How Do I Prove That I Really Stopped at the Sign?

Strategies for contesting a stop sign ticket when an officer wrongly claims you failed to stop.

How Can I Dispute my Stop Sign Ticket?

I got cited for running a stop sign and requested a trial to contest the ticket. The officer said I didn't come to a full and complete stop but I actually did. My adult daughter was in the car and agrees that I did indeed come to a full stop. How do I prove my case at the trial?

What to Do When It's Your Word Against That of the Officer

In most states, the stop sign statute will—in a longwinded way—say that when approaching a stop sign, you must come to a complete stop before reaching the closest of a stop line, the crosswalk, or the intersection itself. So, when you're arguing your case in court, keep in mind how the offense is defined.

Fighting a stop sign ticket can be difficult. Unfortunately, when it's your word against the police officer's, the person with the badge usually wins. Having your daughter as a witness helps, but not as much as having an independent witness who you don't have a close relationship with. In most cases, you're not going to have an independent witness.

What you're left with as a defense, is attacking the officer's judgment in giving you the ticket. There are a handful of ways to go about doing this, but again, check your strategy against the letter of the law. Some possible defenses might include:

  • showing that you stopped well in advance of the stop, but the officer was positioned in a way that prevented him from seeing where you came to a halt
  • proving the stop sign was obscured—by tree branches, for example—or illegible, and
  • proving the limit line or crosswalk was too faded to see clearly.

It's also possible that the citing officer won't show up for your trial. If that happens, you typically win without having to do anything.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Get Professional Help

Talk to a Traffic Ticket attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you