Generally, a traffic ticket doesn’t come with a right to defend yourself via a trial by jury. However, you can defend yourself in front of a judge in traffic court. This is called a bench trial, where you are called to the bench with or without an attorney to present your case. Here’s what you can expect if you fight your ticket in court.
Traffic Court Is More Informal Than Criminal Court
While you won’t be allowed to go to traffic court with shorts or in jeans with holes in them, you certainly don’t have to appear in a suit and tie. Many people are surprised that casual, clean attire is perfectly acceptable. Do avoid t-shirts with slogans or lettering, and skip the hoodie.
You Will Be In the Courtroom With Other People Who Have Traffic Cases
Usually, Atlanta traffic court is a busy place. Dozens of cases are seen each day and yours is only one of them. Your court date and time may be the same as the court date and time as a handful of other people, who will all go into the courtroom with you. You’ll be seated in an area until your name is called to go up to the bench. Some people who have never been to traffic court don’t expect to present their defense with others in the same room, but this may be the case.
You Can Object to the Testimony of the Police Officer Who Pulled You Over
Most often, the state’s prosecuting attorney only has the police report and the testimony of the officer that pulled you over. They generally don’t have additional evidence for low-level traffic infractions. You have the right to object to the officer’s testimony and can present your own evidence to the contrary. This may be in the form of photographs, witness testimony, etc.
Do You Need an Attorney to Go to Traffic Court?
While it’s not necessary to defend yourself against a traffic ticket with the help of a lawyer, doing so can benefit your case substantially. Your attorney can delve into whether or not the officer had probable cause to stop you in the first place or if their equipment was properly calibrated before pulling you over. At The Kimbrel Law Firm, we have extensive experience going to bat for Atlanta residents and keeping their Georgia driving records clean. Call us today for a consultation at 770-349-9219.