Fight Traffic Ticket in Utah
If you believe you undeservedly received a traffic ticket in Utah AND have the means to prove it, continue reading to find out how you can contest that citation in court.
Plead Not Guilty to Your UT Ticket
The first step to fighting your Utah traffic ticket is pleading “not guilty" to the charges. To do so, you'll have to appear in person at the specific justice court in charge of your case.
Enter your “not guilty" plea ON OR BEFORE the arraignment date printed on your ticket.
Detailed information on how and where to plead not guilty can be found on your citation. If you lost your ticket, take a look at our guide on what to do about a misplaced UT traffic citation.
After entering your plea, the UT justice court will assign you a date to return for your pre-trial conference OR trial. Take note of this date! If you miss ANY court appearances, you could face consequences like:
- Loss of driving privileges.
- Warrant issued for your arrest.
- Automatic guilty verdict.
If you need to reschedule a court date OR still have questions about entering a plea of not guilty, contact the Utah justice court handling your traffic case.
What a Not Guilty Plea Means
When you plead “not guilty" to your traffic ticket, you're exercising your legal right to stand before a Utah judge or jury and make an argument for your innocence. You're also implying that you:
- Have the time to appear in court, potentially on multiple occasions.
- Understand you could face a jail sentence if convicted of a serious crime, like DUI or DWI.
- Know points could be added to your UT driving record.
If you're still undecided about pleading not guilty, refer to our guide on when to fight a traffic ticket for more advice.
Fight Your UT Citation in Court
Typically, the process for contesting your Utah traffic citation in court will consist of the following:
- Pre-trial conference.
- Trial before a judge OR jury.
- You'll only go to trial before a jury if your traffic violations could result in jail time.
If you're facing multiple and/or serious charges, consider hiring a traffic ticket lawyer. Remember, if you choose to represent yourself, you'll need to be able to follow all procedures of Utah traffic court to a tee.
Some UT justice courts will appoint you legal counsel if:
- A conviction could result in jail time.
- You can prove a lack of means to afford a lawyer on your own.
If you want to learn more about the traffic offenses that might call for hiring an attorney, take a look at our page, When to Hire a Traffic Ticket Lawyer.
DID YOU KNOW: Pleading guilty to your traffic charges can raise your auto insurance rates?
Before accepting a plea bargain, make sure to read up on how traffic violations can affect how much you pay for car insurance.
Trial Before a Judge or Jury
When you go to trial before a Utah judge or jury, the process will usually follow these steps:
- The Utah state prosecution and yourself (or your attorney) give opening arguments.
- Each side has the chance to present:
- Opportunity for rebuttals and cross-examinations of witnesses.
- Both sides make closing arguments.
- Judge or jury give their verdict.
- If you're found guilty, the judge will proceed to administer your sentence and penalties.
If you'd like to try to appeal a conviction, file a Notice of Appeal from Justice Court (Rev. 2016) with the UT justice court handling your case. You must file the appeal within 28 days of receiving a guilty verdict.
Consequences of Fighting Your UT Ticket
The judge or jury's verdict will determine whether the consequences of fighting your traffic ticket have a long-lasting positive OR negative effect on your future.
If you're convicted of the traffic charges, the penalties you face could include any of the following:
NOTE: If you have a Utah commercial driver's license (CDL) you must inform your employer of any traffic violations, except parking violations, within 30 days of receiving a conviction.
Does that guilty verdict have you worried about extra points on your driving record? Are you in danger of losing your driving privileges?
If so, consider enrolling in Utah traffic school, which can remove points from your driving record and keep your insurance rates manageable.
Not Guilty Verdict
If the court finds you not guilty of the traffic violations, you can look forward to:
- No additional points on your driving record.
- No fines or penalties to deal with.
- All charges being dropped.
- Auto insurance rates remaining the same.
Following the conclusion of your traffic ticket case, be sure to check on the accuracy of your Utah driving record. Any mistakes on your record could lead to excessive penalties, fines, and stress down the road for you.
- Rev. 2016