What to Know About Traffic Court During COVID-19

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(Newswire.net — July 21, 2020) — If you are like many people who drive around on a regular basis, you might have received an occasional traffic ticket from a police officer. Whether it was for speeding, a broken taillight, or perhaps an expired inspection sticker, these and other offenses are handled by your area’s local traffic court. However, with the onset of COVID-19 across the United States, many courts have closed to the public. As a result, those individuals who have tickets to pay have been left wondering what to do next. If you are among this group, here are some details you should keep in mind regarding how traffic court is being conducted during COVID-19.

Courts are Still Operating

First of all, remember that even though most courts are closed to the public at the present time, this does not mean they have ceased operations. Therefore, don’t assume that the ticket and its fines have just been erased from the court’s records, because they have not. Thus, if you fail to pay the ticket, you may find yourself facing additional fines and fees.

Extending Payment Deadlines

Since many people have lost their jobs during the pandemic, many courts including traffic courts have decided to extend the deadlines for when tickets need to be paid. By doing so, this should give you additional time to get the money needed if your budget is a bit tight at the moment. However, this is being done on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis, so just as you should not assume courts are not operating , you should also not assume the deadline for paying your ticket has been extended. To find out if it has, contact your locality’s traffic court division to find out.

Halting Driver’s License Suspensions

Depending on the nature of your ticket, how many tickets you may have in your possession, and various other factors, you may be worried that the court may decide to find you guilty and suspend your driver’s license. However, this likely won’t happen. Unless you have been accumulating tickets for quite awhile, the court probably does not have a warrant out for your arrest. Since being without a license would no doubt make it even harder to deal with the ongoing pandemic, most traffic courts have halted suspensions of driver’s licenses for the immediate future.

Fighting the Ticket

If you received a traffic ticket but believe you could beat the charges in court, you can still pursue this option during the pandemic. But to do so, you will probably need to hire the services of an attorney who specializes in handling traffic court cases. Whether the charge is speeding, reckless driving, or something else, you will still be able to work with a lawyer remotely to explain what happened and why you believe you are innocent. Once a lawyer accepts your case, they can examine evidence remotely, speak to you while building a legal strategy, and even represent you remotely if the court is conducting cases in this manner.

Fewer Tickets being Issued

If there is one advantage to everyone practicing social distancing, it is that police across the country are generally not making as many traffic stops as usual due to the pandemic. Because of this, you probably are at lower risk of getting a ticket from an officer unless you do something very blatant. Therefore, if you want to avoid getting stuck dealing with the new normal of traffic court, do all you can to drive safely and avoid giving officers a real reason to pull you over.

If you feel uncomfortable with going out to a court clerk’s office to pay your fines during the pandemic, the good news is that you will in all likelihood not be penalized for your decision. However, depending on the complexities of your case, it may be good to speak to someone in the court clerk’s office or consult with an attorney if applicable.