Proving Your Innocence from Traffic Offenses

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Often times, you may find that your discovery request is ignored. The purpose in cross-examining the officer is to demonstrate that there is reasonable doubt that you are guilty. Your goal may be to have the officer admit that you did not violate every element of the law or that he was not in a position to see your vehicle clearly. Since the he prosecution is the first to question the police officer, this is your opportunity to make note of any discrepancies in his or her testimony.

Last-Minute Motions

Limit yourself to short questions that are phrased to help prove your side of the case. Always remember to be respectful of the officer during questioning. When you contest a traffic violation, the first time you appear in court is called an "arraignment". This is your opportunity to either plead guilty and pay the fine or enter a plea of not guilty and request a date for trial.

It is your Constitutional right to a fair trial and you should take full opportunity of this. Show up to your court early with all of your notes and be prepared to present your case. You have the option to be represented by an attorney or you may present your own case at your hearing.

The judge will ask if you or your attorney and the prosecutor are ready to proceed to trial. The court will also determine if all witnesses are present in the courtroom and ready to give testimony in the case. At this time, you may request that the case against you be dismissed if the officer who issued the citation does not show up.

What Happens in Traffic Court: Trial By Judge

If all the parties are ready to proceed to trial, the prosecutor will present their case against you. The police officer will be sworn in and testify as to the facts as they remember them. The defendant may offer opposing evidence, argue the law, present supporting witnesses and cross-examine the law enforcement officer who issued the citation. Outline the key points that you want to present in defending your case.

Do Not Be Intimidated by the Court

You may point out elements of the case that the prosecutor failed to prove and emphasize any extenuating circumstances in your favor. Most traffic violations are heard before a judge. They rule on the admissibility of evidence and the methods of conducting testimony. They also interpret the law to determine how the trial will proceed. In many cases, the judge will order a pretrial hearing. This is done to listen to allegations and determine whether the evidence presented merits a trial. In criminal cases, the judge may decide that individuals charged with a crime should be held in jail pending trial.

They also set the conditions for bail or if the person should be allowed release on their own recognizance.

A trial is a proceeding in which the prosecutors will try to convince the court that you have committed the traffic violation with which you have been charged. Even though traffic trials are somewhat informal, the court must comply with all of the established trial procedures. There are very specific rules regarding the types of evidence the court may consider and the manner in which the court can receive that evidence. These rules can be complicated, however, some basic parameters are:.

Both the prosecution and the defendant will have the opportunity to present their case to the court. The prosecution presents its case first. Normally, it will call at least one witness, which is usually the officer who issued the citation. After the prosecution has rested its case, the defendant is given the opportunity to present their case.

This may include the defendant testifying on their own behalf in addition to witnesses that will help establish their innocence. Once you or any of your witnesses have completed their testimony, the prosecutor can cross-examine that individual. Jury trials are only available for misdemeanors and felonies and not for a simple traffic infraction. The greatest benefit of reaching a settlement is that you can avoid the time and hassle associated with going to trial.

However, if you can't come to an agreeable settlement, the court will assign you a date to return for a final hearing. Changing your plea to guilty can raise your auto insurance rates!

Before accepting a settlement at your pre-trial conference, make sure you know how traffic convictions influence how much you pay for car insurance. At your final hearing, you'll go to trial before a Colorado judge or jury. You can only request trial before a jury if you're contesting a traffic offense infraction cases are pleaded before judges only.

To appeal a conviction , you have 14 days from the judgment date to submit the following to the Colorado county or municipal court in charge of your case:. For more information on your final hearing and filing an appeal, contact the county or municipal court handling your traffic case. The verdict you receive will determine whether the outcomes of fighting your traffic ticket have a long-lasting positive OR negative influence on your future.

Clerk Calls the Case

If the judge or jury finds you guilty, the seriousness of your charges will determine which of the following penalties you could face:. Federal law requires commercial drivers to notify their employer of ANY traffic violations except parking citations within 30 days of the conviction date.

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For out-of-state non-parking convictions you must notify the CO Division of Motor Vehicles office within 30 days. If a guilty verdict added points to your driving record, you could be in danger of losing your Colorado driver's license. Take the time to enroll in a CO defensive driving course! Successful completion MAY be able to remove points from your record, ensuring your driving privileges are safe. Once you've received a verdict, it's important to check the accuracy of your CO driving record.

However, sometimes you will have to attend traffic court for a hearing regarding your violation. You could find yourself in traffic court in the following situations:. Traffic court varies from place to place, but this is what is typically relevant in each proceeding:.

How to Fight Your Traffic Violation in Court |

There are several arguments that people use to try to get out of tickets. You should avoid using the following, as they will not be viewed as defenses to your ticket under the law:. Instead, a common defense that will hold merit in traffic court is that you did not actually violate a traffic law. Keep in mind that this will still be hard to prove since the burden of proof for the prosecution is low.

If you received a traffic ticket and only have to pay a fee, you will not need to contact an attorney. Many courts will also provide payment plans to pay off the balance of your traffic ticket.