Preparing for Trial
If you’ve determined that you have a plausible defence to make, you must get ready to fight your own speeding ticket in court. There are some steps to do before your day in court.
Get your witnesses ready
If you have witnesses that can help your speeding ticket case, make sure to have them ready to appear in court with you. You must make sure that they are reliable and can offer evidence to back up your speeding ticket defence. Make plans to meet them at least one hour before your court appearance to ensure you have enough time to all be there for court.
Prepare your questions for your witnesses ahead of time. This helps them be more confident in their answers and keeps them focused and on-task. Avoid asking leading questions (questions that make it obvious what answer you want, or seem to coerce the witness into saying what you want) or close-ended questions (questions that will usually result in a one-word answer such as “yes” or “no”). All your questions should be open-ended to allow your witness to explain the situation in their own words. This will help demonstrate their reliability as a witness and better back up your speeding ticket case.
Remember to tell the truth and have your witnesses do so as well. If you stick to the honest facts, the prosecutor will not be able to call your accounts into question, and that will be necessary to convince the court of your innocence.
Prepare for the prosecutor’s examination
If you decide to take the stand for your speeding ticket, both you and your witnesses will have to be prepared for the prosecutor’s questions. Use the notes in the disclosure to try to anticipate what kind of questions will be asked, and decide on your answers ahead of time. It is unlikely you’ll be able to anticipate every question that will be asked, but the more you prepare, the less likely it is that you or your witnesses will be thrown off.
Prepare your own questions
The prosecutor may have witnesses of his or her own to call, including the officer that gave you the speeding ticket. You will need to prepare your own questions for these witnesses. You should have been informed in the disclosure if the prosecutor was preparing to call any witnesses.
Here you want to ask the exact opposite kind of questions you prepared for your own witnesses. Ask close-ended questions and keep them brief and to-the-point. The fewer questions you have, the less opportunity you will give the witness to say something to dispute your point. Knowing ahead of time what you want them to say will help you when you have to try to lead them into helping your speeding ticket case instead of hurting it.
Prepare your evidence
You can bring any evidence you think will help with you for your speeding ticket case, like photos for example. Make sure to know exactly why you are bringing each piece, and prepare your explanations ahead of time to make sure they are succinct and compelling. You will appear foolish if you present a photo of your car without a good reason to do so.
Prepare your opening and closing statements
While going to court can certainly be intimidating, it is much like any other form of public presentation. If you come across as confident and compelling, it can only help your speeding ticket case. Your statements should tie all the facts of your speeding ticket case together: your account, your evidence, your witnesses’ accounts and your dissection of the prosecutor’s evidence. They should sum up the facts and demonstrate that reasonable doubt exists in the prosecutor’s evidence.
Don’t make your statements overly dramatic. Court is rarely like you may have seen on TV, especially in traffic cases. Passionate outbursts or flashy ways of speaking will make you appear foolish and hurt your case. Instead be simple and concise, but confident. Take your time explaining yourself. Don’t rush through the proceedings and trip over yourself, but instead demonstrate that you know your facts and your rights. Keep notes on hand to help yourself remember what you want to say, but be prepared to try to connect with the people in the court; reading a completely prepared speech while looking at the paper the entire time will not make you appear confident and knowledgeable, but rather nervous and shaky.