Traffic tickets are annoying. They cost money and negatively affect your insurance. If you get a ticket you don’t want to deal with, consider taking the case to court and disputing the officer’s allegations. Here are three important parts of the ticket-fighting process.

1. Be Polite, But Not Apologetic
When the officer pulls you over and asks if you know why he did so, respond politely with, “No officer, I don’t.” Don’t admit to being guilty by saying “Yes, because I was (insert violation here—like speeding),” and don’t say anything sarcastic or rude—no matter how annoyed you are.

At the same time, you don’t have to be apologetic. Apologizing is also an admission of guilt. That admission can be used against you in a court case. If the police officer reports you admitted to violating the law, the judge will have no reason to dismiss the charges.

2. Take Notes
When the officer hands you the ticket, examine it for accuracy before he walks away. If you see incorrect information, politely ask the officer to correct it. If he refuses to, take a mental note of the needed changes. Once he has left, take notes on the situation—write down the current weather and traffic conditions, and record exactly what happened.

If possible, record the officer’s badge number and patrol car license plate number. You can approach questions about his allegations in one of two ways:

First, you can ask questions about what type of device he used to determine you were speeding (if the ticket is for speeding), where he was positioned when he saw the violation, and so on. If you ask these questions, the officer will suspect you are going to challenge the ticket, and will take lots of his own notes to use against you in the case.

The other option is to ask the officer if you can handle the ticket by mail, and then later file a Motion of Discovery. That way you can get the relevant information, but the officer won’t have a reason to take a lot of notes and build up his side of the case.

3. Prepare for Court
If you are facing charges with significant fees or jail time, you will want to find a traffic ticket lawyer. You will need to spend a good amount of time building your defense, which will be stronger if you have professional legal help.

On your court date, show up for court in professional attire, and plead “not-guilty.” Be sure to have a good attitude in court and avoid any admissions of guilt—direct or indirect. If the police officer doesn’t show up for the court date, the case will typically be dismissed. Some things that decreases the chances the officer will show up include:

• A summer court date: an officer is more likely to skip the hearing if they are on vacation.
• A far commute: if the officer is located far away from the courthouse, he may just let the case go.
• A change in the court date: officers typically schedule all their hearings on the same day so they can get them done at once. If you request a change of date, the officer may decide it’s not worth showing up.

If you are facing charges from a traffic violation ticket, evaluate whether or not fighting the ticket is a good idea. Will it cost more time and money to pay the ticket, or to fight it? If you fight the charge, follow the advice above and you just might get the charges dropped.

Author's Bio: 

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.