If you have been charged with a speeding ticket in Prince William County, it is highly recommended for you to seek the advice of a Prince William County speeding ticket lawyer. Having an experienced attorney in Prince William County to help you build an adequate defense for the most desirable outcome in your case is essential to minimizing the impact of this charge on your daily life.
When you arrive in the courtroom you have to wait for your case to be called inside of the courtroom where the case is going to be heard. Different jurisdictions have different rules, but most of the time you will have to wait until your name is called. If you have a Prince William County speeding ticket attorney, some jurisdictions require the attorney to sign in and tell the clerk that they are ready to proceed. Other jurisdictions just make everyone wait and it feels a little bit more random. Your case is heard in front of all of the other people in the same courtroom as you, generally with cases similar to yours. All the traffic cases are put together, so you will be there with everyone else charged with speeding as well as other traffic infractions, and sometimes even bigger cases like DUIs and driving on a suspended license.
For just a simple speeding ticket, you do not have to show up in court, because it is just a traffic infraction, which cannot result in jail time. This means that it is possible to prepay a fine online, through the mail, or in person before your court date or even within 30 days after your court date, with no consequences except for a conviction. If you do go to court, speeding tickets will be heard in the General District Court. Some jurisdictions have a special courtroom designated for traffic, and other times they just throw them in with the criminal cases.
The officer is very likely going to testify at your speeding ticket hearing. The officer is the one who has to prove that you are guilty of the infraction. You do not have to prove that you are not guilty or say anything or do anything at all. The burden of proof is entirely on the other side.
If the officer does not have his report or does not remember what happened, then your attorney can ask for the case to be dismissed due to the officer being unable to prove your guilt. If the officer is not present, the majority of the time his absence will be excused as long as the officer has previously informed the court and has a valid excuse such as training or a sick day. If this is the case, then the judge will continue the case to another day so the officer can appear.
However, if the officer’s absence is unexcused, then sometimes the judge will agree to dismiss the case due to this. This is not something that happens as often as defendants hope, so it is not something people should count on happening.
You are allowed to cross examine the officer the same way that an experienced Prince William County speeding ticket lawyer would. However, you are subject to the exact same rules as a lawyer would be, and if there are any questions that you want to ask that violate these rules, the judge will not allow you to ask them. It can be a little more difficult for a non-attorney to cross examine a police officer adequately without knowing what they are or are not allowed to say.
The consequences of a conviction are not really that great. You are essentially admitting guilt to the crime without giving yourself the opportunity to contest it. This means that you throw away any chances of having the ticket reduced or dismissed, you accept that your insurance rates are probably going to go up, and you accept points on your license.
This is different from reckless driving. With reckless driving, the court forces you to keep your opportunity open to fight tickets. You have to go to court for a reckless driving ticket and you have to answer to the charges. While you are there in person you can either plead guilty or not guilty, but the requirement for being there does not change.
You can bring in a certificate of calibration on your speedometer which you obtained outside of court. Some judges are a little stricter about the rules of evidence than others, but many judges will allow you to just hand them the certificate when it is your turn to present your evidence. A Prince William County speeding ticket attorney can ensure that you follow the procedures properly so that all of your evidence is admitted correctly and then has a chance to be considered by the court.
Your attorney can also help you determine whether a calibration of your speedometer is going to be helpful in your case or if you are better off not bothering.
You can negotiate with a judge, but generally a lawyer is going to do a better job. This is because lawyers are aware of what possible lesser sentences exist for each particular offense you may be charged with, and what a lenient or a harsh penalty looks like. I have seen unrepresented people argue with the judge about the penalty when the result they were given was actually really good given the circumstances, and then they end up angering the judge. The best thing to do, if you plan on trying to argue your sentence or your charges, is to hire a lawyer to do it for you.
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