Are you wondering what to expect during your traffic court hearing?
Data revealed that on an average day, police stop more than 50,000 drivers. Unfortunately, when you get pulled over for a speeding ticket, you’re going to end up in a traffic court.
Facing a traffic court for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to expect. After all, you face a fine, drop points on your license, or even face jail time if you get into trouble. That’s why it’s important to know what to expect so that you can be better prepared to face the judge.
Read on to learn more about the traffic court process, including what to prepare and what to bring to court.
What Is a Traffic Court?
A traffic court is a court of law that handles moving violations, which are violations of the law that occur while a vehicle is in motion. These moving violations can range from serious offenses, such as reckless driving, to more minor offenses, such as speeding.
In addition to moving violations, some traffic courts also handle non-moving violations, such as parking offenses. If you have a ticket for a moving or non-moving violation, the law will require you to appear in a traffic court. This full article here will help you know when you need to hire a lawyer for either of these violations.
What to Prepare and Bring to Court?
If you are preparing to go to a traffic court, it is important to know what to expect. The first thing you should do is dress neatly and be respectful to the judge and court personnel. You will need to bring any paperwork related to your case, as well as your driver’s license.
Be prepared to present your side of the story and be honest about what happened. The judge may ask you questions, and you will have the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence.
Types of Traffic Court
The type of court you appear in will depend on the severity of the traffic citation. No matter what type of court you appear in, the judge will ask you to enter a bargain plea. Below are the two types of traffic courts.
The Municipal Court
This type of court is a lower-level court and handles less serious crimes and offenses. Most of the time, the traffic court will be held in a smaller room or area within the courthouse.
The court process will often be quicker, and the penalties will be less severe than if the case were heard in a higher-level court.
The Federal Traffic Court
This type of court is different from the state or municipal traffic courts. The magistrate is the one presiding over the federal traffic court. He is a judicial officer of the court and he will hear your case and make a judgment.
There is no jury in federal traffic court, and the magistrate’s decision is final.
Expect to See the Judge
Before you appear in traffic court, prepare and expect to see the judge. Remember that the judge has the final say in your case, so it is important to be honest and forthcoming.
If you take responsibility for your actions and prove that you are taking steps to remedy the situation, the judge may be able to reduce the penalties you are facing.
You Can Plead Guilty or Not Guilty
When you go to traffic court, the court will ask you how you plead. You can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you plead guilty, the court will find you guilty and you will have to pay the fine.
If you plead not guilty, the court will have a trial. If you plead no contest, the court will find you guilty, but you will not have to pay the fine.
Attorney Presents Evidence Against You
At your hearing, the judge will hear evidence from both the prosecutor and your attorney. If your attorney presents evidence against you, it is likely because they believe that the case against you is strong and that you will be found guilty.
However, your attorney may also present evidence against you to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor.
The Attorney Presents Your Defense
After the prosecutor presents the evidence against you, your attorney will present your defense. The attorney may try to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
If the case goes to trial, the attorney will represent you in front of a judge or jury.
Judge Will Make a Ruling
During the hearing, the judge will hear from both the prosecution and the defense, and after that, the attorney will then make a ruling. If you are guilty, the law will need you to pay a penalty, and it may suspend your driver’s license.
If you are not guilty, you will be free to go. But, if you believe that the judge’s ruling was unfair, you may appeal the decision.
Final Instructions After the Punishment
After the judge decides on punishment, they will give you their final instructions. These instructions will tell you what you need to do to fulfill your punishment. For example, if the judge requires you to pay a fine, the instructions will tell you how much you need to pay and when you need to pay it.
If the final verdict is that you complete community service, the instructions will tell you how many hours you need to complete and where you need to complete them. It is important to follow the judge’s final instructions. If you do not, the judge might charge you with another penalty.
Understand Traffic Court Expectations
If you’re facing traffic violations, it’s important to know what is a traffic court, what to prepare and bring to court, and what happens in traffic court. Depending on the severity of your offense, you may appear in municipal court for a lesser offense or federal court for a grave or serious offense.
We hope this guide helps you determine what to expect in court and understand the penalties of the judge after the ruling.
Did this article help you with your traffic ticket? Follow the rest of the blog for more legal tips.
Amanda Byers is a graduate of Columbia, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Zobuz’s entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, she enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Buzz worthy.