A driver can challenge a traffic ticket by presenting their case at a hearing. Still, simply showing up and making unsupported statements won’t convince the judge that the individual is not guilty. The driver must present arguments backed by evidence to pursue a just outcome. A few ways to fight a ticket include noting errors on the citation or calling witnesses who counter the officer’s observations. Of course, applying certain strategies does not guarantee success, and the defenses raised should be based on the facts of the case.
An effective strategy for fighting a ticket is preparing and showing up for the hearing with an attorney. A lawyer can develop a personalized and robust defense that accounts for the specifics of the circumstances.
Police Officer Errors on the Ticket
Police officers are human, and as such, they sometimes make mistakes. One common mistake is when writing a citation. Sometimes officers will forget to include important information on the ticket, such as the location of the violation. Another common mistake is including incorrect information on the ticket.
However, these mistakes should not prevent drivers from contesting a ticket fairly. All errors or omissions should be presented at the hearing to allow the judge to make an informed decision.
It is not uncommon for officers involved in traffic stops to make statements about the event that witnesses later contradict. In some cases, someone who saw the events leading up to the stop may be able to provide testimony that negates the officer’s story.
With the prevalence of cell phones and video cameras, it is also possible that someone recorded the encounter. However, obtaining such evidence can be difficult, as people often do not think to record such incidents until after they have already concluded.
Nevertheless, for those pulled over by the police, remember that the officer’s story might not be accurate. By working with a lawyer, those accused of traffic violations may be able to collect witness statements and other key pieces of evidence to counter the officer's statements.
Challenging Subjective Conclusions
Some tickets are based on the officer’s subjective conclusions. Subjective conclusions can often be negated by pointing out specific facts and details about the situation.
Take following too closely as an example. New York law states that drivers should maintain a "reasonable and prudent" distance between themselves and the car in front of them. However, it does not specify an exact amount of space. Thus, an officer might say that a driver was tailgating, but considering the speed of the vehicles, the amount of traffic, the road conditions, and other factors, it could be shown that the motorist was not too close. Drivers should be prepared to address subjective conclusions made by officers.
Officer's Location When Observing the Alleged Violation
When an officer issues a citation for a traffic violation, they must include where the alleged offense occurred. This is important because it allows the driver to question whether the officer could have seen the driving behavior from their position. For example, if an officer claims to have seen a driver run a red light, but the driver can prove that a building blocked the view of the light, then they may be able to get the ticket dismissed.
Drivers need to know where and when their alleged violation occurred so they can mount an effective defense.
Violation of Necessity
A driver may be able to fight a ticket through the legal defense of necessity. They must show that they were forced to commit the violation to avoid harm to themselves or others. The driver must have had no other reasonable alternative, and the harm avoided must be greater than the harm caused by the violation.
A judge or jury will determine whether the case meets the legal requirements for a necessity defense.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Firm
Drivers who have been ticketed may be able to raise arguments to challenge the alleged violation. This may be done in several ways, such as by questioning the officer's observations and subjective conclusions. Because every situation is unique, it is crucial to have an attorney evaluate the case and determine what defenses may be mounted.
At Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C., we conduct a detailed review of the cases we handle. By examining the facts and getting our clients' sides of the story, we can develop comprehensive and compelling legal strategies.
Contact us at (212) 235-1525 today to learn more about our legal services in New York.