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What To Expect From a Virginia Speeding Case in Court?

The following is taken from an interview with a Virginia speeding ticket lawyer as they discuss what you should expect in court if you choose to challenge your ticket. For legal representation or to simply learn more, call and schedule a consultation today.

Will The Police Officer Who Issued The Ticket Testify in Court?

Yes, the officer has to testify.  It’s on the officer to prove that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  You, as the defendant, don’t have to prove or say anything. If for some reason the officer doesn’t testify because he doesn’t have his report or doesn’t recall how the incident played out, then this is certainly grounds to have your case dismissed.  In such a scenario, the judge would find insufficient evidence for proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

A lot of times officers call ahead because they had training or something unavoidable and they get permission from the court to not be there, in which case, the judge will continue the case to a later date. If the officer is missing and fails to appear on the court date, it depends on whether his absence was excused by the judge as to whether the case will be dismissed or not.

Many times officers call ahead because they had training or something unavoidable and they get permission from the court to not be there. In this scenario, the judge will continue the case to a later date.  If the officer simply is not there and there is no reason why, then sometimes the judge will still continue the case and give them a second chance and other times, the judge will dismiss the charges. This depends largely on local custom.

Can You Cross-Examine The Officer Without a Lawyer Present?

Yes, if you cross examine the officer without a lawyer present though you need to keep in mind that the rules of evidence still apply to you, the same way they would apply to an attorney. So it’s really better to have an attorney to make sure that you ask questions that are proper and do not risk hurting your case by improperly arguing the case during cross examination. If the questions you ask do not comply with the rules, they will not be permitted.

Can You Plea Nolo Contendere in a Virginia Speeding Ticket Case?

Yes, you can plea nolo contendere in Virginia speeding ticket cases.  In Virginia, this is more typically called a no contest plea.  It means that you are not admitting guilt, but you are also not disputing the facts of the charge and therefore, you accept the court’s decision even though you’re not admitting guilt.  It typically has the same effect as a guilty plea.  Some people feel better pleading no contest because they feel like they don’t have to admit guilt this way, but they also don’t have a defense so they feel it’s a better alternative to pleading guilty.  There is no other practical benefit to doing so other than that.

If you have facts that you are believe are relevant to guilt or innocence and you want the judge to consider those facts, you should enter a not guilty plea instead of a no contest plea.

Can A Lawyer Negotiate Your Penalties With a Judge?

You can absolutely negotiate with the judge about your penalties.  This is one of the reasons why it’s good to come to court even if you aren’t required to do. Someone pleading guilty doesn’t have to accept  the fine is and just call it a day. Before the judge decides the final sentence, everything is negotiable in court and you can provide different reasons to a judge for why your penalties should be lower.

This is tricky to do, however, because you don’t want to argue with the judge when the judge is giving you a lenient sentence, or mistakenly believe that the sentence is actually not good one. It’s better to have a lawyer argue the penalties because the lawyer will have a better understanding over what penalties are expected in certain situations, and can help you set realistic expectations.

Why Is Consulting With An Attorney Important For a Speeding Ticket Case?

It’s important to have an aggressive Virginia speeding ticket lawyer because you want someone who is going to strongly cross-examine the police officer to make sure that every avenue of your defense is fully explored.  You also want someone who will push hard to get you the best results possible for your case.  Everything in court is negotiable and you want someone who is really going to believe in that and push hard to get you the result.

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