Fight Traffic Ticket in LouisianaPage Overview
Louisiana drivers can plead guilty or no contest and pay their traffic ticket fines, or they can show up on the hearing date printed on their tickets and fight the charges.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine.
- Possibly have the violation appear on your PDPS record.
- Risk license suspension or revocation depending on the violation.
- Potentially experience an increase in auto insurance rates.
Learn more about
Paying your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest the ticket during your hearing.
- Prepare your case, possibly with a traffic ticket attorney.
- Possibly attend a driver improvement course for ticket dismissal.
- Have no penalties if found not guilty (except any applicable court/attorney fees).
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Learn more below
Fighting your Louisiana traffic ticket means:
- Showing up on the court date printed on your ticket
- Telling the judge you’re not guilty
- Making your case, possibly with legal assistance.
Sometimes, courts offer the option to attend a driver improvement course for ticket dismissal; other times, they offer plea agreements involving lesser charges and penalties. Understand that you could give up either or both of these options by fighting your ticket in court.
Pleading Guilty or No Contest
Some drivers don’t feel contesting the ticket is worth the effort; others agree they’re guilty of the violation.
You can plead guilty or no contest to your ticket (which, for many drivers, is an easier process than contesting) and put the incident behind you. Learn more at Paying Your Traffic Ticket.
Avoid Additional Charges
Your ticket includes a hearing date, and if you don’t show up in court on this date you face a fugitive warrant and a flag on your driver’s license.
Determine Where to Plead
The court handling your ticket depends on where you received the ticket.
You’ll go to city court if a city officer issued your citation; you’ll head to district court if your officer was parish or state law enforcement.
The Louisiana Supreme Court website provides a list of all courts in the state. Use this list to find your court’s telephone number and mailing or physical address.
Inform the Court
Your traffic ticket includes a court date. Show up to court on this date and enter your not guilty plea.
Most courts take care of the hearing right then, though depending on the court and your circumstances, the court might schedule your hearing for another time.
Rescheduling or Postponing Your Hearing
You can contact the city prosecutor to reschedule a city court hearing.
Rescheduling district court hearings aren’t as easy; generally, you can’t reschedule one of these unless you can prove dire circumstances. It’s best to contact your district court as soon as you know you need to reschedule.
Fighting your case in court is serious business―for some, the outcome is the difference between having a driver’s license and taking the bus for the next year.
Consider hiring a traffic ticket lawyer to help you.
An attorney skilled in LA traffic law cases can help you with everything from preparing for the case to appealing a guilty verdict.
As you prepare for your case, you (and your attorney) can:
- Practice your testimony, and determine whether you or your attorney will speak on your behalf.
- Gather evidence that proves your innocence or that your violation was unavoidable.
- Consider whether subpoenaing witnesses would be helpful.
- Think about possible cross-examination questions.
- Determine whether you’re open to plea agreements.
Most traffic ticket hearings are straightforward.
The police officer who ticketed you and either the city prosecutor or district attorney (depending in the court) will present testimony, evidence, and possibly witnesses proving you’re guilty of the violation; you (and your attorney) can then present testimony, evidence, and witnesses proving you’re innocent.
Depending on the case, each side might cross-examine the other.
Once the judge hears and views everything both sides have to offer, he’ll make a judgment.
Typically, you’ll go on about your day if the judge finds you not guilty; however, if he finds you guilty you’ll be made aware of all the ticket fines and penalties for which you’re responsible.
Filing an Appeal
Judge find you guilty? You can file an appeal, regardless of which court your case started out in. Just visit the clerk’s office after you receive your guilty verdict and request the required documents to file an appeal.
Your attorney can handle this for you, too.
Just because Louisiana doesn’t use a point system doesn’t mean keeping an eye on your driving record isn’t important.
After you’re hearing, order your driving record to make sure the OMV:
- Only added the violation for which you were found guilty.
- Added no violations, if you were found not guilty.
Because the only hand-in traffic tickets the OMV has is what the courts send them, you should contact your city or district court if you find incorrect information.
Most auto insurance companies increase policyholders’ rates when they receive guilty convictions and violations on their driving records.
Check with your current provider about whether you’ll see an increase the next time you renew your policy. You might find it’s time to get a head start shopping for lower car insurance rates.Other Topics in This Section