Myth: If the officer makes a single mistake on your traffic ticket, the case will be dropped
By Jonathan van Ekelenburg
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Some drivers get excited when they see that the officer had made a mistake on their traffic ticket because they think it means the traffic ticket will be thrown out. However, only some mistakes are worth throwing the traffic ticket out over. Errors on a traffic ticket are divided between fatal errors (those that will have the traffic ticket dropped) and non-fatal errors (those that won't).
Some examples of non-fatal errors that people think are worth having the traffic ticket dropped include the following:
- Misspelled name
- Inaccurate address
- Incorrect driver's license number
- Wrong make or model of vehicle
- Incorrect license plate number
At trial, when you bring these errors to the attention of the court, the error will be corrected and the trial will continue. You can't have the traffic ticket withdrawn based on these kind of mistakes from the officer. These kinds of material mistakes might indicate that there are other errors in the officer's notes and that the officer was not paying enough attention. So while these mistakes will not get a ticket dropped, they may be clues that there are other mistakes in the evidence that can be used to your benefit.
There are, however, some mistakes that are fatal errors and can have your traffic ticket thrown out if handled in the proper manner at trial, some of which include the following:
- No accused's name on the traffic ticket at all
- Incorrect fine or total payable recorded on the traffic ticket
- The offence not properly listed on the traffic ticket
- The officer did not sign the traffic ticket
These errors can get your traffic ticket thrown out if they are used in the proper manner at trial, so keep your eye on your traffic tickets to see if the officer forgot to do any of those. Just remember that it's only these specific kinds of fatal errors that are going to get you what you want, and minor errors like misspellings are not going to get you anything.