Fight Traffic Ticket in Missouri
Got stuck with a citation? You don't have to sit idly by. You can fight your traffic ticket in Missouri by pleading not guilty and taking it to court.
Read below to find out more about how to contest your MO traffic ticket and what you can expect from the process of fighting it.
- Pay the fine.
- Option to plea bargain penalties.
- Incur points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation).
- Possibly incur increase on auto insurance rates.
- Possible option to take Driver Improvement Program (DIP) to reduce points.
Learn more about
paying your traffic ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest traffic ticket via trial.
- Choose to represent yourself or hire an attorney.
- Possibly lose option to plea bargain for lesser penalties.
- No penalties if found guilty, but must pay court/attorney fees.
Learn more below.
Pleading Not Guilty in Missouri
When you get a traffic ticket in Missouri, you have 30 days to respond to it. Missing this deadline could result in automatically being found guilty plus several other penalties.
Remember: Pleading “not guilty" means you do NOT think you violated the law and most likely have some evidence to prove it.
Your MO traffic ticket is overseen by the Missouri Court system and your local traffic court. To plead "not guilty," you must appear in the court listed on your citation on the date and time specified and enter your plea in person.
NOTE: If you hired a MO traffic ticket attorney, he or she should be the one to send your information to the Missouri Fine Collection Center.
Fighting Your MO Traffic Ticket
Once you formally plead not guilty, you'll receive your trial date. This may or may not be on the same day.
Missouri doesn't offer court-appointed attorneys in these cases, so you may want to consider hiring a Missouri traffic ticket attorney to help you. Otherwise, you'll have to represent yourself in court.
At your trial, you can:
- Call witnesses.
- Present evidence in your favor.
- Question the officer who issued your citation.
- Argue the law.
When all is said and done, the judiciary official will rule on your case, deeming you either guilty or not guilty.
There's more at stake in a traffic ticket case than the fine for your violation. Any of the following figures could also factor into the financial process:
- Increased auto insurance rates if you lose.
- Additional fees charged by the court.
- Time off work to attend your arraignment/trial.
- Hiring a Missouri traffic ticket attorney.
Paying a one-time fine isn't the only thing to consider with a traffic ticket—your car insurance rate could skyrocket, too. Read our guide to learn about potential insurance rises.
Consequences of Fighting Your MO Ticket
After your trial, the court official in charge will rule on your case.
If you win and you're found not guilty:
- You WON'T have to pay the traffic ticket fine.
- The violation will NOT be noted on your driving record.
Double-check with court staff on finalizing any paperwork or other aspects of the process.
If you're found guilty, you could have to deal with any or all of the following:
- Paying your ticket fine.
- Paying additional court fees.
- The incident remaining on your driving record.
- Points added to your license.
- A license suspension, depending on the severity of the violation.
License points are overseen by the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR). Any further problems or questions at this point should be directed to that state agency.
Your driver record contains vital information! Make sure it accurately reflects the outcome of your traffic ticket fight by ordering a copy of your driving record for review.
Missing Your Court Date
Whatever you do, it is vital to make your court date. If you miss it, you could be looking at the possibility of:
- A warrant issued for your arrest.
- Jail time.
- Potential fines.
- Having your license suspended.
If you don't think you'll be able to make it to your court date, contact the appropriate county court clerk as soon as possible.