Criminal Law

Fighting Your Traffic Ticket & Pre-Trial Discovery

"Discovery" is lawyer talk for uncovering the details of the case against you. With traffic tickets, the discovery process is less formal than in other courtroom trials, but there are still some rules you'll have to follow.

Pre-Trial Discovery

You can send the prosecutor a "request for production" or "discovery request." The is a request to get a copy of certain evidence the prosecutor will use at trial, including:

  • A copy of the police officer's notes, including both sides of the ticket
  • A list of witnesses, their phone numbers and addresses
  • A copy of any photos or videos taken at the scene
  • A copy of any diagrams or maps to be used by the prosecutor at trial
  • Any other written evidence to be used at trial

Your formal written request should be served on the prosecutor in a manner that you can prove the prosecutor received it (your traffic court clerk may be able to supply you with forms and details on how the request must be served). It's important to keep a copy of your request, just in case you need to show it to the judge later. It is important to request a copy of the evidence soon after you get your ticket so that you can get the evidence before your trial date.

If the prosecutor hasn't responded within a certain number of days (which varies by state and court), you can ask the judge to dismiss the case. The clerk of the traffic court can tell you when to file a motion to dismiss and help you set up a hearing date for your motion.

Related Resources on

- Contesting Your Traffic Ticket
- Traffic violations articles and information
- Selecting a lawyer
- Find a Traffic Violations Lawyer in your area
- Visit our Traffic Citations Message Board for more help

Web Resources

- State Speed Laws from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (pdf)

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