No one likes to receive a traffic ticket, but if you are like most people, you may not be very familiar with what the process of paying the ticket is like. You may have heard that sometimes it is necessary to appear in court. In fact, the officer who issued your ticket to you may have mentioned a court appearance. This guide will explain everything you need to know about handling your traffic ticket so you have nothing to worry about.
Appearing in Court
It is true that sometimes a court appearance is necessary. Most of the time, however, you can simply pay the amount stated on the ticket and be done with it. Court appearances are only necessary for extreme traffic violations. Each state has different rules when it comes to this, so there is not a universal rule for what violations do and do not require court appearances.
Remember, the issuing police officer is not the authority on whether or not a ticket requires a court appearance. For the most part, however, you can trust the police officer to know what he or she is talking about. If you have any doubts, you should contact the clerk’s office for your county or speak with a traffic ticket attorney to be sure. Even if the ticketing officer does not tell you to, you still may be required to come to the courthouse.
If a court appearance is not necessary, you have four options for handling your ticket:
- Visit the clerk’s office to pay the fine
- Pay the fine by mail
- Pay the fine online
- Contest the ticket
You always have the option to contest any ticket, no matter how minor it is, and have the fine potentially dropped. You should only consider this option if you believe you did not violate the rules of the road and the officer was mistaken to issue the ticket. It is a good idea to speak with a traffic lawyer in Fairfax, VA, like from May Law, LLP, before you go with this option to learn how strong your case is.
If your violation is big enough to require a court appearance, then you will have a chance to either plead guilty and face whatever consequences the judge decides upon, or contest the ticket. If you contest the ticket, the judge will set a date for the trial and both you and the issuing officer must appear to present the evidence. An attorney is not necessary for this small trial, but it may help your case.