There’s a lot of information related to traffic tickets, such as how to get them dismissed, strategies for challenging them, and how to get off with a warning. But some of the things you may have heard about traffic tickets just aren’t true. These myths are some of the more common misconceptions about traffic tickets that many people believe, but they shouldn’t.
- Your ticket will be dropped if the officer doesn’t show up: While this is true in some states, it’s not always something you can depend on. Some states don’t require an officer to appear for traffic ticket hearings. In these states, the case will be tried with or without the officer. Also, keep in mind that showing up in court is part of an officer’s job and they may earn overtime pay for making an appearance. You should expect that the officer will show up if you contest your ticket.
- Radars are frequently inaccurate and you can use this inaccuracy to get out of a ticket: You may have heard it is possible to cite radar inaccuracy as a reason for dismissing your traffic ticket, but most judges won’t accept this claim without serious evidence. You’ll have to provide proof that the officer’s equipment hasn’t been recalibrated recently.
- You won’t get pulled over if you’re going with the flow of traffic: Speeding is speeding and it doesn’t matter if everyone else is doing it. While it’s generally safe to go with the flow of traffic, you should not do so if that requires you to speed. And you can still get a ticket if you’re speeding, no matter how fast the people next to you are going.
- The ticket isn’t valid if there are mistakes on it: Simple errors like an incorrect date or misspelled street name will not invalidate your ticket. These mistakes do not make a difference in whether or not you actually violated the law and can’t be used as a defense.
- The ticket isn’t valid if you don’t sign it: Your signature on a traffic ticket is only a promise to appear in court. It is not an admission of guilt. A traffic citation is still valid with or without your signature and you’ll still be responsible for it.
- You don’t have to take care of out of state traffic tickets: If you receive a traffic ticket out of state, you’re still expected to take care of it. Ignore it and you may rack up additional fines and even a warrant for arrest. Plus, many states participated in the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, which will forward your reported traffic violations to your home state.
- Officers issue more citations at the end of the month to meet quotas: Many police departments don’t set quotas, and even those that do typically set them very low, so it’s not likely that officers are out hunting for violations specifically to issue as many tickets as possible. They’re simply observing violations and writing tickets for them, the same thing they’re doing any other day of the month.