Traffic Ticket – now what?

Most people have received a traffic ticket at one time in their lives.  However, not everyone knows how to properly respond to the receipt of a ticket.  Generally speaking, one may be able to negotiate a settlement with the police officer before the hearing regarding the traffic citation.

First, it is important to consider what information is contained on the traffic citation. The traffic citation will summarize the circumstances of the alleged offense.  It will contain such information as the date of the alleged violation, who committed the violation, the provision of the traffic code that was allegedly violated, and the amount of the fine.

After a traffic citation is received, a person must decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty to the offense.  If the person pleads guilty to the offense, that is essentially the end of the case.  A not guilty plea results in a hearing being scheduled before the Magisterial District Justice in whose jurisdiction the alleged offense occurred. .

Assuming the person pleads not guilty, the case may be resolved before the hearing actually occurs.  If the accused has a relatively clean driving history and was respectful to the officer during the traffic stop, an agreement can be often reached. For example, if someone is charged with a traffic violation bearing a possible 2 or 3 points, the officer may be willing to offer a plea deal of a lesser charge which bears no points.

Settlements may also be reached in a more complex traffic case, involving multiple charges.  Typically, in such a situation, the accused will likely end up with some points on your license. Nevertheless, the officer may be willing to drop one of the charges in exchange for a guilty plea to another, which would result in fewer points on the accused’s license.  However, it is important to remember that a police officer is more likely to offer a fair settlement to an attorney rather than an unrepresented party.  Consequently, it is very important to hire an attorney if faced with a traffic hearing.

If you have a question regarding a traffic issue, contact one of the experienced attorneys at Trinity Law today.  Our attorneys routinely handle traffic matters in York, Lancaster and surrounding counties.