Fight Traffic Ticket in Louisiana

SUMMARY: How to Fight a Louisiana Traffic Ticket

To contest the violation(s) on your LA traffic ticket, you'll need to request a trial date or attend your mandatory court appearance.

For specific instructions on how to fight your ticket, check your traffic ticket or contact the appropriate parish court.

Fighting Your Traffic Ticket in Louisiana

When faced with a traffic ticket in LA, you can either:

Pay Ticket
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)

Learn more about
paying your traffic ticket »

Fight 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

What It Means to Fight Your Louisiana Traffic Ticket

Fighting your Louisiana traffic ticket means:

  • Showing up on the court date printed on your traffic ticket.
  • Telling the judge you're "not guilty."
  • Making your case, possibly with legal assistance.

Sometimes, courts in Louisiana offer the option to attend a driver improvement course for ticket dismissal. Other times, they offer plea agreements involving lesser charges and penalties. You could give up either or both of these options by fighting your ticket in court.

Avoid Additional Charges

Your traffic 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 LA driver's license.

Pleading Guilty or No Contest

Some drivers don't feel contesting the traffic ticket is worth the effort, especially if they know they're guilty of the violation.

You can plead "guilty" or "no contest" to your traffic ticket (which, for many drivers, is an easier process than contesting) and put the incident behind you. Learn more at Paying Your Louisiana Traffic Ticket.

Notify the Louisiana Court

Determine Where to Plead

The court handling your traffic ticket depends on where in Louisiana you received your citation.

You'll deal with the 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/physical address.

Inform the Court

Your LA 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, your hearing may be scheduled for another time.

Rescheduling or Postponing Your Court Hearing

You can contact the appropriate Louisiana 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 LA district court as soon as you know you need to reschedule.

Hire a Louisiana Traffic Ticket Attorney

Fighting your traffic ticket 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.

Prepare Your Case

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.

Plead Your Case Before a Judge or Jury

Most traffic ticket hearings in Louisiana are fairly 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 in Louisiana

Judge find you " guilty?" You can file an appeal, regardless of which Louisiana traffic 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 traffic ticket attorney can handle this for you, too.

Check Your Louisiana Driving Record

Even though Louisiana doesn't use a point system, you should still keep an eye on your LA driving record.

After your hearing, order your LA driving record to make sure the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV):

  • Only added the traffic violation of which you were found "guilty."
  • Added no violations, if you were found "not guilty."

Since the only traffic tickets the LA OMV receives is what the courts send them, you should contact your city or district court if you find incorrect information.

Shop for Better Auto Insurance Rates

Most auto insurance companies increase your rates when you receive "guilty" convictions and violations on your Louisiana driving record.

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.

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