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. 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
Before you go to court you should become familiar with the particular law your teen allegedly broke. Research prior cases that are similar to see what the result was of those court cases. Depending on how the court hearing goes your teen may receive points on their driver's license as well as heavy fines. It's possible that this ticket could remain on your teen's driver record and could lead to a suspension. Having a plan and doing research before court will hopefully help make sure that the experience in not negative.
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.
If your teens driver's license is restricted and you violated the restriction, that is easily verifiable. It does not require a police officer to be present. 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.
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 a learning experience. 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.