first things first

Plead "not guilty"

Few situations are as frustrating as getting a traffic ticket you don’t think you deserve. Whether you believe the ticket was issued wrongly or you feel that your actions behind the wheel were justified, you have the right to plead “not guilty”. If you plan to fight your ticket, here are four things you can do to potentially win your court case.

Your day in court

Begin the process to fight your case

ticket ticket
Don't pay the ticket / take your case to court

Paying a traffic ticket is an admission of guilt in almost all city or county jurisdictions, so don’t automatically pay your traffic fine if you feel you are innocent and think you have a good chance of successfully fighting it. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. Instead of immediately paying the ticket and having it on your driving record, find out how to fight it in court, then create a strategy to help you win your court case.

challenge challenge
challenge the officer's observations

If your state law requires the officer to make an objective observation rather than a judgment call about the safety of your actions, you can potentially challenge the observation. For example, if you receive a citation for making a prohibited turn, you can challenge the observation that led to the citation. You can make your argument more compelling by using witness statements, diagrams, photographs, and any other evidence you gathered.

automobile automobile
Prove your behavior was legally justified

You may be able to successfully argue that your behavior was legally justified based on the circumstances. For example, if you were ticketed for stopping on the freeway, you could fight the ticket if you had an extenuating circumstance that required you to pull over for your own safety and the safety of other drivers. If your engine started smoking, for example, traffic attorneys could consider your behavior to be legally justified.

Get it dismissed

Situations beyond your control

If you face a situation behind the wheel that’s beyond your control, the judge may take it into consideration. For example, if you failed to stop at a crosswalk because the markers were faded, the judge could decide to dismiss your ticket. It’s important to note that using any of the above strategies can help you fight a traffic ticket, but does not guarantee that you’ll win your case.