Common Myths About Traffic Tickets
Most people who get behind the wheel in South Carolina have some understanding of how the legal system works in regards to a traffic citation. Essentially, a member of law enforcement may pull you over if he or she suspects you have broken the law, a ticket is written and you can either pay the fine or dispute the ticket in court. However, there are some common myths regarding the system that every driver should know.
Myth: Law enforcement members have ticket quotas.
While it may occur elsewhere, there are specific laws on the South Carolina books that ban the practice. Not only are law enforcement prohibited from enacting quotas, but laws go on to say that salaries may not be based on arrests and citations.
Myth: Errors on the traffic ticket can invalidate the citation.
There are several ways that people believe an officer can make a mistake on a ticket:
- Misspelling a name
- Incorrect address or other data
- Forgetting to make the driver sign the ticket
More often than not, these minor clerical errors will not mean the ticket is dismissed. Essentially, most judges will now allow for a “typo” defense.
Myth: Claiming the radar detector was inaccurate can get you off the hook.
Devices can fail, there is no doubt about that. Law enforcement are supposed to re-calibrate tools such as radar detectors and breath test analyzers to ensure accuracy. However, claiming that a radar detector did not match the speed on your speedometer likely will not be enough. In most cases, a judge will request proof that a traffic law attorney can help you collect.
Myth: Keeping up with the flow of traffic is a valid excuse for speeding.
If you are pulled over and claim that you were speeding to keep up with the flow of traffic, all you have done is admit that you were speeding. An admission of guilt is typically not a good idea, especially if you plan on contesting the ticket.
Myth: Fighting a ticket is not worth it.
In many cases, drivers can save money by disputing a traffic citation. Aside from the obvious fines, a ticket can have a big impact on insurance rates, as well as avoiding mandatory license suspensions. A driver may consider pleading to a lesser charge or presenting evidence to have charges dismissed. Often our attorneys are able to get the speed on a ticket changed to a non-moving or non-reportable offense, which will not accumulate insurance or driver’s license points.
Knowing the law can help you to be on the right side of it when you are on the road. If you are issued a ticket, you do have options to try to get the charges reduced or dismissed. At Nosal & Jeter, LLP we have extensive experience helping our clients preserve their driving record and financial future by helping them through the legal process.
Source: DMV.org, “Traffic Ticket Myths,” Jen Lamboy, March 16, 2012