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Is Court Appearance Required for a Speeding Ticket?

Speeding ticket

You got caught going twenty miles over the speed limit on your way to work last week. Maybe you were running behind that morning or you simply couldn’t resist the appeal of an open freeway. Either way, you saw those telltale blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror before pulling off to the side of the road. Will you have to go to court because of your need for speed?

Whether you need to appear in court for your speeding ticket depends on the details surrounding your stop. Here is the way most courts will break it down when determining who needs to show up for a court hearing.

Petty Offenses

A petty offense is the less serious of the two options. Most people who receive a petty ticket will only be facing a fine for their crime. Petty offenses include common and small violations such as ignoring stop signs, switching lanes without a turn signal, and minor speeding.

If you look closely at the bottom of your ticket, it usually states that you aren’t required to make a court appearance. When you are pulled over, the police officer might even advise you to go ahead and mail the ticket to the court with payment. You should be aware that this means you are automatically pleading guilty if you mail in the fine payment.

While you aren’t required to go to court, you might be able to receive a more favorable outcome if you do. A court appearance gives you the opportunity to get your ticket dismissed or lowers the fine amount. You may even be able to avoid having points added to your license or an increase in your insurance premiums. This is an optional way to handle a petty offense, but it might be recommended if you don’t want to face the negative consequences of your ticket.

Some petty offenses are still considered quite serious and may require court attendance. Be sure to review the information on your ticket before you decide whether you need to attend.

Criminal Offenses

Court appearances are required for individuals who are charged with criminal offenses such as reckless endangerment, driving under the influence, or driving with a suspended license. Instead of a fine, you could be facing imprisonment unless you are able to resolve the ticket. When your ticket could result in a jail sentence, your offense is referred to as a misdemeanor.

It is highly recommended that you hire an attorney to represent you with criminal offenses like these. The right attorney can greatly increase your odds of minimizing the overall sentence. Keep in mind that hiring an attorney might be expensive but paying an exorbitant fine and serving jail time will also have a rather high cost.

Next time you have a speeding ticket, make sure you hire a qualified appearance attorney to appear on your behalf. Attorneys on Demand provides nationwide coverage that can help you to avoid jail time and minimize the consequences of your next speeding ticket.