A Parents Guide to a Teen's Traffic Ticket
Getting a traffic ticket is never a fun experience for a parent or a teenager. What makes it even more difficult is there is rarely a guide to follow that will help you and your teenager to understand what happens when they get a traffic ticket. There are many reasons why teen drivers may be issued a ticket including but not limited to driving in violation of a restriction on their driver's license, speeding or failure to produce proof of insurance during a routine traffic stop. And, these are the kinds of things that don't get covered in their drivers education programs. As a parent you will most likely be required to appear with your teen driver in court. In the event that court attendance is mandatory the best defense is to be prepared.
Consider What It Means To Go To Court
When you go to court, you decide to arm yourself with laws, codes and case history and take your case to court. You are risking potential points on your teen's driver license as well as heavy fines and even a record that could lead to a suspension. The experience does not have to be negative.
For teen driving the teenaged driver who received a ticket for driving in violation of a restriction on their license they may go to court and present the Judge with the information that shows that there were reasonable circumstances for violating the restriction and successfully have the traffic ticket dismissed. There may be mitigating circumstances that could help your teen's case with the court. For instance, what if the officer did not know that the teen was just leaving the hospital after a family medical emergency? Helping your teen driver with a plausible explanation of their driving behavior may have a positive impact.
If your teen plans to contest the ticket, be thoroughly prepared to contest it with documentation as well. Bring a diagram of where the infraction occurred. You can bring case evidence or even a passenger who witnessed your actions. Remember, the police officer who issued the ticket will most likely be there and the officer will have his documentation validating the purpose for issuing the ticket.
If there were traffic cameras available or the officer filmed the infraction, you can demand the right to review that information. Be smart and get that information before your court date. The last thing you need is to be surprised. If it comes down to deciding between your testimony and a police officer's testimony chances are the judge is going to rule in favor of the police officer.
What if the Police Officer isn't there?
If the officer who issued the ticket is not present there is every chance that the judge will dismiss the ticket if the ticket depends on the officer's testimony. The example above does not require the presence of a police officer.
If your teens driver's license is restricted and you violated the restriction, that is easily verifiable. If you go through the whole court procedure and you are found guilty of the violation. Most states won't let you go to traffic school or defensive driving classes and you will end up paying the fine, getting the points and have a bad mark on your driving record. You can even take defensive driving online -- traffic school, too!
So if you and your teen driver do decide to go to court be prepared and understand that actions have consequences. While it is not ideal for your teenager to ever receive a traffic ticket try to look at this as as a learning experience that takes them beyond book learning in drivers education. Many young drivers who receive small moving violation tickets at a young age and face the Judge in a courtroom are better and more alert drivers for it.