speeder, and it creates a traffic
hazzard. 3. For road trips, invest in a CB radio. Check the channels
and pick up the truckers in your area. They will see and report the
cops on the radio miles before you will see them. 4. Try to keep
the sun out of your eyes, and keep your eyes open. Be looking for
situations that would provide good hiding spots for a cop with a
radar gun. Look in the medians, on the shoulders behind trees, on
over-passes, watch your rear-view mirror constantly and closely. 5.
When you are driving, your eyes should always be moving. They should
always be moving between the road, your rear and side view mirrors,
your instrument panel, the other traffic, both coming and going, and
the surroundings, allowing them to rest for only a moment each time
you move them to a different subject. Constantly be alert and aware.
Keep the radio on or play some music. Talk to your passengers. Keep
your mind working in as many ways as possible. This will actually
keep you from getting sleepy or sluggish, it will help you to spot
the cops and will keep you alert while you are driving. 6. Check all
the gages on your instrument panel. Make sure that you know your
speed, that your oil pressure is ok, that your battery and
alternator are working and that your engine is not overheating. 7.
Never put packages or cargo in your car that will even partially
obstruct your vision through any of the windows! 8. When you are
watching the traffic keep an eye out for cars coming up from behind
that are traveling at high rates of speed. Speed differential
between vehicles traveling in the same direction is not only the
number one cause of highway accidents, but also the cause of cops
being confused by which car is actually doing speeding. 9. This has
nothing to do with avoiding tickets, however, it may keep you alive.
Avoid driving traps. These are situations where your car is
surrounded on two or more sides by other vehicles (especially
trucks) or immovable barriers. These movable and immovable barriers
may prevent you from being able to make an evasive manoeuver to
avoid an accident.

10. However, if you are in a pack that is traveling
over the speed limit, try to stay in the slow lane as much as
possible and try to be next to, behind or in front of a big truck.
The radar fixes on the larger vehicle. 11. Always observe the “2
second” rule for keeping the proper distance between your front
bumper the rear bumper of the vehicle in front. Watch the car in
front. When its rear bumper passes a road mark (tree, sign, bridge)
your car should not pass the same road mark less than 2 seconds
later. This rule automatically adjusts for speed of the cars, and
will allow enough time and distance for you to come to a complete
stop before you hit the car in front. This will not only help you
avoid a high-speed accident, but will also eliminate the possibility
of a cop pulling you over for reckless driving (tail-gating). 12.
They don’t look like they did. Police and Highway Patrol cars aren’t
necessarily large 4 door, black and white sedans with a rack of
lights on the top. They paint them solid, non-black and white
colors. Some are smaller 2dr models. Some are SUV’s or Pick-up
trucks. The flashing lights are often in the front grills and rear
windows. They still mainly park and use radar to pick up speeders,
so watch for the un-marked police vehicle parked where a cop would.
If you suspect anything at all, always let off the gas. 13. The
radar being used today is not uni-directional. It can also be used
to determine speed by calculating speed differentials. In other
words, the cop can be traveling the opposite direction on the road
as you are, but can use the radar to accurately calculate your
speed. They can also get a good radar fix while traveling in the
same direction as you. They can get you, coming or going.14. Keep a
watchful eye around exits, on-ramps, marked u-turns, medians and
access roads on divided highways and Interstates. Cops in patrol
vehicles and on motorcycles have lots of options for successful
radar targeting of speeders in and around these types of areas.
15. In many of the Western States, where there are vast
scarcely populated areas, states use aircraft to time vehicles
between mile markers painted on the highway (you’ll be able to spot
them as you are driving). The pilot radios the calculated speed to a
ground patrols….this can be done without the use of radar.
Generally there clearly marked warning signs posted that speed is
controlled by aircraft patrols. Aircraft patrols are extremely
difficult to detect. Just be very alert, keep an eye out for the
posted signs, the markings on the roads and small aircraft following
along the highway. When being pulled over there are procedures and
protocols you should follow. In his excellent book,
A Speeder’s Guide to Avoiding Tickets, The Essential Manual for Life
in the Fast Lane
, Avon Books, Inc., 1350 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, New York 10019, 1990, by James M. Eagan, Sgt. Egan,
N.Y.S.P. (Ret.) offers incredible insight into the psychological
make-up of a traffic enforcement officer. For future reference, this
book is well worth the nominal price. I bought mine from Amazon.com.
Officer Eagan tells us that a police officer is motivated by two
great psychological factors and that these two factors impact
everything the officer does or will do. Knowledge of these factors
makes the officer’s actions rather predictable. These two factors
are fear and ego. At both the conscious and subconscious levels a
police officer is always in a defensive mode because of the fear of
being injured or killed. Their survival instincts are much more
developed than those of others. Police are also egotistical, and if
not by nature, are trained to become so. Put the officer’s fears at
rest and feed his/her ego, watch what you say, what you do and you
may have a chance of getting the warning and not the ticket. 1. As
soon as you have seen that you are being stopped, if it is at night,
turn on your interior light then put your right arm out and elbow up
at a 90% angle and wave your hand side to side. This signals to the
officer that you are aware of his presence, and at least for the
time being, acknowledging that it is you he wants to stop (sometimes
he’s not after you, but you won’t know until he has passed you by).
He knows that you are fully co-operating at this point. Continue
your visible co-operation by pulling over the right shoulder of the
road (never pull over to the interior median) as quickly as
possible, safely changing lanes if necessary and properly using your
turn indicators. 2. Pull your car off the right shoulder as much as
possible. If you can do so safely pull your car over far enough for
the officer to be able to park his vehicle between your car and the
roadway. That way he can safely approach your car with his own
protecting him from the traffic. 3. Roll your drivers’ side window
all the way down. If it is dark, turn on the interior light and put
both of your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer to
approach your car. Do not start looking for your drivers license,
vehicle registration, proof of insurance or anything else before he
requests that you do so. From his perspective, it causes your head
to disappear and the glove box to open where you may, for all he
knows, be getting your gun. Just sit still with both hands on the
wheel. You may have to wait while he runs your license plate
through the computer, but just be patient. By all means DO NOT GET
OUT OF THE CAR. Just sit still.4. According to officer Eagan, unless
you have really aggravated him by driving way over the posted speed
limit, failing to see that he is trying to pull you over, doing
something really reckless while pulling over (like slamming on your
brakes or not looking before changing lanes), or doing something
that scares him (opening your glove box before being told to do so,
getting out of the car before being told to do so, or demanding an
explanation from him before he has spoken to you) then he has not
really decided if he is going to write you a ticket or give you a
warning. That will depend upon how you continue to reduce his fear
and feed his ego. 5. When he talks, look him straight into the eyes
(even if he is wearing dark sunglasses). He wants to see your eyes,
but does not want you to see his. Don’t give one syllable answers.
When he asks for your license, registration, proof of insurance,
etc., just say “sure”, “certainly”, “OK” or something like that, be
friendly about it, and then BREAK EYE CONTACT WHILE YOU LOOK, which
will alleave some more of this fear. While you are looking for the
documents, you can start talking to him. 6. When he comes up to your
car, the officer has no desire to have a conversation with you,
however, this is your chance, your only chance, and you’ve only got
about 30 seconds to tell him your story.7. Even though no lawyer in
his right mind would tell you to do this, officer Eagan tells us
that the best way to avoid the ticket at this point is to be
perfectly honest with the cop. Tell him the truth. Admit that you
were going too fast. Tell him why you were speeding, and again
remember to be truthful. Be truthful even if it means saying “I was
speeding because I was bored”. Finally ask him to show you mercy and
give him all the reasons you can think of why its important that he
should.

8. Stay positive, don’t grind on him, don’t mutter
to yourself. Feed his ego and give your self a chance for a warning.
The consequences of a traffic tickets are serious. In addition to
expensive fines, insurance premiums go up, your insurance can be
canceled and with enough convictions, you can loose your driving
privileges. It is therefore important to challenge tickets and avoid
convictions, or take action to keep traffic ticket convictions off
your record, as the consequences of not doing this are very
serious. It is interesting to note that between 80 % and 90% of all
ticketed drivers simply pay the fine. They don’t do this because
they like paying tickets, it is because most drivers don’t know what
the options are. It is a simple matter to find out what the fine
will be on a ticket if you’re just going to pay the fine. This
information is often it is printed on the back of the ticket with an
address where the fine can be mailed. If this information is not on
the ticket, just call the court (whose contact information will be
on the back of the ticket) and the court clerk will be able to tell
you what your fine will be.

Today most traffic courts would rather you not be
convicted on your traffic ticket. This is because if there is a
conviction, the court must send a portion of the fine to the state
government. If, however, there is a “No Contest” plea on your part,
the court is not required to convict and charge a fine. The court
can choose to put you on Probation, give you a Deferred Adjudication
or order your ticket dismissed upon completion of court ordered
Driving School. If this is the case, then with a conviction you can
be charged court costs and fees, allowing the court to keep all of
the costs and fees for the local municipality or Justice Court.
These are generally called deferred adjudication cases (the name
varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction) and accomplish two very
valid purposes. First, they generate income for the ticket issuing
authority and second, they keep the ticket off your record. No
conviction, nothing reported or appears on your driving record
equals no points equals no insurance rate premium increase. If for
what ever reason you do want to fight the ticket, you will need to
get a court setting on a date certain. Sometimes this can be a
problem. If it is a big city, then many times there is more than one
setting. The first time you go to the court house, there will not be
a trial, you will just be given a date for the trial. In smaller
jurisdictions, the problem is not too many cases, it may be too few.
The judge may only hear cases once or twice a month, and you have to
be available on those dates. In any case, be sure and call the court
clerk and be sure you understand the way that particular court
works. Each court is different. One last thing. Always be pleasant
when speaking with the clerk. Don’t get angry or try to put them in
their place. We call them “court house people” and they can make
your life miserable. Just make sure to stay on the good side of the
court house people. Follow the Golden Rule. They can be very helpful
if you are nice. Often you will have an option of taking Driving
School, Defensive Driving Class, or Traffic School (the name varies
from jurisdiction to jurisdiction) in conjunction with a Deferred
Adjudication of your case. This isn’t bad, its good news. Driving
school is usually 8 hours of class, but you will learn quite a bit,
and many insurance companies will reduce your premiums by 10% to 15%
each year for as much as 3 years after you have taken and completed
the course. However, there are generally limitations on taking
Defensive Driving School. Usually, a driver is limited to taking the
course once every 24 months. Also, most states will not allow
dismissal for Driving School in the case of speeding more than 15
miles over the posted limit. Concerning increases in your insurance
premiums, almost all states now have a point system which dictates
what your insurance premiums will be. If you get a ticket or are in
an accident (it doesn’t matter if your are at fault or not) you get
points on your record. The points can stay on your insurance driving
record for three years before they drop off. If you get too many
points, your insurance carrier can cancel your insurance. Generally
speaking, deferred adjudications and dismissals for Traffic Schools
will not appear on your driving record and will not affect your
point score. Be sure and check this with the court. It is possible
to loose your driving privileges for too many tickets or accidents,
however, this does not happen very often. As a general rule, a
driver will not get a license suspended unless there is a major
violation such as DWI/DUI, reckless driving or causing an accident
with a serious injury. However, most states discriminate against
younger drivers and have statutes for drivers under the age of 18.
If you are 18 or younger, you can loose your driving privileges for
as few as two traffic ticket convictions or two accidents in a 24
month period of time. As a practicing trial lawyer of nearly 30
years in the courtroom in front of judges and juries, I recommend
that you:

1.
Consult a traffic ticket attorney to represent you should it become
necessary for your case be tried. This is not about how smart you
are, or how smart the police officer is or the judge for that
matter. This is about the fact that the law is complex and full of
technicalities. As a matter of fact, the law is technicality. In
many ways this is not about the truth. It should be, but it may not
be. This is about being trained in the law and in law enforcement
and about lots of experience. This is about human relationships. Its
about people that see each other every day within the context of a
traffic court. The lawyers know the judges and police officers and
they all know each other. They also know what the local practice and
custom is. There is no way that a short traffic ticket manual can
prepare you to walk into a situation like this and have a clue of
what is going on or what is about to happen. 2. Hiring
an attorney to represent you is about hiring cool-headed detachment,
knowledge, experience and objectivity. It is not possible to be
detached and objective if you are representing yourself. Although
you can clearly “see” and “understand” what happened, it may not be
at all that clear to the prosecutor or judge. It is amazing how
often they just don’t “Get It”. He or she may just not understand
your side. Then you get convicted on the ticket. Pay a fine and you
get points on your driving record. 3. I believe in this concept so
strongly, that I have always hired another attorney to represent me
and the members of my family when we get traffic tickets. I just
turn it over to the other attorney and forget about it.4. There are
valid reasons why you might not hire an attorney to handle your
traffic ticket case. The first reason that comes to mind is the
expense. Yes, lawyers charge for their services, however, their fees
are reasonable in relationship to what is at stake. For example, if
you are convicted on a particular speeding violation it may be a
$125.00 fine and your insurance rates go up $400.00 a year for 3
years. That’s $1,325.00 dollars. The attorney may charge you
something like $100.00 plus court costs of $75.00 for a total of
$175.00, you agree not to get any more tickets for the next 60 days
and the ticket is dismissed. That is a huge savings and is much,
much easier…mentally, emotionally, physically and financially. 5.
Another reason you may not hire an attorney is because you do not
know how to find a traffic ticket lawyer to handle your case. This
may actually be the best reason. I live and practice law in a large
metropolitan area where we have millions in population and more than
15,000 lawyers in the county. However, most of those lawyers would
be hard pressed to name just one traffic ticket attorney. Its hard
to find them even in the yellow pages. There is no listing for
traffic ticket lawyers. Those that practice traffic ticket law are
relatively few in number and not particularly easy to find. However,
they are the ones who really know how to handle tickets, and they
handle them in large volumes. Obviously the purpose of the
traffictickets.com website is to help those with tickets find
lawyers to represent them. The easiest way to find one is to GOTOBUTTON BM_1_ www.traffictickets.com
to find your traffic ticket lawyer.

6. A
third reason is that you simply do not want to hire an attorney to
handle the case, that you would rather handle it yourself. Although
a valid reason, you should keep in mind that you are at a marked
disadvantage if what you want to do is win the case and have the
ticket dismissed. If that is your aim, then allow plenty of time to
prepare your case. Organize it well and write everything out that
you are planning to say. It looks much easier on TV and in the
movies than it really is. Be polite, pleasant and to the point. The
judge does not like un-organized time wasting cases. Have your
witnesses, photographs and other evidence ready. Do not expect to
make your case from the officer’s testimony. His job is to make sure
you are convicted, and he will be good at his job. Your job is to
show that your driving was safe and prudent or that the officer was
mistaken. The shorter and neater your case, the better your chance
of winning. 7. If you must handle your own case then set a goal or
objective that you can reasonably expect to achieve, which is: You
want to keep this ticket off your driving record. The real problems
start when you get tickets on your record. Deferred Adjudication
through a No Contest Plea on your ticket. You will pay court costs
and fees, however, the total won’t be much more than just paying the
ticket would have been. Another option is Defensive Driving School
or Traffic School. Upon a No Contest Plea, Courts will often give
the option of taking a Defensive Driving School in lieu of
conviction. Again, there are court costs to pay, and the cost of the
Defensive Driving School (about $50.00), however, the total cost it
will usually not be much more than just paying the ticket on a
guilty plea would have been. Some jurisdictions may not have these
programs, but may have similar options by different names. Describe
to the clerk, prosecutor or judge what you want. This chapter is
about what happens when you don’t take care of business. 1. When you
are issued a traffic ticket, you have a certain number of days in
which to pay the ticket fine or set the case for trial. 2. If you do
not take care of the ticket within the deadline, the ticket will go
into “Alias” status and a Warrant issued for your arrest.3. In
addition to the original fine there may be additional charges or
court costs added on.4. If you are stopped for a traffic violation
and have an outstanding Arrest Warrant for an earlier ticket, you
will be arrested, and if you are driving by yourself, your car towed
away and impounded. When you get your car back you will be charged
towing and impound fees for each day the car is in the “pound”. The
fees to get the car back can be well over $100.00. 5.
If you have children in the car and no adult passengers, the officer
has the option of calling Child Protective Service to come and get
the children while you are being taken to jail. However, usually the
officer will let you call family or friends to come and get the car
and the children. 6. You will be hand-cuffed, read your rights, sent
to the jail in the back of a police cruiser, finger-printed,
photographed, booked and then thrown into the drunk tank until a
friend or family member posts your bail.7. In addition to having to
post a separate appearance bond for each of your traffic tickets
that have gone into Warrant status, your friend, family member or
lawyer, will also have to post bond for the amount of the fines and
court costs on each of the tickets.8. Then you get your lawyer and
go to court. All of that having been said, what do you think? Do you
want to take care of business or not? You should always vote for
taking care of business, it simplifies your life and you don’t have
to check that box for the rest of your life that appears on every
document you’ll ever sign: “Have you ever been arrested?” That point
having been made, lets say you have a warrant or two out there for
un-paid traffic tickets. What do you do? Hire a lawyer. Your lawyer
will post appearance bonds so that if you are stopped you won’t be
arrested. He will then go to court with you and work out a,
hopefully, favorable and reduced sum (fine and costs) of money which
you will immediately pay to the court for not having taken care of
business. What if you go down to the court house and try to take
care of it yourself. You’ll get arrested as soon as you tell them
who you are. Really! Don’t mess with warrants….hire a lawyer to
help you. Winning a ticket traffic court isn’t easy, however, these
tips should help. 1. Read your ticket carefully. Speeding and
traffic control violations are the most common offenses. Did the
officer get the who, when and where correct? What about license
plate numbers, time, date and place of the offense? Mistakes in
identification are legal defenses and they work. Simpler mistakes
such as year, make and model of your car are less important. Write
down all of the mistakes on the ticket. 2. Was it possible for the
officer see the offense? Did he stop the right car? These are
factual defenses. They can raise doubt. Write down all of the
factual defenses you can think of. 3. In most states a traffic
violation is a criminal offense, generally it is a Class C
Misdemeanor (the lowest criminal offense there is). As such, the
ticket itself is not the document with which you will be prosecuted
in court. After issuing the ticket, the officer swear out a criminal
complaint. You will be tried on the officer’s Sworn Complaint that
sets out the crime with which you are being charged. Compare your
ticket and the complaint carefully. Is there a difference between
the information on the complaint and that on the citation or ticket?
If there is (this is called a variance) then the variance could be
“fatal”, which means that the case against you will be dismissed.
If you can find any type of variance at all, argue that it is fatal.
4. In some instances the posted speed limit is absolute, for
example, in a Posted 20mph School Zone, if you go 21 miles an hour,
you have a violation. However, most of the time exceeding the posted
speed limit merely creates a presumption you were driving at an
un-safe speed. The presumption in favor of the posted limit is what
lawyers and judges call “rebutable”. That is, as the ticketed
driver, you are allowed to present evidence that you were driving at
a safe, reasonable and prudent speed under the driving conditions at
that time, eg., you were driving during daylight, conditions were
clear, the sun was shining, the road surface was dry, traffic was
light, visibility was good for miles in every direction. Obviously,
the more over the limit you were traveling, the harder this defense
becomes. However, particularly on highway speeding tickets, this
defense has been successfully argued many times. Expect that once
you have presented your evidence (your testimony, your passengers,
photographs of the location, etc.) To rebut the posted speed limit
presumption, the officer can rebut your arguments. Expect to hear
him testify that you were driving too fast under the conditions to
be safe, the tires on your car were bald, the road was not flat and
straight, etc. 5. If radar or laser was used, did the police officer
properly calibrate the radar or laser timing device before using it
to calculate your speed? Was the officer properly trained? Quite
frankly, this type of a defense is very technical and should be left
to an attorney. Should you decide to ask these questions, expect
that the officer will have all the right answers. 6. If you are
uncertain about whether or not to fight your ticket, call the
clerk’s office and plead not guilty. You will be assigned a court
date. Be sure and ask what your options are as far as pleading “No
contest”. Often you can enter this plea and be given a fine and a
deferred adjudication. If you do not receive another traffic ticket
within a specified period of time, the case is dismissed, and the
ticket does not go against your driving record. 7. If the officer
doesn’t appear for the trial the judge should dismiss your case. The
non-appearance of a police officer is not uncommon for many reasons.
If you were ticketed for a serious violation the officer will
probably be there. If it is not a serious offense and you have
managed to have the hearing re-scheduled several times, the officer
is less likely to show up. Try to get your trial date postponed as
many times as possible. It is normal for us to be nervous when we
are in an unusual situation where the outcome is very important and
depends upon how we talk and conduct ourselves, but here are a
couple of tips: 1. Catch your breath. Many times when a person is
nervous, they can’t catch their breath when they are speaking. They
just can’t get enough air in their lungs, precisely because they
can’t relax enough to even breath. SOLUTION – Take ten full
deep-as-you-can breaths, filling your lungs from the bottom up
(starting with your stomach), and take each one through your nose.
Also expel each of these breaths through your nose. This may take a
while, best not to do it in open court, but asked to be excused for
a moment to “catch your breath”. You will be amazed at how well this
works and how simple it is to do. 2. Write it down on a note pad.
When we are nervous or under stress our brains tend to seize on us.
The best prevention here is to write your questions, thoughts,
notes, etc., nice and neat (so you can read them at a glance) on a
note pad. Always maintain a positive attitude, don’t get mad and
loose your temper, follow the above two recommendations and you will
be composed, look and like a pro when dealing with those authority
figures.

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