13 votes

Update: I have a court date, what should I do?

Update: The judge was taking "no testimony" that day, and taking guilty/not guilty pleas. A guilty plea meant you could ask for traffic school.

Very poor people appeared to be pleading not guilty. Old hands seemed to be pleading guilty. I plead not guilty. One guy seemed to manage a deal that involved a commercial driver's license or something. He kept it quiet.

Court date in March. Apparently a conviction, according to the board, costs exactly as much as a ticket.

Original post:

I was accused of a rolling stop, and ticketed. I have a court date.

What if I show up in court instead of paying the ticket?

I am in Alabama; has anyone ever shown up instead of paying?

I remembered that in California if you show up and your accuser isn't there, you get the ticket dismissed (sometimes). Maybe this isn't true.

Philosophically, I feel like showing up would be the personally affirming thing to do, and might be educational instead of just handing my stuff over to the State.

I am tempted to see what I can do in court, is there a potential downside to this?

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Good post.

Excellent comment section.

Bump for some good ol' fashion learnin'.

My Political Awakening: I Wanted to Change the World...
I am NOT Anti-America. America is Anti-Me - Lowkey
How to Handle POLICE STATE Encounters

Go to court for each and

Go to court for each and every ticket. Probably 1% of the tickets get contested. If 3% of the tickets would be contested entire system would require change.

Prepare for the case and go to court.

Out of curiosity, was there a victim in your alleged offense?

Engage in Secure Exchange

Other than my sensibilities,

there was no victim or endangerment of any person or property.

Author of Shades of Thomas Paine, a common sense blog with a Libertarian slant.


Also author of Stick it to the Man!


piss on one dollar bills and

piss on one dollar bills and video tape it. Go pay the money. Then send them the tape.

Be Your Own Media!!!

If it's like Indiana

this will be only a preliminary hearing in which you will be asked to enter a plea. The Prosecutor will be the lowest level attorney in the office performing the most menial of Prosecuter's tasks.

My guess is that about 95% of people pay the fine and nearly all of the other 5% will neither pay nor appear and therefore their drivers license will be suspended. Sometimes the judge will issue a bench warrant for their arrest.

For the 0.1% that don't pay, but appear and plea "not guilty", the Prosecutor is highly motivated to dismiss the case as not being worth the court's time.

If you are worried about another moving violation affecting your driver's license and/or insurance rates, you will at minimum gain leverage to get it reduced to a non-moving violation.

Good Luck.

wolfe's picture

It's a moving violation.

Never ever "pay the ticket" on a moving violation unless you enjoy watching your insurance company rape you even more than it is already doing.

Hire an attorney if you want to be guaranteed of results. They will say they provide no guarantee, wink wink. The attorney, if hired in this stage should cost you about the same as the initial fines would have. They usually set it up so that you have to pay a nominal court cost but the ticket will be dismissed.

Or you can show up, plead not guilty, and make your case. And as far as I know, the rules you mention with the accuser are true in virtually every state.

You should chew through as much of their time and money as possible. If we all did that in an act of disobedience it would start to cripple the already over budget judicial systems.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

Was just in court yesterday

I had to drive a buddy of mine down to the courthouse because his license was suspended.

This is what I saw. You have a chance to plead, get a court appointed attorney, or take a 'Pre-Trial' with the County Solicitor so you can get recommendations from the State as how to plead. These choices were stated over and over for each defendant until one asked about a trial by jury. The mood changed a bit. The judge let this man know that he does have that right, but if he chooses that right, he's not going to trial today, but he'll have to come back next month, which won't be the trial, and he'll have to come back several more times and he'll get his trial in about 9 months and if he loses then he'll have to pay extra court fees and surcharges. So best to get a lawyer or take the advice of the State.

That said I went to court for a traffic ticket in 2006 and the solicitor threatened me with extra court fees and surcharges, but I had a good case because the cop wrote the wrong code on my ticket. The judge called me to the stand and dismissed my case.

We need to all start invoking our Rights because the system is not set up for people with Rights, it is set up for people to ignore their Rights in favor of an easier way out.

The post below suggests we all start behaving as though we're going to take our case to the Supreme Court every time. I think it would help the cause of Liberty. If only 3% of traffic defendants take a Jury trial, the entire system shuts down.

If you have the time, asking a Jury to find the Victim is a powerful message to make.


This is not legal advice and

This is not legal advice and should not be assumed as such:

I always show up and plead not guilty. I then request a jury trial. If it ever even does make it to trial, I drag it out as much as possible. If Im found guilty, I refuse to pay any ransom and request community service.

how could anyone

confuse your story with legal advice

just a disclaimer

just a disclaimer

I have friends of mine who went to court over tickets

One had so many tickets in a short period of time that one more would jeopardize his license, insurance and his job as a rout driver. So what he did was request a jury trial, and did everything he could to delay the court date long enough for other tickets to drop off his record. I'm thinking he drug it out months, he still got the ticket, but the state did not pull his license. So he kept his job and insurance.

Another friend of mine got ticketed for driving in the turn lane on a 5 lane road. He went to court and asked the judge what is the exact distance allowed to travel in the turn lane before turning? The judge asked the officer and the officer did not know what the statute allowed. So the Judge delayed the decision and set another court date for the officer to bring in the documentation. The officer did not show up, so the judge threw out the ticket.

If you have something to lose ...

pay it, forget about it, don't waste any time on it, don't even let the clowns know who you are, and continue to financially support the cause of liberty as you see best.

If you have nothing to lose ...

show up, fight it tooth and nail, come with the kind of knowledge that makes any other people getting looted present question their legitimate authority, try to go first (ie. kiss a little clerk ass and let them know you are present in advance) for the greatest opportunity to influence sheeple, and be the kind of guy they don't want in their courtroom ever again merely because the free air you breath undermines their authority. Be prepared to exit the way you came in or out the back with a 3+ day vacation for contempt. Contact your local jail to find out what you can keep when booked and plan accordingly by bringing your vacation goodie bag.

Show up

I have a court date too: Jury duty, and I show up with hopes to be given a seat because if I had a court date other than being a juror, I would want someone like me in the box.

No downside.

Usually just showing up with a good explanation will at best get your fine reduced and YES there is always the possibility that the officer may not show and in that instance cases are usually dismissed.

Good luck.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

All depends on your goal and what you want to do ...

... as far as challenging the system or not.

You might check out Marc Stevens' website at:


Traffic tickets are where he started his work. He appears to have a pretty good track record. Tickets are usually either dismissed, or if the person loses at trial, they usually win on appeal.

Every state is different, though, and every judge is different (some are true psychopaths, some are decent -- though all tend to get their panties in a bunch if you challenge the system itself).

All traffic courts are phony because they don't play by the rules that the US Supreme Court has said that all courts must, in order for a defendant to get due process.

Due process does not happen in the traffic ticket/traffic court system, and according to Marc Stevens, that allows for the right strategy to usually "win" (the judge will never rule in your favor because that would reveal the charade, but cases usually get dismissed or convictions thrown out on appeal).

Another website I found but have not learned much about, yet is:


I plan to use the strategies from both websites the next time I get a ticket (been pulled over 3 times since I learned about it, but no tickets -- lol).

Pardon my asking, but

THE George Strait?

bigmikedude's picture

THE George Strait probably wouldn't get a ticket.

More likely he just gets a surprised look from a cop, asked for an autograph, photo-op, and then let go and thanked.

Cop must have been ...

... a rock and roll fan. lol

In Ohio, my mom had an accident...

it was basically her fault, but on principle, she believed the other driver provoked mom's response (can't remember the details, though). Mom was cited but she went to court to give her version. The officer didn't show, nor the other driver. The ticket was thrown out and the other party had to cover her own repairs. Worked in mom's favor.

I love your songs, George.

I wish you the best, it might be a good time to visit your ocean front property in Arizona.

If there are points involved, get a traffic attorney

It worked for me in FL for a speeding ticket - I paid the atty about $175 and then got a bill for the "court fee" which was about the same as the cost of the speeding ticket. It was well worth it, the insurance hike would have continued for years had I just paid the ticket.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know Peace." - Jimi Hendrix

Is It a Violation That Adds Points

..to your insurance?
You may get lucky if the police-officer or "policy-enforcer" misses the court date, sometimes resulting in an ACD (All Charges Dismissed).

Ask an attorney (referred by a friend) who may not even charge for a "consultation".
Only he/she can truthfully access your situation.
Once, when fighting a ticket/summons, I was adjourned many times, many months to the point that I had missed a court date,
Upon inquiring I was informed that I'd now have to post bail to continue without a warrant for my arrest being issued (imagine that?!).
I was lucky...on the court date there was a line of people extending all the way outside onto the sidewalk. This was due to an unforseen "backlog" of "proceedings" and the DA (District Attorney) was there to "plead-down" most summonses.
I got two moving violations plead-down to a parking ticket.
The cost?.....The amount of "bail money posted" by me.
It saved me an insurance increase and more importantly "points" were not added to my "license".
"Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" morphed into: "Better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all".....but in my case....it was a "win".

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

Don't know. Each state is different.

Did you sign the ticket/summons?

As a money collecting operation they make things hard and it's real easy to pay.

The right to face your accuser.

If we don't exercise our rights will they atrophy?

I'd been ill my last opportunity, so I just paid.

Two men were paid to sit in costume , with guns, at the courtroom entrance. They had some queer fascination about my belt. Then they let me go to the cashier.

Don't know.

Free includes debt-free!

I did not sign anything.

The document even says no signature required.

Author of Shades of Thomas Paine, a common sense blog with a Libertarian slant.


Also author of Stick it to the Man!