Police officers work long hours and have a lot of responsibility, so it's not hard to understand how an officer might make an occasional mistake when issuing a traffic ticket. This type of mistake happens for many reasons; for example, if the police officer is posted at an awkward angle, it may be difficult to determine if you used your turn signal or turned from the wrong lane. Just because mistakes happen, however, doesn't mean you have to pay a hefty fine or rack up points on your driver's license if it is not warranted. If you believe a police officer has ticketed you by mistake, take the following steps to ensure your record stays clear and that you remain in compliance with the law.
1. Be polite.
If the officer gives you a chance to explain your side of the story, be polite. Tell the officer exactly what happened without raising your voice or behaving in an argumentative manner. If the officer disagrees with you, remain calm. Arguing with the officer will not help your case, but the officer may decide to let you off with a warning if you can be polite while you tell your side of the story.
2. Don't ignore the ticket.
If you can't convince the officer that you did not commit a traffic offense, don't ignore the ticket. The back of the ticket should explain what to do if you want to contest the ticket in court, so follow these directions to the letter. If you have to sign the ticket and send it to the court by a certain date, make sure you submit it well before the deadline to avoid additional fines and penalties.
3. Gather evidence.
Video evidence is especially helpful for proving that you did not commit a traffic offense, as the video should be able to confirm whether you did or did not do something like run a red light, turn without using your signal, or stop when a school bus had its lights flashing. To determine if this type of evidence is available, return to where you received the ticket and go to local businesses to ask if they have security cameras with a view of the streets and sidewalks. If any of the businesses you visit have the footage on file, your traffic ticket lawyer can ask them to turn over the evidence to aid in your defense.
4. Go to court.
Whatever you do, do not skip your court date, even if you believe the officer made a mistake and the ticket was issued unfairly. Going to court is your chance to present evidence that supports your claim that you did not commit the offense listed on the ticket. When the judge gives you a chance to speak, remain calm and avoid accusing the police officer of misconduct.
Getting a traffic ticket is never fun, but it really stings when you know that you did nothing to deserve it. If a police officer makes a mistake and issues you a ticket for an offense you did not commit, discuss your situation with a traffic lawyer right away.