Criminal Attorneys Aren't Just for Criminals

Challenging A Traffic Officer's Observations In Court

by Eva Holmes

Receiving a traffic ticket after an accident doesn't necessarily prove that you are responsible for the accident. However, that is the assumption the court will make unless you challenge the ticket, which is not easy, but possible. There are several ways of doing this, one of which involves challenging the observations of the police officer who issued the ticket. Here are three ways to do this:

Statements of Witnesses

Witnesses' statements are some of the most powerful tools you can have when mounting your challenge. If it is just your word against the officer's word, it will be difficult to convince the court otherwise. However, by adding another uninterested party into the mix, you get to add credibility to your stance while at the same time weakening the officer's position.

Consider an example where a traffic officer is accusing you of having run the red light and you are claiming that the traffic lights were malfunctioning at the time. Strengthen your position by adding the testimony of another motorist or pedestrian who witnessed the malfunctioning lights.

Photograph or Videos of the Accident

In addition to witnesses' statements, photographs or videos of the accident or its scene can also bolster your challenge. Such records can come from road security cameras, CCTV cameras on adjacent buildings, cellphone videos taken by other road users, and your dashboard camera.

A video or photograph will be helpful if it can prove your position or disapprove the officer's claim. For example, a CCTV video showing you overtaking another vehicle in the correct lane can disprove claims of illegal overtaking.

Proof That the Officer's View Was Obstructed

Proving that the officer's view was obstructed may not get you off the hook since it doesn't mean that you didn't commit the offense in question. However, at the very least, it will make the court question the accuracy of the officer's observation. For example, a picture of a fallen tree by the wayside can prove useful if you can prove that it was blocking the officer's view at the time of your alleged misconduct. Even if the tree has been removed, testimony from the local authority that removed it can help prove its presence at the time of the accident. You can also use a clear diagram or sketch to prove that the officer couldn't have witnessed the incident they are claiming to have witnessed.

Contesting a ticket isn't a decision you should take lightly. This is especially true if there is a serious accident that the court is claiming was caused by your alleged traffic violation. Consult a defense attorney to help you with the challenge.