Whenever you drive, you must follow "the rules of the road" to avoid getting a ticket for a traffic violation. For serious traffic violations, you may have to appear in a traffic court. In most states, driving under the influence of alcohol, or DUI, is a serious crime. If you are found guilty, a traffic court judge may sentence you to jail.
Avoid Traffic Court for Minor Violations
After a police officer pulls you over, the ticket you receive will usually state whether or not you must appear in traffic court. If it doesn't, and you choose not to dispute the ticket, you probably just have to pay a fine. Common types of minor traffic violations that typically require the payment of a fine include driving a few miles faster than the speed limit and rolling through a stop sign.
Sometimes You Must Appear in Traffic Court
If your traffic violation is serious, you'll probably need to appear in traffic court. Serious offenses include driving at dangerous speeds or without a valid driver's license. These types of violations come with more severe consequences.
Traffic court sentences can include expensive court fines, community service hours, loss of your driver's license, points added to your license, and even a short stay in your local jail. If you or your lawyer presents a good defense, most traffic court judges have discretion to reduce or eliminate the number of points that can be placed on your driving record.
Failure to Appear
If you fail to either pay your ticket or appear in court on the assigned date, the traffic court judge usually can add a misdemeanor charge to your existing offense, which adds new fines. The judge can also issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The traffic court will also notify the DMV in your state, which will put a hold on your driver's license. Contact the traffic court as soon as possible to clean up this mess. If necessary, consult with an attorney.
You Can Appeal Traffic Court Decisions
You may feel that a traffic court judge came to the wrong decision on your case. The law allows you to appeal any traffic court decision. Appealing your traffic court case is going to be more complex than your original case and may require some legal assistance. When you appeal a traffic court decision, a different judge will review the initial case to make sure you were treated fairly. If you are successful, an appellate court judge can eliminate all traffic and criminal sentences.
A Traffic Violation Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding traffic court can be complicated, especially if you ignore a citation. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a criminal or traffic lawyer.