Fight Traffic Ticket in IndianaPage Overview
You can plead guilty or no contest to your ticket and pay the fine. For some drivers, this means conveniently paying online, by mail, or over the phone, and putting the situation behind them; for others, it means enrolling in deferral or driving programs and even mandatory court appearances.
However, if you feel you’re not guilty, or can prove you were ticketed in error, you might plead guilty and fight the ticket in court.
- Pay the fine.
- Accumulate driving record points.
- Get higher auto insurance rates.
- Possibly attend Driver Safety Program to keep violation off driving record.
- Voluntarily attend DSP to offset points and get possible auto insurance discount.
- Use a deferral program (if eligible and county offers it).
Learn more about
Paying your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest ticket in court.
- Seek legal counsel for representation.
- Face no penalties if found not guilty.
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Fighting your ticket means denying guilt and going before a judge to prove your innocence.
Because of the legal aspects, many drivers choose to hire traffic ticket attorneys to help them prepare their cases and present them in the courtroom.
If you win your case, you can go home and put it behind you; if you lose, however, you’ll have to pay your traffic ticket fine, court costs, and any other related surcharges―as well as deal with violation-related penalties.
Plead Guilty or No Contest
Unless you committed an offense that requires a court appearance (your ticket will state as much), you can plead guilty or no contest and pay your fine.
For many drivers, this is the most convenient option―especially if their courts have online payment options.
Head over to Paying Your Traffic Ticket to learn more.
Avoid Additional Charges
You must notify the court of your not guilty plea (and schedule a hearing); alternatively, you can appear in court on the date on your ticket, tell the judge, and then receive a hearing date.
If you fail to―
- Respond to the citation,
- Show up on your hearing date, or
- Pay your fines and other costs (if you’re found guilty) within the allotted amount of time
Find Your Court
Although some courts ultimately refer traffic tickets to the Traffic Violations Bureau, traffic tickets begin on a county level. Check your ticket for the name of the county in which you received the ticket and the court (or clerk) handling the ticket.
You can then use the Judicial Branch of Indiana website to find your county’s website and gather any contact information you need.
Inform the Court
You have a few options when it comes to informing the court of your not guilty plea:
- Choose the “not guilty” option and mail the ticket using the address provided on the citation.
- Visit the court and tell the clerk you want to plead not guilty.
- Show up to court on the date printed on your ticket and tell the judge you want to plead not guilty. You’ll then receive a hearing date.
Look at your ticket and make sure it includes information about ways you can inform the court of your not guilty plea and schedule a hearing; if you can’t find any information, call your court.
Rescheduling or Postponing Your Hearing
Let the court know before your scheduled hearing that you need to postpone or reschedule.
Consider hiring a traffic ticket lawyer whenever you feel uncomfortable facing a judge by yourself―especially if you’re facing serious criminal charges.
An attorney skilled in IN traffic laws can help you:
- Prepare for your case, including practicing your testimony, gathering evidence, and subpoenaing witnesses.
- Negotiate a plea agreement, or talk to the judge about using a deferral program or the state’s Driver Safety Program.
- Appeal a guilty verdict.
Some ideas to keep in mind as you prepare for your case include:
- Go over your testimony and determining whether you or your attorney will speak for you.
- Collect any evidence that proves your citation isn’t justified.
- Remember if there were any witnesses and determine whether to call or subpoena them.
- Talk with your attorney about plea agreement options.
- Look into the possibility of a deferral program or Driver Safety Program (just in case the hearing isn’t going your way).
During your hearing, the prosecutor will present testimony, evidence, and witnesses that prove you committed the offense, and then you (or your attorney) will provide the same―but proving you’re innocent.
If the judge finds you innocent, great―you can go home!
If he finds you guilty, however, you’ll have to hang around a little while to find out about all the ticket fines, court costs, and related surcharges you owe, as well as the violation’s penalties you must deal with.
(You can learn more about all that in our Ticket Fines and Penalties section.)
Filing an Appeal
Your attorney can help you file an appeal, but if you didn’t hire legal help, talk to the court’s clerk or the Traffic Violations Bureau (whichever agency applies to you) about the process to file an appeal.
Note that you’ll most likely have to pay extra costs for an appeal.
Keeping tabs on your driving record can help you keep an eye on increasing points and violations on your record.
Check your record whenever:
- You’re found guilty. Make sure only the applicable number of points show up.
- The judge allows you to complete a deferral program or Driver Safety Program to keep the violation off your record.
Head over to IN Driving Records to learn how to get a copy of your record.
Don’t be surprised if your auto insurance provider increases your coverage rates over a guilty verdict; actually, you might want to discuss the possibility with your agent before you go to court.
If you find out you’re facing a rate increase, consider comparing auto insurance rates online to find more affordable coverage.Other Topics in This Section