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Appearing in Court for a Ticket

Posted on October 19th, 2019 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you receive a traffic ticket, you may not know exactly what the process entails to handle it. It may seem like the ticket is simply a fine which you can pay and move on, but sometimes it is necessary to appear in court. The laws surrounding traffic tickets can be confusing, so this guide will explain everything you need to know.

Most Common Situation

Nearly all the time, you can simply pay your ticket and be done with it. This is most certainly the “standard” situation. The physical ticket you receive from the police officer will likely have instructions for how you can pay it. You will almost always have the option to pay online or by mail, which is more convenient than visiting the courthouse. The specifics will vary from state to state and from county to county. Remember, you need to pay the ticket to the county in which the ticket was issued, and not the county in which you live.

Appearing in Court

In some cases, you are required to appear in court. This does depend on the state you are in, but usually it only happens for especially severe violations or situations that are extreme for another reason. These reasons may include:

  • Driving drunk
  • Serious injury or death occurred
  • Especially serious traffic violation
  • Reckless driving

There are rules that govern when a court appearance is mandatory, but they vary from state to state. For example, some states require a court appearance if the driver was speeding by more than 30 miles per hour. The ticket will specify whether a court appearance is necessary and the date to appear, and the issuing officer will likely tell you as well.

Contesting a Ticket

If you want to contest a ticket, you need to appear in court. This is an option even if a court appearance is not required. There will be a date set in case you do wish to contest it. This is the right of every US citizen. However, if you do wish to contest your traffic ticket, it is a very good idea to speak with a traffic attorney. Hiring a traffic lawyer in Fairfax, VA is also a good idea, but not taking the time to at least consult with one is a big mistake. You need to know what the laws are, how the law processes traffic violation cases, and what your chances of success are given the circumstances of your case. This should be the first step you take.



Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into criminal law and appearing in court for a traffic ticket.


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