This section takes you step by step through a traffic court trial, with information on your options at the various stages of the proceedings. For simplicity's sake, throughout this section the term "prosecutor" and "the prosecution" will be used to refer to whomever is doing the prosecuting against you,
In most of the 50 states, you do not have the right to a jury trial in a traffic ticket case, which means a judge alone decides whether or not you are guilty. In the others, you can insist on a jury trial. When only a judge is present, traffic violation trials tend to be fairly informal—certainly more
After the jury is selected, the jurors will be "sworn in" by the judge or clerk. Then, the trial proceeds in much the same way as a trial before a judge. (See What Happens in Traffic Ticket Trial by Judge?). Opening Statements Though opening statements are often skipped during a ticket-related trial
Before you show up in traffic court for your trial, there are some things you must do, and more you should do. Contacting the Court for Information The date by which you must pay the fine or ask to appear in court should be printed on your ticket. For obvious reasons, paying up is usually made very
Here are some reasons why you may want to delay your day in court: You need more time to prepare. You or a key witness will be out of town. You need to delay the time of your possible conviction in order to keep from accumulating too many "points" on your driving record over a specific period.
Defendants who know what to say and when to say it are far more likely to win than are defendants who stand up and hope to come up with a convincing story. In short, if you've come this far, you want to be well prepared. One big key to doing this is to carefully practice your presentation. Why You
After issuing a speeding or other traffic ticket, most police officers write notes -- usually on the back of the ticket -- with details of why you deserved the ticket and what the conditions were at the time. If you can obtain those notes before your traffic court hearing, you'll be ahead of the game.