So, I had to go to traffic court yesterday. Here a couple of things I learned that could come in handy should you ever find yourself trying to fight a ticket in the Capital Region.

About 8 months or so ago I got rerouted on my way to work due to construction on the 787 on ramp in Albany and ended up taking a route I had never driven before which ultimately resulted in me getting a minor speeding ticket.

Since this was the first speeding ticket I had received in quite sometime and to be honest I think in New York State the whole process was a bit confusing for me. However, after spending a good 3 hours or so in traffic court yesterday I feel like I have learned somethings that might be useful to know should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

1.) Plead 'Not Guilty' on your ticket especially if you feel like you were wrongfully accused or are looking for some help on receiving less points or reducing your fine.

2.) Always request a Supporting Deposition. There is a box on your ticket to check off to request this before sending it in. When I got mine I wasn't sure what this meant so I didn't check it but while in court I quickly gathered that the supporting deposition is like the equivalent of "the cop not showing up to court'.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect out of traffic court when I went so I had asked a couple of people who I knew had been there before for advice and quite a few of those people said to me "hope the cop doesn't show up so your ticket gets dismissed". Well, in reality that is not how it works. My issuing officer was not in court yesterday and I still had to negotiate a plea. However, I learned that the supporting deposition comes from your ticketing officer and if in the event that officer didn't get a chance to provide one before your court date for one reason or another then your ticket gets dismissed. So always ask for a supporting deposition!

3.) Show up to court early! I cannot stress this enough unless you want to be sitting in that room for hours listening to everyone's cases. To give you an idea I got my ticket in September of 2017  went to court in June of 2018 and I'm pretty sure that everyone that had got a ticket in that county (which in known for them by the way) in that time frame was there. When you go in you have to sign in and ideally you get called up in the order you arrive and signed in. Court was set for 5:30 I got there at 10 minutes to 5 and was there until almost 8 o'clock.

4.) Ask questions! Going to court can be very intimidating even if it is just for a minor violation. While you can hire a lawyer to help you along the way that could end up being more costly than your original ticket  (I did hear however, that some insurance companies offer traffic court lawyers as part of your policy so that is something you might want to look into). The judge and prosecutor have a tendency to speak in legal jargon which can be really confusing so make sure you know what you are pleading to and why and what that means for you. If you find that you are in over your head you can always ask for an adjournment so that you can seek council or advice.

5.) Bring cash. In the event that you are not successful in getting your ticket dismissed you will have to pay the court. Now they will give you some time to pay your fine, usually 30 or 60 days but if you don't want this ticket to drag on you can pay right there but know that cash is king. Not only will you be paying your fine but more than likely you will be paying an additional $25 surcharge and if you choose to pay with a credit or debit card they charge you an extra 3% so plan accordingly.

Of course no one wants to ever get a ticket or have to go to traffic court but it happens. I hope my experience can make yours a little less painless. If you have any tips you want to add feel free to leave them in the comments!