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Effective ways to fight a traffic ticket

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Many drivers in Maryland, no matter how responsible, will at some point receive a traffic ticket. In some cases, the ticket may be justified, but in others, the officer may have made an error, or circumstances may make the ticket questionable.

A traffic violation can lead to expensive fines, and its presence on your driving record can have consequences. As such, it’s often worthwhile to dispute a traffic ticket, assuming you believe you can win.

Tactics that can work

In some types of traffic citations, the police officer makes a judgment call. An example might be citing you for improper lane changes. You can question the officer’s opinion about whether the lane change was improper or not.

Other tickets are matters of fact, such as running a red light or making an illegal U-turn. In these cases, you can dispute the ticket by presenting evidence, such as eyewitness testimony asserting that you didn’t do what you’re accused of.

In some situations, you can demonstrate that you believed you were following the law due to external circumstances. For instance, a sign’s writing might have worn away or been vandalized, causing you to be unaware of an infraction.

Finally, you can make an argument that your driving prevented harm to yourself or others, or that circumstances required you to drive the way you did. Speeding to pass a suspected drunk driver or abruptly changing lanes to pull over due to a medical emergency are examples of this type of defense.

Tactics that generally won’t work

One common mistake people often make is pleading ignorance of the law. Generally, not knowing any law is no legal defense for breaking it.

Citing some kind of emergency as justification for violating a traffic law usually won’t work either, unless you have some kind of documentation of the emergency. And trying to nit-pick some technicality like a misspelled name on the ticket won’t usually be effective either.

Traffic tickets are costly and inconvenient, but they can be successfully disputed. However, it’s important to understand what tactics can work and which will likely be unsuccessful.