Common mistakes on traffic tickets

Thomas Jeter • August 11, 2017

Common mistakes on traffic tickets

Many people South Carolina gripe and grumble when they receive traffic tickets, but they do not really take the time to look over them until they are ready to pay them. Not taking the time to read over traffic citations immediately after receiving them can result in you paying fines and accepting responsibility for the wrong offenses. It can also lead to the accrual of points on your driving record and higher auto insurance premiums.

Police officers are human. They make mistakes too. Fortunately, you may be able to use their mistakes to avoid the penalties that are commonly associated with your citation. Here is a brief overview on common traffic ticket mistakes that officers make.

Wrong driver’s license number

When you have a traffic ticket that has a driver’s license number on it that is different from your own, you should let the courts know. The same goes for if your personal and vehicle information are not recorded correctly. Driver’s license numbers are like fingerprints; they are unique. All it takes is for one wrong number or letter for you to raise the suspicion that the ticket may not belong to you, even if all other information on the citation is correct and may be enough to invalidate a traffic ticket at times.

Missing information

It is possible for officers to issue incomplete traffic tickets. When they a traffic enforcer fails to complete all pertinent sections of a citation before issuing it, the judge may toss it out. Traffic tickets should include the driver’s name, license number, court date, time and the right infraction code and description. The most important parts of a traffic ticket are explained in our guide to reading a SC traffic citation.

Bear in mind that not all traffic ticket mistakes result in dismissal. For example, if the officer wrote things down on the wrong lines on your ticket, as long as the information is there, the ticket may still be valid. If the officer misspelled your name, but everything else on your ticket is correct, the ticket is still valid.  However, there may be exceptions depending on the circumstances surrounding the issuance of and information listed on the ticket.  A ticket with multiple mistakes has a better chance of getting dismissed than one minor error. Just as an officer can make mistakes when writing traffic tickets, you can make errors when trying to resolve them. Do not assume the courts will automatically dismiss your citations. You should bring evidence that supports your claim, such as copies of your driver’s license, insurance, vehicle registration, official documentation from the DMV and photos of your car.