Most drivers understand that a ticket on your record may indicate higher insurance rates and require the payment of large ticket fines. You believe that you were unfairly ticketed and should not suffer the monetary consequences, so you hope to fight the ticket in court.
South Carolina requires the following of multiple steps to prove your innocence in court. While fighting your ticket may seem simple, hiring a qualified attorney may prove beneficial in understanding all elements of your case. Protect yourself against the possibility of a traffic ticket charge by using the best defense.
Contesting your ticket: Steps to avoiding traffic charges
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles provides the steps to fighting your ticket. With the help and preparation of an experienced attorney, a judge may rule in favor of the removal of the ticket from your record. The general path to avoiding a ticket charge requires the following steps.
- Generally, your traffic ticket lists a court date. If you plead guilty to your charge, you may pay online. If you choose to plead not guilty, you must attend court on the date listed to enter.
- After pleading not guilty, the court may notify you of the date and time you must return for a pre-trial hearing or a trial before a judge.
- Many courts require you to pay your ticket fee, which the court will reimburse if a judge finds you not guilty.
- Missing a scheduled court date constitutes a serious offense. The court may suspend your license if you skip a scheduled court date.
Pre-trial hearing and trial
Should you prove to be not guilty, during the pre-trail hearing, the court may:
- Issue a plea bargain that dismisses your charge; or
- Change your plea to guilty to receive lesser charges
If you and the court cannot agree on a plea bargain, your case may head to trial. Your attorney may present opening statements, witnesses and evidence may give testimony, and a reading of the guilty or not guilty verdict may occur.
- If you are found guilty of your violation, you may be subjected to:
- Increased fines
- License suspension
- Community service
- Jail time
- If you are found not guilty of your violation, the court will dismiss your charges and reimburse your ticket payment.
Should you be confident that you were unlawfully given a traffic ticket, hiring an experienced attorney to fight for your rights proves essential. The benefits of a clean record and no pending fine payments outweighs the process of simply accepting the ticket and moving on.