How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Louisiana
When a person violates traffic laws in Louisiana, law enforcement officers are required to issue a traffic citation to the violator. The Louisiana Judiciary then receives the charge and orders the violator to pay the applicable fines or contest the citation. The traffic citation may be issued on the spot or mailed to the individual as a court summon. The citation or traffic ticket will contain the violation, applicable statutes, the violator’s license number, violation date, and directions to resolve the ticket.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in Louisiana?
It depends. Several factors influence an individual’s decision to fight a citation issued in Louisiana. If the citation involves or may result in serious charges, then the recipient should consider fighting the ticket. Under state and federal laws, every individual is well within his/her rights to request a fair hearing. At the very least, the individual must consider the following factors:
- The merit of the case
- Knowledge of traffic laws and ordinances
- Attorney fees
- Insurance premiums
- Lost productivity due to court appearance
Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Louisiana
The citation will inform the recipient of the deadline to respond, i.e., pay the ticket or indicate the intention to contest. In some cases, however, the recipient will only have the option to appear in court for a scheduled hearing. Either way, there are three options to fight the ticket, each having unique pros and cons.
- Pro se: Self-representation or going pro se is one way to fight a ticket in Louisiana. The option is attractive for minor violations and convenient for violators who have a strong defense but can’t afford an attorney’s services. Louisiana parish courts often provide guidelines and helpful resources for defendants who choose to go pro se.
- Hire an attorney: There is no substitute for years of legal training and experience with the nuances of arguing traffic cases in court. However, this is the more costly and most suitable option for individuals charged with traffic misdemeanors or other serious charges.
- Service providers: An option that is less pricey than hiring a personal attorney. Several entities offer a subscription-based model to resolve traffic tickets on clients’ behalf in Louisiana. For the most part, there is no way to vet the lawyer who will handle the case, and in some cases, terms and conditions in the fine print may render the client ineligible to receive legal aid–even after years of paying subscription fees.
How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Trial
Louisiana is one of few states that allow violators to fight traffic tickets via trial by written declaration. However, this option does not apply to every case; the individual must contact the court clerk to determine his/her eligibility. If eligible, the individual will have to complete a form issued by the court and submit the declaration for review. The issuing officer will also get notified of the violator’s decision to opt for trial by declaration and will be required to fill a similar form.
Alternatively, arriving at a plea deal with the prosecutor allows the violator to fight the ticket without going to court. If successful, the prosecutor will reduce or downgrade the traffic violation to attract lighter sanctions like completing a safety education course, community service, or even reading a pamphlet on safe driving.
How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Louisiana?
The individual has to request a mitigation hearing when he/she enters a not guilty plea and intention to contest. As Louisiana does not use a point system to assess traffic violations, reducing a traffic ticket is a product of the defendant’s ability to negotiate with the prosecutor before trial or the judge during the trial. Louisiana also allows eligible violators who cannot afford to pay a full fine to enroll in a payment plan.
Can you get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Louisiana?
While it is typically difficult to dismiss a speeding ticket in Louisiana, it is possible. Suffice to say that an attorney is often indispensable in these quarters. Their legal expertise is often useful for discovering evidence, finding witnesses, and taking actions to dismiss the ticket.
More recently, Louisiana introduced the pretrial diversion program for recipients of traffic tickets. This program is similar to dismissal, but the violator still pays the district attorney’s office to write off the ticket. The violation will not show up on the driver’s record, ergo avoiding increased insurance premiums.
What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Louisiana?
Offenders who plead guilty to a traffic ticket in Louisiana will have to pay the ticket, bear any subsequent criminal and civil liability, and pay higher insurance premiums for years. Furthermore, the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) may revoke the driver’s license for as long as one (1) year. The individual may face socio-economic hardship, especially if the violator’s work involves driving. Besides, the individual may have details of the offense on the publicly available criminal record.
How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Louisiana
Considering the implications of having a ticket or convicted of a traffic violation, hiring an experienced traffic attorney is a worthy option. Referrals from a close friend, family member, or a trusted source are the best ways to find a Louisiana traffic ticket attorney.