10.0Scott Weymouth Lawrence
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Should I contest my ticket by mail?

The first question that needs to be answered before "how do you contest a ticket by mail?" is "should you contest a ticket by mail?" A lot of courts offer mail in contested hearings as an alternative to appearing in person. However, in my experience, contesting by mail is essentially the same thing as mitigation. (Mitigation is where you admit to having committed the infraction and ask the court to lower the fine. The only thing this saves you is a few bucks in initial costs. Speeding tickets and other moving violations still get reported to DOL and your insurance company.)

here are a number of reasons why contesting by mail does not generally work. The main reason is that you cannot make legal motions to suppress evidence by mail. Ticket cases are almost always won by using the rules of evidence, court rules and the rules of infractions to keep evidence from being presented to the court. No evidence means no case. Even if you think you have a factual defense, the best way to guarantee a dismissal is to keep the facts out in the first place. Facts are always open to argument and interpretation and can still go against you even if you should win.

The exception to the above, and the only time you should consider contesting by mail is if you have a guaranteed defense on the facts themselves. You should be very cautious here. What many people think are winning factual defenses are not. You may want be they are going to get their ticket dismissed. Most of them end up walking away, shaking their heads and wondering how they just lost their case.

Finally, even if you have a winning case on the facts, showing up in person or through an attorney is the best way to assure you don't lose on a technicality. You don't want to end up paying the courts and insurance because you decided not to appear and not available for additional argument to the court if needed.

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