How Do You Contest a Traffic Violation?

Contest a traffic violation by examining the exact wording of the law specified in the ticket and then comparing all the elements of that statute with the actual circumstances under which the ticket was written, says Nolo. Traffic laws vary from state to state, so it's important to carefully read the law of the state in which the violation occurred.

Prove that the any single element of the offense cited in a ticket was absent, and a court is obligated to dismiss the citation, explains Nolo. For instance, the law in most states concerning U-turns contains several key conditions that must be present in order for the U-turn to be valid. If another vehicle is approaching within 200 feet or less, the offense occurs in a residential district and a traffic control device at an intersection is not controlling the approaching vehicle, the U-turn is illegal. Showing the court that any of these elements were absent, such as proving it wasn't a residential district where the U-turn took place, invalidates the offense.

Other strategies for contesting a violation include proving an officer's view was obstructed in some way or showing that an officer issued a ticket to the wrong car because the officer lost sight of the offending car before they could pull it over, notes Nolo. Speeding violations are contested by proving an error in the methodology the officer used to determine a car's speed or, in some states, showing that driving slightly over the speed limit didn't result in an unsafe situation.