Speeding tickets in Arlington, as in all of Virginia, are heard in the general district court of the jurisdiction in which the driver was pulled over. It is not necessary to show up in court for an Arlington speeding ticket hearing. A person who receives a speeding ticket is allowed to plead guilty and to pay the fine online instead. However, it is advisable that people go to court, because by pleading guilty before they ever go to court, they waive all of their options except for pleading guilty and accepting the standard consequences. If a person actually goes to court, then they have the opportunity to contest the ticket itself, which could result in a reduction or a dismissal. They also have the option of negotiating the actual penalties, which is going to be better for them than just blindly accepting the charge. All of these defenses and negotiations are best undertaken with the assistance of an Arlington speeding ticket lawyer.
If someone is going to court for a speeding ticket, when they arrive they should get there early so that they can figure out where they need to be and make sure they are not late to their hearing. If they are late and they call the case before they get there, they will be tried and found guilty in absencia, which is the same thing as not having shown up at all.
There is going to be a list of all the defendants and what courtroom they are in, as well as their charges. The person should find their name on the list and go sit and wait inside the courtroom for their name to be called.
The case will take place in the same courtroom as all of the other people waiting, so anyone else in the courtroom will be able to hear it. For speeding tickets the only people present who are involved in the case will be the driver, the judge, and the police officer that charged the driver. There is no prosecutor assigned to speeding cases.
The first thing the judge will ask is how the individual pleads, whether guilty or not guilty. If they plead guilty, then the judge will ask the officer for a quick summary of what happened and then decide on the sentence. If they plead not guilty, then each side will be allowed to present their evidence in a trial that will take place immediately. After each side has put on their case, the judge will make a decision.
If the person is pleading not guilty, the judge will ask them if they have any evidence they wish to present. The driver is never required to say anything in their defense, even if they are pleading not guilty. The burden of proof is always on the other side, so it is possible for someone to go to court and not say one single thing.
The charged individual can cross-examine the officer, even without a lawyer present. They will be subject to the exact same rules of evidence the lawyer would be, so if they break these rules, then their question will not be allowed.
If someone has a speedometer calibration certificate then they can present this to the judge during their trial. Some judges are strict about making the defendants follow the rules of evidence exactly and if this is the case, then they will have to present the certificate the same way that an attorney would be required to do. However, some judges are more laid back about speeding tickets and will let the driver just hand up the speedometer certificate once the judge asks if they have any evidence they wish to present to the court. To ensure that all of the evidence is taken into consideration by the judge, it is best to work with an attorney.
The officer is required to testify during the hearing because the burden of proof is on the officer to prove that the driver was speeding. If the officer does not have their report and cannot testify as to what happened, then most of the time the case will be dismissed because the officer does not have the requisite proof for conviction.
Someone charged with a speeding ticket in Virginia can plead nolo contendere, usually referred to as the no contest plea. This means that the defendant is admitting that there is enough evidence to find them guilty, but not admitting that they are guilty of the offense.
The defendant or a lawyer can negotiate the penalties in these cases. Many times lawyers will outright ask for exactly what they want, whether that is no jail time, or perhaps no penalties at all. A judge does not have to grant these requests, it will depend on the reasons the attorney gives for such a sentence, but they are always able to ask the judge for exactly what they are looking for.
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