What are common defenses to traffic tickets?

| Jan 4, 2020 | Traffic Ticket Defense |

If you recently received a traffic ticket in Pennsylvania, you may wonder if it is worth your while to fight it. To determine your answer, you should first consider two factors. The first is cost. If you will lose more money by taking the day off work than if you were to just pay the ticket, fighting the violation may not be worth your while. However, if the ticket is a doozy, or if you have several points on your record, your insurance premiums may spike considerably. In this case, you may want to go to court. That said, before you do, you should first make sure that you have a viable defense (the second factor). FindLaw explains defenses to traffic ticket violations that work.

A no-show police officer is the simplest way to win a traffic ticket hearing. You have the constitutional right to question your accuser. If the officer does not show up, you cannot exercise this right, which means the judge must dismiss your case.

If you received a camera-based ticket, you may not have to try very hard to beat it. Courthouses rarely ever bother to print out the image or bring up the footage. Because of lack of evidence, the judge must dismiss the case. Even if the courthouse does have evidence, you can always claim that the officer relied on the observations of someone or something else. This is referred to as “hearsay,” which does not hold up in court.

Another way to boost your odds of winning a traffic ticket contest is to elect for a trial by mail. To do this, you would submit a letter that explains why you are innocent. The officer then has an opportunity to respond to the claim. Because doing so requires the dreaded paperwork, most officers do not bother to reply If the officer does respond and you lose by mail, you can always request an in-person hearing.

If the officer gave you a ticket based on a radar gun’s readings, you may be able to challenge the accuracy of the reading. Departments must recalibrate their radar guns every 30 to 60 days. However, due to lack of funding, ignorance or laziness, many fail to do so. You have the right to request calibration records. If the reports show that it has been a while since a gun’s last tune up, you may be able to argue that the device is faulty.

You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.

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