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Traffic Courts


If you choose to have your day in traffic court, as anyone intelligent would, you need to know what to expect.  Only 5% of those who receive a traffic ticket will contest it in court – these are odds that the courts and cities who employ the officers to write tickets are counting on.  Much of the time, the officer who issued the ticket will be unavailable to appear in court, which means the person who contested the ticket will have it dropped and won't pay a fine or penalty.


If the officer does appear, however, then you must be prepared.  You will have to cross-examine that police officer and question their ticket in order to win your case.  Otherwise, you will nearly always be issued the fine and (possibly) court costs. 


You must be prepared to question a police officer face to face.  In court, however, it is different than on the street.  The officer must answer your questions and cannot arrest you for anything.  Luckily for you, you don't have to be Matlock to understand what's happening in court either.  Traffic court is “plain language” court which means there are no Latin words or phrases, no obscure calls to arcane laws, and no fanfare in argument.  The law is simple (you either were over the speed limit or your weren't) and easily understood. 


Most traffic cases last less than ten to fifteen minutes – many only three or four minutes.  The officer will give testimony and then you will cross-examine the officer.  The judge then makes a ruling.  The officer's testimony is usually a couple of minutes or less.  He (or she) will certify that he wrote the ticket and will briefly explain the circumstances. 


Your cross examination will likely focus on the way your speed was measured and the accuracy of whatever tools were used to make that measurement.  This is nearly always the crux of any traffic court case.  This takes little effort, really, since it's not likely that the officer recorded (or kept) records of the speed device's exact use at the time or calibration on that day.  These details will likely win your case, since the officer is required to prove your guilt utterly and if there is any question, you have won the case. 


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