We all dread getting stopped by the cops and given a ticket. It’s even worse when it’s a parking ticket. In my case, more often than not, I believe that the ticket was unmerited or too costly. My record in court lifetime is 12-1-3. The 1 time I lost was the only time I was clearly guilty. The 3 is for the amount of times I’ve settled.
DO COPS HAVE A QUOTA?
I have known a few police officers and others who work within the system that have guaranteed me there is a monthly quota they are expected to reach. While this is normal for traffic cops, it is a quota for anyone lower than the rank of detective. In other words, pretty much anyone in a uniform in any police car can be expected to look hard to catch someone committing an infraction.
STEP 1. HOW GUILTY ARE YOU?
Yes, there are levels of guilt. In short, you need to figure out whether the penalty fits the crime. In some cases you won’t think you’re guilty at all. Great, that will make it almost a sure victory. In the rare case where you may feel the punishment fits the crime, perhaps you may feel like paying the ticket. Unless it’s completely unwinnable (which is almost never the case), you should ALWAYS FIGHT YOUR TICKET IN COURT. IT’S YOUR RIGHT.
STEP 2: BACK TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME
It is important to go back to the exact spot of the infraction and take as many pictures as possible. Make sure you are an expert when asked about the area. Were there a lot of trees? What shape is the road in? If it’s a parking ticket, make sure you know the times of the parking prohibitions and any exceptions. Also make sure you know how much traffic there usually is at the specific time of the infraction. KNOW THE SPOT OF THE INFRACTION LIKE THE BACK OF YOUR HAND.
STEP 3: KNOW THE LAW
If you don’t know the law, you’ll lose in court. IT IS IMPERATIVE TO STUDY ALL THE LAWS SURROUNDING YOUR INFRACTION
STEP 4: BE CONFIDENT
The lawyer that will be trying to rattle you is going to be a very young and inexperienced lawyer just out of law school. Remember, THE LAWYER HAS MORE AT STAKE THAN YOU. This is because she needs to prove herself.
STEP 5: NEVER LIE
Judges know when you’re lying. You need to never veer off topic or give a sad story either. Justice has no feelings. It only has facts. And those who judge you are experts who try and get the most out of your testimony. YOU NEED TO SHOW CREDIBILITY.
STEP 6: GO GET ‘EM
You will most likely be in a courtroom like the one above, but a lot more cramped. There will likely be about 10 or so other people waiting , like you, to get their turn. Since you may be the first one called up, it is best to visit the courtroom the previous week at the same day and time and get a feel for it. Most importantly, you need to see why some people won and others lost. You will notice that people lose on character as much as on the truth of their argument. That’s why you need to have both a good case built and a likeable personality. Don’t be uptight or nervous.
The most often-used trick of the lawyer is to ask you the exact same question in different ways. Make sure you always give the same answer. One slip-up here and you will lose for sure. In my case, I was asked whether the light was amber when I drove past the intersection. I said it turned amber halfway across. She then askedme when the light turned red. I said I didn’t see it turn red. If I had told her when, it would mean I was guilty because seeing the light turn red would have meant I had driven by the intersection when the amber light was on to have enough time to see it turn red. After 3 or 4 times of sticking to your guns, the judge will give you the win.
One gentleman, when asked if he had illegally parked, said “yes, but…”. There are no buts. NEVER THINK THEY CARE ABOUT YOUR SORRY EXCUSES.
There’s so much more to this. Next time you’re in a tight spot, don’t hesitate to contact me.