As I was sitting in court today I had an opportunity to watch not only the other traffic attorneys, but the unrepresented people (that would be the people who choose to fight a ticket themselves and not hire a lawyer), and I noticed something interesting. Anyone can get ONE traffic ticket dismissed. Here's how.
Anyone can show up to court and get lucky when the police officer who wrote the ticket fails to appear. In almost every case, that ticket will be thrown out. If the State (represented by a police officer) can't proceed, the case is dropped. Sometimes in that instance, the judge will issue a continuance and the matter would be reset, but that's rare.
Let's be honest, when people who don't hire a lawyer decide to fight a ticket themselves, this is pretty much what they are hoping will happen. They find themselves praying that the officer won't appear.
This is why, when people call me and ask how I get cases dismissed, they usually ask, "What do you do, hope the cop doesn't show?" To which I respond, "No, that's what people who don't hire a lawyer do."
Don't get me wrong, if the cop doesn't show and I can get a case dismissed, I'll take it every time (there are no real style points in traffic court). However, this is far from the ONLY way I get cases dismissed, and that's the difference between hiring a traffic lawyer and doing it yourself. And not just any lawyer. Let me explain.
Like most things, the more work you put into something, the better the results. Now, like I said, anyone can get ONE ticket dismissed by dumb luck, and this is how many people get their case dismissed. But, my goal isn't to get ONE CASE dismissed, it's to get ALL the cases I have dismissed, and that is where the work comes in.
When you get a ticket in Florida, the courts set it down for a pre-trial conference, which for most people is a place to resolve the ticket by striking a "deal" with the court. The officers are not subpoenaed to be there, and as a result, no testimony can be taken; but many times, you can resolve a case in exchange for court costs.
The problem with resolving a case at pre-trial is you are shortchanging yourself. The pre-trial is NOT the place to resolve your case (except in extreme circumstances). The pre-trial conference is the place where you get one free bite at the apple. Meaning, it is here you should be making a motion to get the ticket thrown out.
How you ask? Read any of the many blog articles I've posted, and you will see. Most of the reasons relate to the actual ticket.
In case you weren't reading carefully when I wrote it above, I'll repeat it here.
The officers are not present at pre-trial.
As a result, you have an opportunity to speak to the judge without the officer being there. Hello!!! What a gift! But please note, this is not the time to present testimony, just legal arguments.
Too many times, I see individuals (and other traffic attorneys) just setting matters for trial and passing up a golden opportunity to get their ticket dismissed.
If it's not dismissed at pre-trial, you have another bite at the apple. If you maintained your plea of "not guilty," the matter will be set for trial.
Here again, I see too many people (and traffic attorneys) taking the easy way out and giving up when they see the officer. Just because the officer is present doesn't mean the case can't be dismissed.
There are so many things to question the officer about, ranging from the officer's memory about the incident, to reviewing paperwork that the officers must have for trial, that I'm shocked when I see people (and traffic attorneys) giving up and not trying for the dismissal. I can only assume it's out of laziness or ignorance (and sometimes a combination of the two).
Just the other day I had an officer tell me his paperwork was in order and I told him I was sure that it was, but I'd still like to see it. After some huffing and puffing, he pulled out his log and I noticed a typo that invalidated the ticket. He was shocked, but ultimately agreed the ticket had to be thrown out.
Now, am I a genius? No, but one thing I'm not is lazy, and when I'm hired by a client to do a job, I do it to the best of my ability. Does that mean I win every case? Of course not, and anyone who tells you he does isn't being honest. But unlike most people (and some traffic attorneys), I don't sit and hope the officer doesn't appear. Almost all of them are nice and friendly.... even when they don't have the right paperwork.
If you want a free consultation, I'm happy to do it (told you I wasn't lazy). Just give me a call at 866-374-8355 or send me an email.