How to Defend a Parking Ticket Violation When Your Attorney Is Not Around to Help
Parking tickets; what a nightmare! If you’ve been driving for a couple of years now, then at one point or another, you’ve been slapped with that proverbial piece of paper lying blissfully on your front windshield; unaware of the impending financial stress it’s going to bring you. Sadly, that piece of paper won’t budge lest you deal with it; and that’s how you typically end up calling your attorney to sort out your impending ticket ‘affair.’
Setting the ground rules
Before moving on, one thing you’ve got to keep in mind is that there are different parking tickets depending on the severity of the violation. First of all, there are some pretty serious offenses, which you’ve got to contact your attorney without a question; like say you ran over a person.
However, other offenses are pretty minor. Like being a tad too over-zealous with the gas pedal and doing 15 over. Or maybe thinking ‘Big Brother’ isn’t watching and making an illegal turn. These are called basic civil infraction tickets. And the truth is, you can actually ‘fight’ the system without having to hire a counsel. This is especially true for Michigan and most States in the USA.
First things first, read your ticket
Most people that are given a parking ticket are frequently in a rush; so it’s normal for them to assume the contents of that dreadful piece of parchment. They just want to get it over and done with. So they’ll pay whatever fine that’s boldly written on the ticket. But come to think of it, you just might be paying for an infraction that could be harsher than what transpired.
That’s why it’s vital that you always read the parking ticket (both sides) to understand it. It will let you know exactly what the charge is and the due process that you’ll have to follow. Furthermore, the tickets usually communicate to you the number of days you have to duly respond. If you fail to respond in time, this could lead to more fines and unwanted penalties. In some extreme cases, a warrant might be issued for your arrest.
Stand Your Ground
Some States will request you to enter a plea when you give your response to the court. Do not, under any circumstances, affirm a guilty plea to whatever infraction you’ve being charged with. This way, the court will then be in the position to grant you a date for your hearing.
Choose Your Hearing
So now that you’re Not Guilty until proven so, most states will have two kinds of hearings available for you; either a formal or an informal one. Normally, you’ll begin with the informal hearing. And if you’re not satisfied with the result, you can always opt for the formal one (this option is usually explained in your ticket; so you see why reading your parking ticket is important?)
Your Big Day in Court
Afterwards, you’ll go to court. And it’s important that you are smartly dressed. Don’t go looking like you just got out of bed and decided to wear the first clothes you could grab your hands on; oh, and flip-flops are a no-go zone! You might as well call it quits altogether because no one’s going to take you seriously.
First impressions are one-time hit and miss, so make it count. Now that you’ve got your dress code game on point, get there early and be the finest gentleman around. Make sure you check in to announce your presence to the court clerk. You’ll then stand in line as you await the prosecutor to receive the file that contains your ticket.
Aim to Get Your Charges Reduced
Now, there’s no magic potion to make the ticket go away, so you can gear your argument towards getting your charges reduced. This will be dependent on quite a number of factors such as; do you have a clean driving record? (This can definitely score you major points), were you nice to the officer? (being rude will come back to bite you) and so on.
Usually, attorneys are hired because they know the courts in and out. It’s easier for them to strike deals with prosecutors to have your charges reduced, though it’s near impossible to make the fine go away! (Because fines are an important source of revenue for the courts)
Maybe your favorite attorney is not around. If so, you can opt to go it solo with the aforementioned tips. You might just get a stroke of luck with the prosecutor handling your case. Perhaps he or she might be feeling a little philanthropic that day, and have your charges reduced. It’s definitely worth a try instead of having a tainted driving record!
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