How Long Does a Cop Have to File a Ticket

Can a Cop Dismiss a Ticket After It Is Written?

Getting pulled over and handed a ticket can be an unpleasant and expensive experience. You may find yourself wondering if there is any way to get out of paying the hefty fine. The good news is that yes, there are cases where a police officer can dismiss a ticket after writing it. However, it does not happen automatically. You need to take the right steps to make your case.

Reasons a Cop Might Dismiss a Ticket

There are a few key reasons why a cop might revoke a ticket they previously issued:

Discretion of the Officer

Police officers have discretion when it comes to enforcing the law. An officer can decide based on the circumstances that a written warning or no penalty is more appropriate than the ticket fine.

Mitigating Circumstances

If you can demonstrate there were special conditions that led to the offense, an officer may dismiss the ticket. For example, if you were speeding because of a medical emergency.

Incorrect Information on Ticket

If the ticket contains false information about your identify, the vehicle, or the offense, the officer may revoke it.

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Lack of Evidence

If the officer cannot produce evidence needed to prove the traffic violation occurred, they may retract the ticket.

Process for Dismissing a Ticket

If you want to fight a ticket and get it rescinded, here are steps you can take:

Appealing to Officer Who Wrote Ticket

The easiest path is to contact the officer who issued the traffic ticket and politely ask them to consider dismissing it. Provide additional information they may not have been aware of at the time.

Appealing to Officer’s Supervisor

If the ticketing officer denies your request, reach out to their supervisor at the police department. Calmly explain why you believe the ticket was unjustified or should be revoked under the circumstances.

Going to Court to Fight Ticket

Your last resort is taking the matter before a traffic court judge and making a case for dismissal there. Gather evidence and documentation to support your defense.

Strategies for Getting a Ticket Dismissed

Here are some key tips for increasing your odds of convincing an officer to tear up a ticket:

Be Polite and Admit Mistake

Even if you feel the ticket was unfair, lose your temper at your own peril. Be polite in your communications and own up to committing the traffic offense.

Provide Additional Information

Give the officer supplemental information about the incident they may not have known when writing the ticket. The context could make them reconsider.

Get Supporting Documentation

Back up your claims with any evidence you can gather, whether written statements from witnesses, medical reports, or maintenance records.

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Request Leniency

Directly ask the officer to kindly dismiss the traffic ticket, especially if it is your first offense. We all make mistakes.

Options if Ticket is Not Dismissed

If your efforts to get the ticket revoked fail, you still have choices:

Pay the Ticket

To avoid further penalties, you can pay the fine for the ticket if you cannot get it dismissed.

Fight the Ticket in Court

You may defend yourself in traffic court by contesting the validity of the ticket. The outcome will be up to the judge.

Attend Traffic School

In some cases, attending traffic school can remove a ticket from your driving record and prevent increased insurance rates.

Key Takeaways

  • Police officers have the discretionary authority to dismiss traffic tickets after issuing them.
  • Reasons an officer might revoke a ticket include lack of evidence, mitigating circumstances, incorrect information, or the discretion of the officer.
  • You can increase your chances of getting a ticket dismissed by being polite, providing additional information to the officer, gathering supporting documentation, and directly requesting leniency.
  • If a ticket is not dismissed, options include paying the fine, contesting the ticket in court, or attending traffic school in applicable cases.

FAQs

Q: How long does a cop have to dismiss a ticket after writing it?

A: There is no firm time limit. An officer can dismiss a ticket at their discretion shortly after issuing it or days/weeks later if new information comes to light. The best bet is contacting them ASAP to contest it.

Q: Can a ticket be cancelled if it hasn’t been entered into the system yet?

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A: Yes. Officers often have a grace period before submitted citations become part of the official record. This presents a great window to get a freshly written ticket revoked.

Q: What percentage of traffic tickets get dismissed?

A: Estimates vary, but research suggests somewhere between 10-30% of traffic tickets issued get dismissed before reaching court if motorists contest them politely and provide more context.

Q: Does a dismiss ticket stay on your record?

A: No. A successfully dismissed, retracted, or revoked traffic ticket is expunged from your driving history as if it was never issued.

Q: Can an officer dismiss a ticket after you’ve already paid it?

A: Unfortunately, no. Once a traffic ticket fine is paid, the matter is considered settled legally, with no avenue to pursue dismissal or get a refund from the officer.

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