Fighting a Traffic Citation

Updated on October 16, 2011
S.M. asks from Zanesville, OH
12 answers

Last week I was involved in hit & run accident with a semi truck. The cops never found the semi so they cited me. Any advice on how I can fight this? I can't seem to find anything helpful online. My husband said I should take pictures of the road where it happened to show the judge. Also, it is discouraged to take children to your court date? I can leave my older child with someone but I am still nursing my baby, and if I'm going to be waiting around most of the day she'll need to be with me. Have you ever gotten a judge to lower your fine or dismiss a citation? I'd love to hear about any experiences other moms have had in court! Thanks everyone.

Edit: Some more details about the accident: I pulled up to a stop sign where the semi & another car were stopped on the left side. Then the semi turned right & hit the driver's side of my car & dragged us several yards. I didn't hit any other cars or cause any damage. The semi driver & the other car (only witness) both left the scene, and I was cited for "passing on the right." This is my first citation, I have a great driving record.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the tips everyone. I had to go to 2 courts dates because they had to get a prosecutor to review the case. The cop did show up for court, so I was glad I wasn't relying on him not showing! The cop and the judge were very kind, it wasn't too horrible of an experience. The judge even teased me about why I didn't bring my 3 year old as a witness! I was found not guilty, what a huge relief. Still have to pay for car repairs ourselves since they never found the semi, but I didn't have to pay court costs or higher insurance. Thanks again ladies!

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answers from El Paso on

The impression I've been given from others (no personal experience, so don't rely on this 100%!) is that 95% of the time that you go to fight a citation, the cop won't show. I've been TOLD that if the cop doesn't show, it's an automatic win for you. GRANTED, the people who have told me this were fighting speeding tickets, and this was in Oklahoma, so the rules could be different. Hope you can fight it & win!!

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answers from Portland on

What did they cite you for? Did you hit another vehicle or do property damage? Perhaps it's for failure to yield, failure to stop at a traffic control device? If you want to fight the citation you need to focus on the cause for the citation and show that you didn't commit the violation.

We need more info in order to answer this question.

It would be best if you did not take the baby or if you took a friend with you who could watch the baby when you're actually in front of the judge.

BTW I'm a retired police officer.

I have seen the judge both lower a fine and dismiss a citation. Perhaps I can help you know how to word your situation to the judge if I knew more details.

After your edit: Yep, this is illegal. The Sheriff's secretary had this happen to her and she was cited. I have difficulty understanding it, too.
You were probably in the parking strip or on the side of the road not intended for traffic use. (tho it may actually be used)

The fact that the driver of the van left the scene is a different issue. When found he'll be cited for hit and run but his turn was legal.

I suggest that you go to your local police precinct and ask the desk officer or a traffic officer explain this to you so that you can speak with knowledge in court. I suggest that it's possible that if you're able to show the judge you now understand that he will reduce the fine or perhaps even dismiss it. Just depends on the judge and the court philosophy.

In our county, a deputy district attorney is not assigned to traffic court. Otherwise Ina's suggestion would be a good idea. I suggest that she was able to testify because the case had gone beyond traffic court.

I suggest that you plead ignorance in court. If you were planning to turn right, you could argue that you were closest to the curb in preparation for a right turn.

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answers from Honolulu on

Take the babysitter with you. Have the babysitter watching your kids in a nearby park or in e hallway if need be but do not bring the baby in! I know judges that rfuse to even see cases if children a present! Don't risk it!

As for the fine. No idea. The information is lacking and since I don't know the curcumstances it is immpossable to say.

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Medford on

In our county in Ca, no one is allowed in the court room unless they are involved in the case being heard. No spouses, no parents, no friends, no children. Unless your older child was a witness to the accident, they wouldnt be allowed so certainly the baby wont be. When my daughter was a fairly new nursing M. she had a counrt date, so I went along and stayed with the baby in the car parked close to the main entrance of the court house. When they took a break or had the lunch break she came out and fed the baby and then ran back in. It was the only way she was able to do it since she was unable to pump much milk and she was really not willing to leave the baby with anyone else at that point. The bigger issue we saw was the dress code for court. Dont wear sandles, flip flops or open toed shoes. Dont wear shorts or a short skirt. No tank tops or sleeveless tops, no bare midriff tops were allowed. Go dressed respectably and prepared to prove you didnt cause any accident. If it was hit and run and you didnt do the running, then I cant imagine what they cited you for. Unless you didnt own the vehicle or maybe you also hit public property you shouldnt have been cited. Your insurance may not cover repairs if you cant find the other driver and prove they caused the accident, but I just dont understand what your citation was for. Could you let us know what law they say you broke by being the victim of the accident?

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answers from Richmond on

What were you cited for?? Who was at fault??

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answers from Redding on

Your post is confusing.
You were involved in a hit and run. If you were the one hit and the truck ran, what were you cited for?
You don't really give enough information.

As for taking your baby? Terrible idea. If anything, take someone to the courthouse with you that can give the baby a bottle and/or take her outside the building if she starts crying. You absolutely don't want to take her into the courtroom. It's too distracting for you, the other people who are having their cases heard, and especially the judge.

I can't really say if you can or should fight your citation without more information.
I'm glad no one was hurt.

Best wishes.

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answers from Seattle on

Absolutely. Depending on what the citation is for you may want to consult an attorney as well.

I was in a car accident a few years back. I was not cited, but one of the other drivers was (for inattentive driving), she had hit the car that had hit me. She fought it and I was called as a witness.

The citation against her was dismissed before we even went before a judge, we both explained what we believed had happened (it was rainy, bad road, bad visibility and a sudden slow down in front of us - it was a true accident) to the state attorney and he dropped the whatever the citation was right then and there. While I was waiting in the courtroom there were loads of people before the judge and many of them had their citations dropped. Many brought pictures, some had other documents.

If you think the citation was given in error, you should fight it.

Get a sitter for your children and pump breastmilk for your baby. It would NOT be in your favor to have a screaming infant in your arms while it's your turn... not fair to the other people who are getting their case heard either (disruptive and may cause delays).

Good luck.

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answers from San Luis Obispo on

Well it almost seems obvious that you were not at fault or at least it seemed obvious to the guy who ran... that could be a big point of interest. As for the child care question, don't they give you a date and time? I wouldn't take my baby without someone to help me hold her while you are talking to the judge. You don't want a judge who will be annoyed when they can't hear you over the crying and there is no guarantee that your baby will not decide to get fussy at the wrong moment no matter how good she is. Sitting around waiting for an appointment all day might make her a little fussy.... just saying...
My son has fought almost all his tickets and won. You just have to have all the facts and leave the emotion out of it and keep it as short as possible. Judge's like hard copies so make copies for them of all your proof of evidence. My son should have been a lawyer~ he is amazing of what he has fought and won.

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answers from Austin on

Were you hit from behind?
On the side?

If you were get photos and any marks on the road.

Take it to the judge and let them decide what they think. Cannot hurt to at least try..

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answers from Provo on

I just got through going to traffic school and the officers said that the best thing to do if you have and doubt is to go to court. I think that since it was the result of an accident then I would get an attorney. Check around and get some ideas from the people and see who is a good lawyer.

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answers from Tulsa on

If the cop doesn't show up, wouldn't it be dismissed?

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