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Loudoun County Speeding Ticket Court Hearings

Knowing whether or not you need to show up in court for a speeding ticket can be confusing, especially if you are not sure whether you are facing a simple traffic infraction, or the more serious charge of reckless driving. For speeding tickets, you’re not required to show up in court. They’re traffic infractions, which can be pled guilty to online. You can prepay the fine for the conviction without ever stepping inside the courtroom.

If you would rather go to court to either plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty and would instead like to contest the ticket, contacting and consulting an experienced Loudoun County speeding ticket attorney is an excellent step to take. They will provide you with the proper legal counsel regarding your charge, and can help either negotiate a lower sentence, or potentially even have the charges dismissed entirely.

Process of a Speeding Ticket Hearing

Speeding tickets are heard in the general district court of whatever jurisdiction you are pulled over in. In the morning, when you get to court for your speeding ticket, you should look up which specific courtroom your case is going to be heard in. Most courtrooms and courthouses have big televisions screen that have the names of all the people being accused, the charge, and what courtroom they’re in as well as the time of the hearing.

It is always a good idea to arrive a little bit early so that they have enough time to find the courtroom and sit down. You should wait for your case to be called inside the specific courtroom. You’ll be in a room with a whole bunch of people with similar charges and there’s not always an alphabetical order of doing things. Cases are usually called by what they’re going to be pleading, if they’re having a trial or making a motion, and whether they have a Loudoun County speeding ticket lawyer or not. It could be awhile depending on your personal situation.

Are these Cases Private or Public?

Your case will take place in the same courtroom that you’re waiting in with all of the rest of the people with similar cases, so the same people with cases scheduled at the same time or after yours will be in there when your case is called up. You will go up to the judge’s bench, which does provide a small amount of privacy, depending on the courtroom, and depending on how loudly the parties in your case speak. Beside yourself, the people involved will be the judge who makes the final decision, the officer who pulled you over, and a speeding ticket lawyer in Loudoun if you hired one. If you’re being charged with just a speeding ticket or any other traffic infraction, there is no prosecutor assigned to the case.

Questions a Judge Will Ask

The judge will first ask how you plan to plead to the charge—whether guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Once this question is answered, then this determines how the rest of the questions will go from the judge. You have the option to answer most other questions that follow. The police officer will give his testimony at this point and you have the option of cross-examining him, but you are not required to do so.

Then, you have the opportunity to put on your own evidence, which you also are not required to do if you don’t want to. The burden of proof is on the Loudoun County prosecution’s side, so the police officer in that case would have to prove that you’re guilty of whatever the police officer is alleging that you did. You don’t have the burden of proof, so you don’t have to answer anything or say anything if you don’t want to. After all of the evidence is put on, then the judge will make his decision.

The only question you absolutely have to answer is, “How do you plead?” After that, you have the option to remain silent for the rest of the case.

Cross-Examining the Officer

You can cross-examine the officer without a lawyer present. The problem with this is that you still have to follow the same rules of evidence that a lawyer has to follow. And since you probably didn’t pass the bar exam, this can be tricky. If you violate the rules of evidence, then you are not allowed to ask your question and you won’t be able to get in whatever evidence it was that you were trying to get in.

It’s always better to have a speeding ticket attorney from Loudoun if you plan on questioning the officer at all just because you don’t want to ask something that will make you look bad accidentally and you also don’t want to waste a bunch of time with questions or evidence that aren’t helping your case.

Proving Your Speedometer Wasn’t Calibrated

A lot of times drivers get their speedometer calibrated in an attempt to prove that their speedometer wasn’t working properly, so that the speed they were going was not the speed they believed they were going. This can be a make-or-break piece of evidence for some cases, so it is really important to get this admitted into evidence by the judge so that he will consider it in your case.

To do this, you have to follow the rules of evidence. Some judges are really strict about this and will require the a person to follow the rules of evidence exactly. If an individual doesn’t, then they don’t accept it as a piece of evidence, and won’t consider it in your case. Other judges are more laid back and will allow you to hand the judge the certificate and they’ll accept it. The best way to make sure that your evidence is admitted is to have an Loudoun speeding ticket attorney help you.

Officer Testimony

Because the burden of proof to show whether a person is guilty is on the officer, they’re required to testify. If they don’t testify, then there’s no proof and there’s no case, so your charges will be dismissed.

If they don’t have the report or they don’t remember what happened, the same thing happens as if they hadn’t testified at all. If they can’t prove it, then it’s going to be very difficult to get a conviction.

If the officer isn’t there, then the case is dismissed unless the officer’s absence has been excused prior to the hearing. If the officer’s absence is excused, then the case is usually continued to a later date by the judge.

Pleading Nolo Contendere

In Loudoun, nolo contendere is often referred to as “no contest” pleas. This means that, while you’re not admitting guilt to the charge, you’re not disputing that there is enough evidence to find you guilty of the charge either and you accept the punishment that comes with the guilty conviction. There is not any benefit to doing this in speeding cases, except that sometimes people will feel better doing it. It’s something that has more of an effect in accident cases because it prevents someone who is suing you in an accident situation from using your conviction in the criminal court case against you.

Penalty Negotiation

Once the judge has made his final decision, it is not negotiable unless there is a misunderstanding or an extra thing that you need to bring to the judge’s attention that he missed. A lawyer is much better at doing this. Generally if defendants do it, it tends to irritate the judge.

Before the judge has made his final rule, then you have the opportunity to present all the evidence in favor of your side so that the judge can use this to make a decision. You can always ask the judge for a specific sentence as well. For example, if it’s really important for you to not have any jail time, you can give the judge a reason why he should not issue you jail time and request that he take this into consideration when issuing a sentence. Whether the judge complies is a whole other story.

Importance of an Aggressive Loudoun County Speeding Ticket Attorney

It’s important to have an aggressive Loudoun speeding ticket lawyer because you want someone who’s really going to be on your side and do everything possible to get your charge dismissed. Speeding tickets are not very serious offenses and sometimes people don’t bother getting a lawyer because they feel it’s not worth it. It’s important to get a good lawyer to make sure that it is worth it. Speeding ticket convictions result in demerit points, and an accumulation of too many points can lead to a suspended license. This can make a charge that doesn’t seem very serious to become incredibly inconvenient.

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