Legal Thursday – Alabama Traffic Citations Advice

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Question:  I got a traffic ticket the other day.  What should I do?

Answer:  First, make sure you mark the date for your court appearance on your calendar so that you do not miss your court appearance.  A failure to appear can lead to the issuance of a warrant for your arrest and additional fines and court costs.  The citation will tell you the date, time and location of your court appearance.  Citations issued by State Troopers and Sheriff’s Deputies are heard in the District Court of the County of issuance.  Citations issued by police officers are heard in the Municipal Court of the city of issuance.  Do not miss your court appearance for any reason!

Almost all courts; including Helena, Pelham, Alabaster, and Hoover, allow first time traffic offenders the option to attend a defensive driving school class. The court upon completion of the class will dismiss the citation.  This means that you will not incur points on your license and your insurance provider will not raise your premiums.  Simply go to your court date and request defensive driving school or follow the Judge’s directions usually given at the beginning of the session.  The class is usually 2-4 hours long depending on the jurisdiction.

If it is not your first offense you can always elect to pay the traffic citation either by mail or in person.  This is an admission of guilt and will result in points added to your license and likely higher insurance premiums.  However, you will save the payment of court costs and the time involved with going to court.  This is your best option if you are going to plead guilty at court.

If it is not your first offense and you want to dispute your citation you may have a trial where you may offer evidence and witness testimony.  You should contact a local attorney familiar with that court to represent you for any court proceeding especially trials.

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