Using Witnesses When Fighting a Traffic Ticket

By: Kat Saks August 7, 2012
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Mistakes happen. Even the most seasoned drivers sometimes slip up behind the wheel and get stuck with speeding tickets or other traffic tickets.

If you receive a speeding ticket or other traffic citation, you might choose to admit guilt and pay the price, or you might decide to contest a traffic ticket instead.

If you plan to fight a traffic ticket, consider using a witness to bolster your case.

Who's a Traffic Ticket Witness?

Anyone who witnessed your traffic incident and was not directly involved might qualify as a witness.

A witness must see the traffic incident from beginning to end to provide a solid account of what transpired. So, someone who barely caught a sight of the incident, or showed up on the scene afterwards won't qualify.

Get a Witness Statement

In order to use a witness in your traffic violation case, you will need his or her account of what happened.

Gather your witnesses as soon as possible after the traffic incident and interview them: What did they see? Encourage them to be as thorough and detailed as they can and write down their answers verbatim.

Once you transcribe their statements, ask each witness to sign and date their individual statement so you have a record of what they saw. Also, make note of each witness's phone number so you can be in touch later if need be.

Your Witness Might Appear in Court

Next, you need to ask your witnesses for a big favor: an appearance in court.

Ask the police officer who wrote your traffic citation what your court date is, and then ask your witnesses if they can be there.

Remember: Most folks aren't too keen on making unnecessary trips down to city hall, so ask politely! Keep in mind that your witnesses must be present in court in order for a judge to consider their accounts of the incident.

NOTE: During serious circumstances, your traffic ticket attorney might subpoena the witness.

Can't Get a Traffic Ticket Witness?

Were you solo at the scene of the traffic incident? If no witnesses were present and you still plan to contest the traffic ticket, consider recording your conversation with the police officer. A record of your conversation might come in handy if you and the police offer have different accounts of what transpired.

Keep in mind that some states require you to notify all parties present that they are being recorded, so play it safe and ask for permission before you press record.

Also, hire a traffic ticket lawyer. Such an attorney is skilled in your area's traffic laws and can help you beat the case - or get the best possible outcome.

Have you ever relied on the help of a witness to contest a traffic violation? How did it work out? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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