Fight Traffic Ticket in Iowa

If you were written up for a violation you didn't commit, don't get mad—fight your ticket!

You can contest your Iowa traffic ticket by pleading not guilty and going to court.

Read below to find out more about how and when to take care of the process.

Pleading Not Guilty in Iowa

Pleading not guilty to an Iowa traffic ticket varies by county. Regardless of where you were cited, the first step typically involves informing the court you will contest the citation.

In IA, district courts typically handle traffic cases, although, again, this may change depending on where your ticket was issued.

You'll find specific information on your traffic ticket, including:

  • A timeline by which to respond.
    • Missing the deadline to respond could lead to penalties such as:
      • Higher fines.
      • Losing your chance to plead not guilty.
  • Which IA District Court to contact.
  • Instructions on contacting the court either:
    • In person.
    • Via mail.
    • Over the phone.

After getting in touch with the appropriate court, you should receive the location and time of your initial court date (your arraignment) where you will officially plead not guilty.

*NOTE: When you plead not guilty, you're officially taking the stance that you did not violate the law in question. It's highly recommended to bring some evidence of this to court with you.

(Traffic) School Is in Session

Traffic school can offer more than good tips. Many courts may offer to dismiss your case if you complete an Iowa traffic school course.

Find out how some extra time in traffic school may help you spend less time in court.

Fighting Your IA Traffic Ticket

Once your “not guilty" plea has been recorded, the court will issue your trial date. This may not be scheduled on the same day as your arraignment, so plan ahead for the possibility of of multiple trips to court.

You will not get a court-appointed attorney for a traffic-related case, so consider hiring an Iowa traffic ticket lawyer. Otherwise, you'll have to represent yourself in court.

At your trial, you or your attorney will get the chance to:

  • Question law enforcement.
  • Argue the law.
  • Call witnesses.
  • Present other evidence.

At the conclusion of the proceeding, a judicial officer will render a judgment on the case.

Potential Costs

When fighting your IA traffic violation, there are a number of factors to keep in mind.

Consider all possible financial factors when weighing whether or not to go to court, including:

  • Attorney fees.
  • Time off work to attend court.
  • Additional court fines if you lose.
  • A potentially higher auto insurance rate.
Insurance Rate Up? What's Up?

Not sure how fighting your ticket relates to your auto insurance rate? Find out more about the process, and how to avoid higher rates if you lose your case.

Consequences of Fighting Your IA Ticket

When everything is said and done, the judiciary official in charge will render a verdict.

If you are found not guilty, your case will be dismissed, and you will NOT:

  • Have the violation on your driving record.
  • Need to pay the traffic ticket fine.

If you lose and are found guilty, however, your Iowa traffic violation will stay on your driving record, and you may also have to:

Depending on how severe the infraction was, you could also potentially:

Ask the judiciary official or your traffic ticket attorney about ensuring the process is wrapped up or any other potential consequences of losing your case.

Going on the Record

When you go to court, the fate of your driving record hangs in the balance! Make sure the document accurately reflects the outcome of your trial by ordering your IA driving record for review.

Missing Your Court Date

If you miss your court date, you could end up worse off than if you lost your traffic ticket case.

There are any number of repercussions you may face for missing your court date, including:

  • A warrant issued for your arrest.
  • Additional fines and fees.
  • Points added to your license.
  • License suspension.
  • The original violation staying on your driving record.

If you realize you won't be able to make your court date, call the appropriate court as soon as possible and ask to reschedule, in order to avoid facing any of the above consequences.

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