What to expect when requesting a traffic court date

It's not as scary as it may seem

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Once you have decided you want a court date and requested one through the clerk of the courts office, it is now up to you to make sure you show up on time. You and the law enforcement officer involved in the traffic ticket you’re contesting will receive the date by mail. 

On your court date, things can appear to be intimidating. There will be several other people going through your exact same situation and for every one of them there is a law enforcement officer.

Visually, it can be a little overwhelming walking into the courtroom and seeing 20 cops. Just know they would rather be patrolling the road then stuck in court.

Your name will be called and you and the officer will both approach the judge. He or she will ask you a few questions and determine if you want to go along with a full hearing or find out if you’re more concerned about the points on your license. 

The judge will go over the specifics of each possibility and rules with you. A few things to understand during traffic court: silence your phone, be prepared with all your documents and any evidence you may have brought, listen carefully for your name and when speaking with the judge, never lose your cool.

If at the end of the day you’re still found guilty for your traffic ticket, the judge can increase your fine and include court cost. Some people never read the fine print on their ticket and tend to get a little upset about this. 

A lot of people ask, what if the cop doesn’t show up? Well then, luck happens to be on your side that day.

When receiving a traffic ticket for a violation and the witnessing officer doesn’t show up, the state has failed to show the burden of proof and cases are usually thrown out.

Be careful when thinking this is how you will win a case. A lot of agencies have started to write policies requiring officers to show for court whether it's on their off day or not. 

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