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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in North Dakota

The North Dakota Motor Vehicle Code guides motorists, commercial drivers, pedestrians, and other road users on the appropriate road usage behavior in the state. When a road user violates the motor vehicle code, law enforcement agents issue traffic tickets or citations to the person(s). The traffic ticket or citation informs the recipient of the nature of the traffic violation of which the person has been charged, the payable fines, court appearance date, and the name and address of the court handling the case. Typically, district courts handle cases of traffic violations.

When a road user receives a ticket in North Dakota, the offender may respond by paying the ticket or contesting the ticket. Whatever the case, the response must be sent to the court within 14 days of receipt of the ticket. If the recipient does not respond within the stipulated time, the recipient may accrue more costs in form of fines and license reinstatement fees. Also, the court may issue a bench warrant for the arrest of ticket recipients who fail to respond.

Ticket recipients who choose to pay a ticket must understand that the court deems it an admission of guilt. This means that if a person chooses not to contest a traffic ticket, the court will treat the person as though the court found the person guilty. By paying the ticket, the recipient waives the right to a trial. The guilty party must pay all fines and fulfill other sentence conditions that the court stipulates.

Alternatively, ticket recipients may choose to contest the ticket. In order to successfully contest a traffic ticket, the recipient must be able to prove in court that the issuing law enforcement officer wrongly or unfairly issued the traffic ticket. If the defendant makes a convincing case, the court may dismiss the ticket.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in North Dakota?

In some cases, the best course of action may be to pay the ticket. For example, if the traffic offense is a civil infraction, that is, if the offense is not criminal and is only punishable by fines, it may be best to simply pay the ticket. However, if the offense is criminal, or if the admission of guilt can result in imprisonment, hefty fines, or points assessed against the offender’s driving record, it is worth fighting the ticket. Case parties must note that contesting a ticket comes with additional fees, such as attorney fees and court fees. Also, if the court finds the defendant guilty, the defendant must fulfill all the court’s sentence or judgment conditions.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in North Dakota

Persons interested in fighting traffic tickets in North Dakota must sign the citation and mail the citation in the envelope provided to the court. North Dakota traffic tickets typically contain the Clerk of Court’s address in the county where the case will be handled. The ticket recipient must mail the bond payment with the signed ticket to the court; if the court dismisses the case, the court will reimburse the person for the bond paid. The court will set a hearing date where the ticket recipient or the ticket recipient’s attorney will enter a ‘not guilty’ plea. The recipient or the recipient’s attorney will also attempt to prove either that the ticket was wrongfully issued or that the recipient did not violate any traffic laws. The law enforcement officer who issued the ticket will also be present in court to testify. In some cases, the court may dismiss the case if the law enforcement officer fails to show up without reason.

If the court determines that the defendant is not guilty, the court may dismiss the traffic violation case. However, if the court finds the defendant guilty, the defendant must pay fines and fulfill other sentence conditions. Defendants may appeal municipal court decisions to the district court. Defendants may also appeal district court decisions to the Supreme court; however, defendants may not appeal non-criminal traffic violation decisions to the Supreme Court.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

North Dakota residents may initiate the process of contesting a ticket by mail. Such persons must sign the traffic citation, and mail it with the stipulated payment to the court. However, there will be a court hearing to determine the facts of the case. Depending on the nature of the traffic violation, ticket recipients who are represented by attorneys may choose not to appear in court to enter a plea. However, self-represented litigants must be present in court for the hearing.

How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in North Dakota?

North Dakota does not have payment alternatives for traffic tickets; however, persons who cannot afford to pay traffic tickets and court fines may petition the court for payment plans or fine reduction. Additionally, ticket recipients who need payment extensions must appear in court in person to request the extension.

Can You Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in North Dakota?

It is possible to get a speeding ticket dismissed in North Dakota by taking traffic school courses or a defensive driving course. Ticket recipients who take government-approved courses may be eligible for point reduction. Also, on presenting a certificate of completion to the court, ticket recipients who complete traffic school or defensive driving courses may be eligible for a case dismissal. However, dismissal is dependent on the nature of the traffic offense the ticket recipient is charged with. Typically, traffic violations that involve injury or risk of injury to another person may not be eligible for dismissal.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in North Dakota?

Pleading guilty to a traffic ticket in North Dakota without contest will result in penalties. The severity of the penalty depends on the nature of the offense. For some traffic violations, especially non-criminal or civil infractions, the ticket recipient needs only to pay fines. Pleading guilty to some other traffic violations, however, may result in more than just fines. Some may carry imprisonment terms while others carry point assessments against the offender’s driving record. The North Dakota Department of Transportation suspends the license of any road user who accumulates up to 12 points.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in North Dakota

Traffic ticket attorneys help ticket recipients to navigate complex legal processes and rules of behavior. Traffic ticket attorneys specialize in traffic ticket cases, bringing expertise and knowledge of the law to the ticket recipient’s aid. Persons interested in finding traffic ticket attorneys may contact the North Dakota Bar Association or other local organizations that provide legal resources.

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