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8 top traffic ticket myths

Drivers of red cars get more tickets. Don't sign a ticket and the case will be dropped.

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If the officer gets your hair color wrong on the ticket, you'll win.

Urban myths relating to traffic tickets abound, but drivers and defendants will find that few of them are true.

The best advice is to simply obey the law, know that rules and procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and don't count on these myths when you're hoping to escape a ticket -- or the consequences.

Myth No. 1: If the officer makes a single mistake on your ticket, the case will be dropped.
A ticket should be seen as an accusatory instrument and a basis for prosecution that must be factually valid, says Matisyahu Wolfberg, an attorney from Spring Valley, N.Y., who represents defendants in traffic cases and lists tips on his Web site www.notspeeding.com. Clerical mistakes, such as a wrong number or wrong order of a person's name, are usually overlooked. Material mistakes, like the identity of the driver, the direction of travel, the street where the citation occurred or the description of the vehicle, can usually help a driver win the case.

8 common ticket myths
1.If the officer makes a single mistake on your ticket, the case is dropped.
2.If the officer doesn't show up in court, you automatically win.
3.Red cars get more tickets.
4.You need a lawyer to beat a ticket.
5.If you get a ticket in another state, your home state won't find out about it.
6.You can make up an excuse to get out of the ticket.
7.A radar detector will ensure that you never get pulled over.
8.If you don't sign the ticket, it will be dismissed.

"Any mistakes that involve who, where and how, usually can be used to beat the case in a trial. If the description of the vehicle is inaccurate, the officer will usually lose," says Wolfberg. He recalls one recent case in which the officer cited a white Mercedes when the defendant was actually driving a black Porsche.

Myth No. 2: If the officer doesn't show up in court, you automatically win.
While this may happen in many cases, there's nothing "automatic" about it. Most judges will drop a case if the officer does not appear in court because defendants have the constitutional right to question their accusers. However, in some jurisdictions, a case is scheduled at a time to help ensure the officer is present, or a judge will reschedule the case altogether. Wolfberg says that in most cases an officer not showing up will result in a dismissal, but there is no guarantee.

"It all depends on the jurisdiction, the court, the judge, the law," says Wolfberg. "Most judges feel the pain of people taking time off work and out of their lives to come to court and will dismiss if the officer doesn't show."

 
 
Next: "The bold color tends to attract more attention from everyone."
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