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Nothing can ruin a nice holiday road trip to visit the folks like an out-of-state speeding ticket. According to USA Today, "[a]ll 50 states will be stepping up enforcement during the Thanksgiving travel season."
Regardless of when you get one, if you're saddled with an out-of-state speeding ticket, here is a step-by-step guide to fighting them:
1. Check the County Court's Website.
While you pore over the offending piece of flimsy paper looking to see if the out-of-state officer who pulled you over spelled your name right, check the ticket for the county in which you were cited.
Once you've identified which county has jurisdiction over your ticket, then fire up your computer and use your favorite search engine to find the county court's website.
Even the tiniest county courts will usually have some sort of information about how to contact the clerk's office; the more sophisticated ones may have a detailed description of how you can contest your traffic ticket.
2. Contest the Ticket by Affidavit.
Each local court has its own rules, but many will allow you to contest a traffic ticket without appearing in court by sending in a written affidavit. This process typically includes sending in a written summary of your argument against being found guilty of the traffic violation, which is then submitted to the local court.
Your affidavit should be submitted prior to your date to appear in traffic court. This date should be included on your ticket.
3. Don't Let the Deadline Pass.
There are many ways to fight traffic tickets, but these methods may become more difficult or even unavailable if you fail to act before the date specified on your traffic ticket.
Local courts' websites will typically list deadlines for paying or contesting traffic offenses, and there may even be extensions available if you file the proper form with the court before the deadline.
4. Call the Local Prosecutor's Office.
Prosecutors have discretion with regard to any criminal charge, even infractions like traffic tickets. Philadelphia's KYW-TV reports that a call to the local prosecutor's office in the ticketing county may save you from showing up in court. It could also result in a discount in the amount you have to pay.
5. Consult a Traffic Ticket Attorney.
Especially for more serious traffic offenses, consider speaking with an experienced traffic ticket attorney in the area where you were ticketed. The attorney will have a better idea of the local laws and your options in fighting the out-of-state ticket.