Getting pulled over and issued a traffic citation is never an enjoyable experience. If you’re like most people, the last thing you’ll want to do is have to pay a huge fine simply because you made a minor mistake. For this reason, it is imperative that you read through the traffic citation thoroughly as there is a chance that you could have the citation dismissed on a technicality if the issuing officer made any of the following mistakes.
Incomplete Traffic Citation
A traffic citation is supposed to be filled out completely by the issuing officer. However, there are many cases where the officer ends up leaving part of the citation form blank either by accident or because they had to rush off to answer another call.
Although there is no guarantee that the court will actually dismiss your ticket if the citation form wasn’t filled out completely, some people have successfully had their citations thrown out for just such a reason. For instance, if the citation is missing important information such as your full name, the type of infraction or your vehicle information, it might be worth bringing this up in court to see whether you can get the ticket dismissed.
Wrong Traffic Violation Code
When filling out a traffic citation, the officer must include the specific traffic code that relates to the violation you are being charged with.
- Each and every traffic violation has its own specific code, and if the issuing officer lists the wrong code, you might be able to have the citation dismissed.
- If the officer notices their mistake prior to your scheduled court appearance, they will still be able to correct their error. In this case, you will likely receive a corrected version of the citation in the mail.
- There is also a chance that the officer will recognize you and realize their mistake during your court appearance, in which case they can still notify the court and rectify the error.
- However, if the officer does not recognize you and continues to erroneously claim that you committed a different violation, you might stand a decent chance of getting the ticket dismissed.
Incorrect License or Vehicle Information
If your license plate number, driver’s license number or vehicle information is listed incorrectly on the ticket or is not legible, there is at least a small chance that you can have the citation dismissed by the court. This is especially true if the issuing officer lists both the incorrect license plate number and incorrect vehicle information.
- In this case, you might be able to successfully argue that the ticket wasn’t actually meant for you.
- Alternatively, if the citation lists your birth date and driver’s license number incorrectly, you also might not have to pay the fine since there might be a problem matching the citation to your DMV record due to the incorrect information.
Wrong Summons Date
A traffic citation is essentially a summons that requires you to appear in court to answer for your violation.
- If you fail to appear in court at the specified day and time, the judge will usually issue a bench warrant and your license could possibly be suspended automatically.
- In addition, you will also face a steep fine for your failure to appear. However, there are cases where the issuing officer accidentally writes down the wrong summons date.
- Should your citation list the wrong summons date and you fail to appear in court on the right date, you can usually petition to have the judge throw out the fine for failure to appear since you still appeared on the date listed on the citation.
In many cases, a judge or the issuing officer will simply correct the citation if any of the information listed on it is incorrect. However, there is always a chance that the judge will view any mistakes the officer made as reason to dismiss your ticket. For this reason, it might be worth discussing the error with the judge. If you’re lucky, you might just be able to have the ticket dismissed and save yourself from having to pay the fine.