Understanding Traffic Laws in Syracuse

Traffic tickets are often a mere nuisance, one that many people think presents an inevitable and unavoidable fine they must pay and move on from. However, for others, a traffic ticket may result in a loss of license or steep insurance rate hikes.

Contesting a Ticket in Syracuse

Most traffic tickets, such as those for minor moving violations like speeding, failing to yield, or running a red light, allow the person who receives it to contest the findings in court. However, more serious violations such as reckless driving are criminal charges that require the driver to appear in court.

If you wish to contest the findings of a police officer who gave you a ticket, you must follow the instructions provided on your ticket. These exact procedures may vary depending on the department that issues the ticket. In general, though, you must indicate on the ticket itself that you wish to appeal the officer’s findings.

Following this, you must mail the ticket to the local courthouse within 30 days of the date of issue. If this deadline passes, you will forfeit the right to appeal. The courthouse will then mail back a notice with a date and time for your hearing.

What to Expect at a Traffic Hearing

Hearings concerning traffic tickets are typically short trials with no jury. Unlike a criminal trial, there is no jury or right to an attorney. Instead, the rules of evidence are relaxed, and the case is heard by a judge who makes an independent ruling. In no instance involving a traffic violation will the public defender’s office represent a driver.

The police officer who issued the ticket will be called to testify as to what they saw that day and why they believe that the driver violated the law. As the ticketed driver, you can then cross-examine this witness and tell your side of the story before the judge. Once this process concludes, the judge will make their decision.

Many times, the officer who issues the ticket does not appear at the hearing. When this happens, the judge may simply dismiss the ticket and leave you free to go as if the incident never happened. Even if the judge finds that you are responsible for the ticket, they may order you to pay a reduced fine.

Get a Syracuse Traffic Attorney In Your Corner

Any person in Syracuse who wishes to contest a traffic ticket, regardless of their motivation, has the absolute right to do so. If you would like to challenge a traffic violation, a seasoned Syracuse traffic lawyer could help you file and argue your case.

In traffic court, it is often vital to know the right questions to ask the police officer and how to present a short but detailed accounting of your side of the story in court. For help with this and many more aspects of your potential case, get in touch with the attorneys at Tully Rinckey PLLC by calling (315) 492-4700 or emailing info@tullylegal.com.

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