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  • Fight Traffic Ticket in Idaho

    Know Your Options

    You can plead guilty to the violation, pay your fine, and deal with other penalties like point accumulation and increased auto insurance, or you can fight your ticket in court.

    Pay Ticket
    (Plead Guilty)

    • Pay the fine.
    • Accumulate points on your driving record (could put you at risk for license suspension.
    • Possibly pay higher auto insurance rates.
    • If eligible, take a defensive driving course for existing point reduction and possible insurance discount.

    Learn more about
    Paying your Traffic Ticket »

    Fight Ticket
    (Plead Not Guilty)

    • Fight the ticket in court, perhaps with legal help from a traffic ticket attorney.
    • Potentially lose the option to plead to lesser charges with lesser penalties.
    • Receive no penalties (except for any applicable court costs/attorney fees) if found not guilty.
    • Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).

    Learn more below

    What it Means to Fight Your ID Traffic Ticket

    Fighting an ID traffic ticket means different things for different drivers.

    For example, a driver might:

    • Contest simple traffic infraction charges, such as speeding.
    • Fight more serious misdemeanor charges, such as reckless driving.
    • Fight even more serious criminal charges, such a DUI/DWI or any violation related to vehicle homicide―the kind the put you at risk for jail time.

    Generally, once a driver decides to contest a ticket and fight it in court, he will notify the court and receive a hearing date (or use the hearing date printed on his ticket), prepare and plead his case (often with the help of a traffic ticket attorney, and receive and respond to a judgment.

    Read on for more detailed information.

    Pleading Guilty

    Some drivers opt to plead guilty, either because they know they were guilty or because paying the traffic fine and court costs is the easiest, most convenient route for them.

    To learn more about this option, visit our section detailing how to pay your ID traffic ticket.

    Avoid Additional Penalties

    Failure to respond to your traffic ticket in time or appear for your hearing can lead to all sorts of additional penalties, ranging from license suspension and having your account turned over to a collections agency to jail time and community service.

    Notify the Court

    Determine Where to Plead

    Your ticket should include information about where you were ticketed and which court is handling your citation. This is where you will plead.

    If you can’t find your ticket, check our section on Lost Idaho Traffic Tickets.

    Inform the Court

    Generally, how you inform the court will depend on your personal situation, or the violation.

    For example, if you’re facing serious criminal charges, you and your traffic ticket attorney can inform the court of your not guilty plea during a preliminary hearing.

    On the other hand, if you have an infraction or misdemeanor citation, you can use the response options accompanying the citation or contact the court to schedule a hearing for contesting the ticket. Too, courts allow drivers to appear in court on the date printed on the ticket to “answer” the charges (in this case, plead not guilty). Once they plead not guilty, the clerk schedules a hearing date.

    Rescheduling or Postponing Your Hearing

    Rescheduling policies may vary by court, so it’s best to contact the court as soon as you know you can’t make your hearing date. This will provide you with a better chance at getting a postponement.

    Hire a Traffic Ticket Attorney

    Many drivers hire traffic ticket attorneys once they choose to fight their tickets in court; lawyers are especially helpful with misdemeanor charges and criminal violations that can carry steeper penalties than regular traffic infractions.

    Note that traffic ticket attorneys can also help with:

    • Rescheduling or postponing hearings.
    • Filing appeals.
    • Negotiating plea bargains (if it starts to look as if the case isn’t going in your favor or you’re standing trial for criminal charges).

    Prepare Your Case

    During your hearing, you can present testimony (your own and that of witnesses), as well as any evidence you have that proves your innocence.

    Thus, this is the kind of information you should gather and practice as you prepare for your case.

    Plead Your Case Before a Judge or Jury

    Generally, you’ll plead your case before either a magistrate or a district court judge.

    The judge will give both parties (you and the officer, or the state) chances to present testimony, evidence, and witnesses, and once he hears and sees everything both parties has to present, he’ll make a judgment.

    Usually, if a judge finds a driver not guilty, the driver can leave the court and continue his day; if he finds the driver guilty, however, he’ll make him aware of information such as:

    • How much he owes in traffic ticket fines, court costs, and any other related surcharges.
    • How many points will be added to his driving record.
    • Whether his driver's license will be suspended or revoked due to driving record points or as a penalty for the violation for which he was convicted.

    Note that some violations, such criminal convictions, bring additional and much steeper fines and penalties.

    Filing an Appeal

    You can file an appeal to the district court (no matter where your hearing started out) if you’re unsatisfied with a guilty verdict.

    Your attorney will handle the paperwork for you; if you don’t have an attorney, talk with the magistrate, assistant, or court clerk about the appeals process you must follow. Don’t forget to ask about any additional costs related to appeals.

    Check Your Driving Record

    Regardless of your verdict, it’s a good idea to check your driving record once it’s all said and done. Because driving record points can lead to license suspension, you need to make sure that:

    • No points were added to your record (if you were found not guilty).
    • Only the applicable number of points were added to your record (if you were found guilty).

    Shop for Better Auto Insurance Rates

    Remember: A guilty verdict could result in higher auto insurance rates the next time you renew your policy.

    Ask you current insurance provider whether this is in your future; if it is, consider comparing auto insurance rates online to find lower rates.