We all know the feeling of dread when you see those flashing police lights in your rearview mirror. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, you start to question yourself. Unfortunately, even when you obey all traffic laws, you may end up with a traffic ticket. The police aren’t infallible, and they often issue traffic citations without hard evidence.
Whether it’s due to malice or an innocent misunderstanding, you’re now responsible for paying a traffic ticket that probably doesn’t fit into your budget. Should you contest the ticket if you know you aren’t guilty, or is it better to just pay the fine?
Traffic Ticket Offenses in Minnesota
Traffic tickets vary in severity, from relatively benign offenses like driving a few over the speed limit to serious violations such as reckless driving or DWI. If the alleged crime is severe enough, the driver will be taken into custody (as is often the case with DUIs). However, even if you simply receive a citation, don’t be fooled into thinking your traffic ticket isn’t a serious issue. If you continue to receive tickets for certain driving-related offenses, you may face more serious consequences, including drivers license suspension. And if you ignore the ticket hoping it will go away, you could even be arrested for not paying the fine.
Some sources estimate up to 25% of traffic tickets are issued in error, yet many drivers don’t contest these tickets. They think the process is difficult and time consuming, and that it would be better to just go along with the police officer’s report. In reality, you always have options if you feel your traffic ticket was issued unfairly.
Addressing A MN Traffic Ticket
You must choose one of three paths when you’re issued a traffic ticket in Minnesota: pay the ticket, contest the ticket by requesting a hearing on your own, or hire a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Paying a traffic ticket is an admission of guilt, which means this offense will be kept on record and may affect your ability to keep your license. It also means your car insurance rates may go up. This may be the best option once in a while if you’re guilty of the offense and don’t have a history of traffic violations. However, you do have other options.
If you feel the ticket was issued in error, you are free to request a hearing where you may plead not guilty, and later a court trial in front of a judge. We’d recommend considering a hearing and a trial if you have past driving offenses, if you feel the issuing officer was acting due to bias or malice, or if you have proof of your innocence. If you present compelling evidence, the judge may decide to dismiss the ticket.
How you present your evidence is important and can affect the outcome of your hearing. If your ticket was for a serious moving violation, you should consider hiring a MN ticket attorney. Your attorney will help you prepare for the hearing to ensure the best possible outcome. Even if you’re facing a fine for a lesser offense, working with an attorney can help protect your record and provide peace of mind. Your lawyer will also ensure your rights are being respected by law enforcement and the court.
If you’d like to discuss your ticket with a Minnesota traffic violations lawyer, give Sieben Edmunds Miller a call. We can help you determine how a guilty plea will affect your driving record. If you decide to contest the ticket, we’ll also help you collect evidence of your innocence. Let’s get started!