It can happen to anyone at any time. You see those red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror and hear the siren wail. According to a 2016 study conducted by Statistic Brain Research Institute, every year approximately 41 million people receiving speeding tickets alone, and this number accounts for roughly 21 percent of all licensed drivers in the United States today. The total cost of these tickets? A whopping $6.2 billion a year. And while your own ticket may represent a minuscule fraction of that total amount, it is understandable that you may wish to try to fight it, especially if you feel it was given unfairly.
Attorney Ashton Adair started his legal career prosecuting class C misdemeanors, including traffic tickets. After years of experience as a court-appointed attorney and criminal defense lawyer, he is back to specializing in traffic tickets. With his extensive experience, Adair is an expert when it comes to the best course of action when trying to fight a traffic ticket.
Save the Fight for the Courtroom
Regarding the traffic stop itself, Adair has three key pieces of advice.
“Be polite, accept the ticket, and be on your way,” he says.
It is easy and understandable to be frustrated or upset at the thought of receiving a ticket and having to pay a potentially hefty fine. Maybe you think you are being treated unfairly or didn’t deserve the citation—and you might be right, Adair says, but it is important to keep your cool, so to speak, when interacting with a police officer in order to keep the situation from escalating.
“It’s not always the easiest thing to accept, but just sign the ticket,” says Adair. “It does not mean you’re guilty, and you have plenty of time in court to fight it.”
If You Think You Are Right, Say So, But Don’t Push It
Awhile back, Adair was driving when he got pulled over by an officer. He mentioned to the officer that he had a license to carry a concealed weapon, but as he wasn’t carrying the gun with him at that time, he also was not carrying the license. After explaining this to the officer, the officer asserted that the law required Adair to carry the license with him at all times.
“I knew that wasn’t the case, and as a lawyer, I have expertise in the law, but I didn’t push it,” said Adair. “I told him I’d double check that and make sure I have it next time.”
If you firmly believe you have stayed within the confines of the laws, it is alright to mention it so in the event that the officer in question is wearing body camera or their car is equipped with a dashboard camera, your assertions will be picked up on the footage obtained. However, Adair warns against starting an argument, especially if the officer in question appears temperamental. Being arrested or ending up in a physical altercation with the officer will not help resolve anything, and it certainly will not help your case in a courtroom.
Get a Lawyer
Adair recommends that you consult with a lawyer when debating whether to fight a traffic ticket. Without a lawyer, says Adair, you have little chance of having your ticket dismissed. But with a lawyer, you are much more likely to win your case.
“There are many times when there’s a defect in the ticket itself or a strategy that can be used to fight it. Sometimes the locations won’t always match up, or maybe it’s the right location, but the wrong speed limit. I’ve seen ones where the officer wrote down a location that doesn’t even exist,” says Adair.
In addition to the previously mentioned benefits of having a lawyer by your side through the process, a lawyer can also obtain access to the notes the officer made on the ticket in question for anything unusual. Your lawyers will also have the opportunity to view any potential video recordings of the police officer issuing the ticket, something someone representing themselves might not get to do. Adair also notes that just having an attorney on your side can make many people feel more comfortable and relaxed.
Know the Consequences
Even if you ultimately choose not to hire a lawyer to fight your ticket, with Florida Legal you have access to legal advice and consultations via phone.
If you are considering fighting a traffic ticket in court, it may be in your best interest to consult with a lawyer at least regarding what the potential consequences of your ticket might be, especially if you have received tickets in the past. Multiple convictions or convictions for specific traffic violations can result in a suspended license. It may seem cheaper to just pay the fine and move on than to pay a lawyer, but in the long run, the consequences of the conviction may cost you much more, says Adair.
So the next time you find yourself faced with a pricey traffic ticket, remember that you can use your Florida Legal insurance plan to help fight it. From big legal battles to small legal headaches, having Florida Legal on your side will not just save you money — it will also give you priceless peace of mind.
For more information about our legal insurance policies or to speak with one of our representatives, please feel free to visit www.floridalegalinsurance.com/contact/.