How This Book Is Organized

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Chapters 2 and 3 provide the information you need to sensibly decide whether to fight your ticket, attend traffic school, or simply pay your fine. To help you make these decisions, Chapter 2 will also explain how to locate the law you're charged with violating, so you can analyze it and decide for yourself whether you committed the offense.

In Chapter 4 we discuss when you should hire a lawyer to represent you, particularly in serious cases like reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We also discuss how to evaluate lawyers and get help from an expert at an affordable price.

Chapters 5, 6, and 7 summarize what lawyers call the "substantive law" on most common types of traffic violations, and these chapters provide tips on how to challenge your ticket. Because speeding tickets are by far the most common, Chapter 6 focuses on how to defend yourself when your ticket is based upon various methods used by police to monitor speed, including pacing, VASCAR, radar, and laser devices.

Chapter 8 gives a few basics on the law of drunk driving, which we prefer to call Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). It is not intended, however, as a complete guide to the subject of defending your own DUI or DWI case—something that would take a whole book in its own right.

Chapter 9 is devoted to initial court procedures required when preparing your case—for example, obtaining the officer's notes to build your defense.

Chapter 10 helps you prepare for your day in court, including preparing your testimony and the testimony of your witnesses.

Chapter 11 helps you prepare to cross-examine the police officer.

Chapters 12 and 13 prepare you for jury and nonjury trials.

Because we want to keep this book brief, we do not cover:

  • the most serious offenses, like hit-and-run; most people should not represent themselves against these and other charges that could land them in jail
  • contesting the loss or suspension of your driver's licenses by the state department of motor vehicles, or
  • the details of appealing to higher courts after a guilty verdict.

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