In Louisiana and throughout the U.S., there are all kinds of traffic tickets and various penalties that come with them.
Some traffic tickets require a mandatory appearance in which the alleged offender is required to appear in court. If a mandatory appearance is required for your ticket, you cannot simply pay the ticket and move on with life; you (or someone on your behalf) must show up in court for the matter to be heard.
Of course, this can be problematic in terms of working, child care, and, now, coronavirus restrictions. Read on to learn more about these requirements from Crescent City Law’s traffic ticket attorneys, and what to do to avoid having to go down to court in person.
When is a Mandatory Appearance Required for a Ticket?
If you are ticketed for switching lanes without using your blinker or speeding slightly in excess of the posted speed limit, you probably won’t be forced to appear in court. However, if your traffic offense is considered to be particularly egregious, you might have a mandatory appearance.
Look closely at the bottom of your traffic ticket. If the print on the ticket states in any way that you must appear in court, it is imperative you comply with this requirement. The words “appearance mandatory” might not be used.
The language on the ticket might state something along the lines of: “You must appear in court” or a special box for “mandatory court appearance” will be checked. Each parish uses idiosyncratic language to communicate the fact that a mandatory appearance is necessary.
Some examples of violations where appearance is required include:
- Speeding greater than 15 over the Posted Limit
- Reckless Driving
- Hit & Run Driving
- Driving on a Suspended License
- Careless Operation/Failure to Maintain Control of Vehicle (Car Accidents)
- DWI or other alcohol related driving offenses
- Any traffic ticket issued pursuant to the Louisiana Criminal Code (La. R.S. 14)
- Most Federal Traffic Tickets.
Why Mandatory Court Appearances are Necessary
Mandatory court appearances are usually for three reasons:
- First, you may be required to appear because the citation has the possibility of jail time.
- Second, you could have a mandatory court appearance because the statute does not provide a specific fine. In this case, the judge has wide discretion to determine the appropriate fine if you are convicted.
- Third, you are required to appear in court when there is a ‘victim’ in your ticket. For example, when you are in a car accident, the court wants to ensure the other driver is made whole for the damages to their car caused by the collision.
It is in your best interest to hire a traffic ticket attorney to represent you every step of the way when mandatory court appearances are required–the stakes are high.
The attorneys at Crescent City Law can appear on your behalf even when your ticket says you have a mandatory appearance, we will fight to reduce or even dismiss the charges, and keep other drivers from coming after you for money. This way, you will not have to attempt to pull off what seems like mission impossible in learning all the nuances of the law and representing yourself in front of the judge.
The assistance of a skilled attorney will prove especially helpful if you are accused of a criminal violation, like Reckless Driving, Hit & Run, or even DWI!
Hire an attorney to protect your rights in court and you will dramatically increase the odds of a favorable outcome.
Looking to Fight Your Ticket? You Will Have to Appear in Court
Most moving violations do not mandate a required court appearance unless you want to fight the ticket. But, if you are charged with certain things, a court appearance will likely be necessary. These tickets include:
- Speeding well in excess of the posted speed limit
- Driving in a reckless manner
- Causing an injury
If you live in another state and are slapped with a ticket for a supposed offense that requires a court appearance, you still have to show up in court as requested. If you fail to show for a required court appearance in another state, a warrant for your arrest will be issued, and the court will suspend your driver’s license.
Once the bench warrant is issued and suspension goes into effect, additional bench charges will also be applied, making this legal predicament that much more complex.
Our New Orleans Traffic Ticket Attorneys are Here to Represent You in and out of Court
If you are issued a traffic ticket in which a court appearance is necessary, you should know the stakes are high. Do not make the common mistake of blowing off the ticket and assuming everything will work itself out in due time.
At Crescent City Law, 99.67% of the tickets we fight are not reported to our clients’ driving records. We’d love to help you explain your side of the story to the court and hide this ticket from your record. Our legal representation might even result in a dismissal of the ticket. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.