If you receive a traffic ticket in Missouri, you can contest it in traffic court. However, preparing for a traffic court hearing can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal process. Succeeding in traffic court requires more than just showing up as scheduled.
How To Prepare For Your Hearing
1. Understand Your Traffic Ticket
The first step in preparing for a traffic court hearing is understanding the traffic ticket you received. Your traffic ticket will contain information about the alleged traffic violation, the incident’s date and time, and the offense’s location. It will also state the court date and the court’s address where the hearing will take place.
2. Know the Traffic Laws
You need to know the traffic laws that apply to your situation. Missouri traffic laws can be found in the Missouri Revised Statutes. You can also find information about traffic laws on the Missouri Department of Revenue’s website. Understanding local traffic laws will help you determine whether you were cited correctly and whether you have a valid defense.
3. Prepare a Defense
Once you have a good understanding of traffic laws, you can begin to develop your defense. Some common defenses for traffic violations include arguing that the officer made a mistake, that you were not driving the vehicle at the time of the incident, or that you were following emergency procedures. Consider consulting with and hiring a reputable traffic attorney if you need clarification on your options for a strong defense.
4. Gather Evidence
It’s essential to gather evidence to support your defense. Evidence may include photographs, videos, witness statements, and other documentation supporting your case. If you have questions about what evidence is admissible in court, it’s wise to consult a traffic attorney.
5. Organize Your Evidence
Once you have gathered your evidence, organize it so you can present it clearly and effectively in court. Ensure you have all the necessary documents in the correct order. If you submit photographs or videos, make sure they are labeled and organized in a way that makes them easy to understand.
6. Arrive Early
Give yourself plenty of time. Arrive early to park, check-in, and find your way around the facility. If you are unfamiliar with the courthouse, take some time to familiarize yourself with the layout before the hearing begins.
7. Follow Court Procedures
When you go to court, it’s essential to dress appropriately. Sleeveless shirts, shorts, and hats are not suitable for court hearings. Food and beverages are rarely allowed inside courtrooms. If you need to bring your children, ensure they are supervised and don’t interrupt the proceedings. Stand when the judge enters the courtroom, address the judge as “Your Honor,” and do not speak out of turn.
8. Be Ready to Enter Your Plea
You’ll come forward when your name is called and wait to be summoned before the judge. The violations you are alleged to have committed will be read, and at that time, you should be prepared to enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, or guilty with an explanation.
9. Be Respectful
When you are in court, it’s essential to be respectful to everyone involved in the proceedings. This includes the judge, the prosecutor, and any other court personnel. Speak clearly and calmly, and avoid interrupting anyone.
10. Listen Carefully and Take Notes
Listen carefully to everything that is said during the hearing. Take notes if necessary so that you can remember important details. If you need help understanding something, ask for clarification.
When Should I Hire An Attorney?
You aren’t required to hire an attorney, but attempting to fight a traffic ticket alone can be difficult. You may defend yourself, but no one except an attorney can represent you in court. An experienced traffic attorney may argue for leniency in terms of fines and sentencing or even attempt to dismiss the violation entirely by arguing the facts of the case. An attorney will also be familiar with any relevant precedents and procedural issues that may be in your favor.
Contact St. Louis Traffic Fix
If you receive a ticket for a serious traffic violation, you must hire an attorney as soon as possible. A reputable, experienced traffic attorney can help fight your case and protect your rights. When you need help with a speeding ticket, DUI/DWI, accident, or another traffic issue, call the experts at St. Louis Traffic Fix.
We proudly represent clients in St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren, and St. Louis Counties. We help clients resolve traffic issues in a timely and beneficial manner. Call us at 636-685-0440 to schedule a consultation.