How to Plea Bargain a Traffic Ticket in Traffic Court
Get your charges reduced or eliminated by plea bargaining.
By Damon Dallah
Plea bargaining is the traffic court's version of "let's make a deal". If you know how to use it wisely, you can benefit from it tremendously!
Instead of going to court to challenge your speeding ticket, you can negotiate a deal and avoid the harsh consequences involved with a guilty conviction. Bear in mind however, you will be relinquishing your right to challenge your speeding ticket in court.
But that's the whole purpose of doing it in the first place. Let's see how to go about doing this and some of the different types available to you.
When to plea bargain
There are some things you should consider when deciding whether or not it is a good choice for you:
- How many violations you have against you.
- Your chances of beating all of them in court.
- The penalties involved with being found guilty of these violations.
Now of course, if you have a good defense all planned out then you shouldn't even think about striking a deal. But, if circumstances force you to do so then you should consider some of the different types that are available to you.
Types of plea bargains
- Dismissing A Charge - This type is helpful when you have multiple charges against you. For instance, if you have been charged with reckless driving, speeding, no seatbelt and failure to show proof of insurance, you might be able to have one or more of them dismissed (thrown out).
In this example, more than likely what will happen is the reckless driving and seatbelt charge will be dismissed in return for you pleading guilty to speeding and failure to show proof of insurance.
- Merging - With this deal you can have two violations merged into one single charge. This way instead of having to face two entirely separate charges you will instead face only one.
This most commonly occurs with careless driving and speeding. The prosecutor will merge the careless driving violation with the speeding violation and you will have to plead guilty to speeding only. Usually this only becomes an option when you have two similar offenses.
Also bear in mind that the lesser offense usually merges into the larger offense and not vice versa. NOTE: Careless driving is not the same as reckless driving.
- Reduce - With this type of plea bargaining, you can have a charge reduced in its level of seriousness. Many times you can get the prosecutor to reduce a moving violation down to a non-moving violation.
For instance, a speeding charge might be reduced to a non-moving violation such as a failure to wear your seatbelt. This way, the violation won't show up on your driving record.
How to get a plea bargain
Sometimes you don't have to do much. Often, the prosecutor will approach you before the trial has started and ask you if you would like to strike a deal.
If he doesn't, you may have to initiate the process. Before your trial (on the actual day but before your case is called) approach the prosecutor and let him know you would like to talk about a potential deal.
Just have a good plan of defense laid out just in case he doesn't offer you a good deal or doesn't accept yours.
Some important points to remember:
- Never sound desperate when asking for reduced settlement.
- Always make it seem as if you have a good defense on your hands. When approaching the prosecutor say something like this, "I have planned a good defense for my case, but if a deal is negotiable I may be willing to take it."
- Always plan a good defense just in case the prosecutor won't offer you a good deal or doesn't go for the one that you suggest.
- Remember the judge always has the last word. Even if the prosecutor recommends a reduced charge, the judge may not allow it.
- The prosecutor may want to talk to the officer who pulled you over and get his take on the situation. If you were very rude or impolite to him during the traffic stop he may not agree with you receiving a lesser charge.
- Getting a good deal may have a lot to do with your previous driving history. A terrible driving record will make it harder for you to strike a deal.
- Not all cities offer plea bargaining.
- The best ones involves you receiving no points to your record. This happens with a moving violation being reduced to a non-moving violation.
Don't want a stupid traffic court plea bargain? Then click this link...
Why Plea Bargain When You Can
Beat Your Speeding Ticket Instead?
How to Minimize Your Losses if Your Found Guilty
Obtaining the Officers Notes - Is It a Good idea?
Are We Ticketed for Safety?
Share this page: