Three Strategies For Contesting A Traffic Ticket

Challenging a traffic ticket is difficult, but it's not impossible. Here are three main routes you can take to challenge a traffic ticket:

Challenge the Officer's Observation

By doing this, you are claiming that the officer who gave you the ticket did not actually witness the incident they are claiming to have witnessed. It may also mean that you are claiming the officer saw the wrong thing. For example, if you were given a ticket for jumping the red light, you need to prove that the officer couldn't have seen the light. Here are three ways of doing this:

  • Get a photograph or video to show that the light was green and not red at the time of your alleged infringement.
  • Get a witness to disapprove the officer's observation.
  • Get a picture or video record to show that the officer's view was obstructed at the time they are alleging to have witnessed your crime.

Explain Your Act as a Mistake of Law

In law, a mistake of fact occurs when a party to a dispute has made the wrong interpretation of a fact. For example, if you were ticketed for not stopping at a pedestrian crosswalk, you can use mistake of fact defense by claiming that you did not see the road markings indicated the area as a crosswalk. Of course, this assertion may only stand up if the markings weren't actually visible on the road, for example, if a crash (involving a truck carrying paint) at the site had covered up the markings with paint.

Prove That Your Actions Were Necessary To Avoid Harm

The third option is to explain to the court that you took the said actions to avoid a greater harm. In this case, you are admitting to having committed the offense, but only because not doing so would have resulted in something worse than the offense you committed. Take a case where you are driving along a two-lane road when a child suddenly runs across your lane. In such a case, you can continue driving and hit the child or take an evasive action. If your evasive action involved driving (briefly) in the wrong lane, you can use the presence of the child to justify driving in the wrong lane.

Note that courts are more inclined to believe traffic officers than suspects who have been ticketed. Therefore, you have your work cut out for you and are better off with a legal representative, such as an auto accident attorney.