Traffic court is, unfortunately, a place that many drivers will find themselves at some point in their driving careers. Whether they forget to wear seatbelts or get caught speeding, traffic court is where drivers go to plead their cases and fight against charges they feel are not accurate. There are few sources that prepare individuals to go to court, though, and many hurt their own cases because they do not know how to act. If you’re going to traffic court for the first time, you should follow the advice below.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare for traffic court is to make sure that you show up on time. Traffic court moves quickly, but your turn before the prosecutor and magistrate will pass you by if you are not on time. Given that most judges don’t look kindly on those who waste the court’s time, it is usually a good idea to make sure that you not only have a way to get to court but that you also have a backup method of transportation to get you there in case your first type of transportation fails.
Dress the Part
Next, you’ll want to consider how you dress in the court. Though the way you dress absolutely should not have any impact on the way the law is applied to you, that’s not quite how courts in the real world work. Regardless of your plea, it’s a good idea to dress conservatively – business casual at minimum, though those going before the judge or magistrate should dress as if they are going to a job interview. Dressing the part makes you look like you are taking the court seriously.
Know Your Facts
The next step is going to involve your pleading. If you’re not working with an attorney, you need to know exactly how you are going to plead and why. If you are going to plead guilty, you need to understand what the penalties might be and how you’ll pay any fines. If you are going to plea not guilty, however, you’ll want to have some kind of evidence that shows that you were wrongly charged for the incident in question. This isn’t a situation in which you should gamble on the court’s leniency – you really do need to show that the other side can’t prove that its allegations are true.
Above all else, make sure that you act professionally in the courtroom. When you arrive, go to your assigned area and wait quietly. If the courtroom allows phones, make sure that your phone is turned on airplane mode and that you won’t interrupt the proceedings. Always make sure that you are as quiet as possible and that you respond quickly when it is your turn. When talking to the prosecutor or judge, make sure that you’re clear, concise, and respectful. It is fine to argue your case, but don’t make personal attacks on anyone in the court and certainly don’t take your feelings out on the court. The better composed you are, the more seriously you will be taken.
Traffic court doesn’t have to be a nightmare. If you go in with the right attitude and you’re prepared, you can get in and out with a minimum of fuss. Though there is no guarantee that things will go your way in court, you can ensure that you get the court’s attention and respect by giving them the same. The more seriously you take traffic court, the more likely you are to succeed.