Gathering Your Evidence for Traffic Court

Start your trial preparation by writing down everything you can remember about your traffic violation. It's best to do this as soon as possible after the incident, while your memory is still fresh. You may also want to go back and photograph or diagram the scene from different angles and locations, if explaining to the judge or jury the exact location of vehicles, signals, or other physical objects will be relevant to your case.

Remember, as discussed in How to Research Traffic Laws, it's important to compare the facts of what happened to you to all legal elements of the traffic violation you are charged with. Or put another way, as you recollect the details of what happened, do so with an eye to convincing the judge that the prosecution has failed to prove you committed one or more of the necessary elements. As part of doing this, it may be helpful to write down each element of the violation on one column on a page and compare it with the actual circumstances of your violation to see if your actions failed to meet every aspect of the charge against you.

Here is an example:

Elements of Violation

My Actions

1. Driving a vehicle

1. Yes, I was

2 On a highway

2. Yes

3. Made a U-turn

3. Yes

4. In a residence

4. No. There were only two district residences on the block, which was just outside of town. "Residence district" is defined as 15 or more residences over a quarter of a mile. Went back and counted. Only seven residences one-half-mile back from U-turn, only 10 residences one-half-mile ahead.

5. Traffic approaching within 200 feet, either direction

5. No. My rearview mirror showed no traffic behind. Approaching car was 15 to 20 car lengths (225 to 300 feet) ahead.

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