As a lawyer, one of the most common questions we get, is how to convince a judge to see the facts our way. Everyone wants to know the answer to that question, including the lawyers! Although there is no magical formula, I wanted to take the time to list the most common items we see suggested and address each one.
A couple of housekeeping items before we get into the suggestions on content to the judge.
- Dress neat and clean. You do not have to wear a suit but you should dress to show the Court respect and the Judge represents the Court. That means clean clothes that do not display offensive words. Clothes should also fit. Although the style outside the courtroom may be ripped jeans, saggy pants and tee shirts with no sleeves, it’s better to dress up for the courtroom.
- Do not chew gum when you are speaking with the Court. It’s distracting.
- When waiting for your case to be called, sit quietly and politely.
- Be sure your cell phone is on SILENT before you enter the courtroom.
- A few more suggestions can be found here.
When you have any business before the person who will ultimately decide the fate of your situation for a traffic violation, be honest. If the judge asks, sir this states you were clocked driving 78 in a 45. Is that correct? Don’t lie. Judges have heard it all. If you were driving that fast, own up to it.
In our system of law, you either plead guilty or not guilty. If you have mitigating situations, you will plead not guilty and then lay those out when you have your day in court. If you plead guilty, it’s a done deal so make sure you understand what you have done and the sentencing guidelines, fines and fees as well as potential for license suspension.
No good will come from losing your cool in court.
When given an opportunity to provide the details of what led to your traffic citation, explain things which may have been a factor. If you were cited for driving too slowly, (yes, it’s a thing), think of why you were going slow. Was weather a factor? If speeding, use things to your advantage to mitigate. Was it only 5 mph over the speed limit? Do you have a spotless record otherwise? Remember again, judges have heard it all so making up a fantastic story will NOT help you here.
When to Hire an Attorney
As you can see from this article, it’s not cut and dry. Judges are people like us and they use their knowledge of the law as well as their every day knowledge and common sense. You may not realize it, but in Georgia, traffic offenses are criminal offenses. That means that when an officer issues a citation for speeding, failing to yield, or any number of traffic based offenses, these are criminal citations which require a court appearance unless the fine is paid in advance. There are some citations that cannot be paid without a court appearance such as driving without insurance. For those where there is an option of paying a fine, payment of that fine is an admission of guilt, and in many cases, those charges can add points to your license. Get enough points and you will lose your license. In addition, there are specific laws that govern speeding. You can read more about that law in our article on Georgia’s Super Speeder Law here.
If you, or a loved one, finds yourself in a situation involving traffic tickets, a DUI, driving without insurance or other criminal matters, contact our office. Ty Wilson has the skills and the experience to help see that your rights are protected and preserve your driving record.