How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Nebraska
Nebraska traffic tickets are formal notices to road users or motorists who have committed traffic offenses defined under Chapter 60, Nebraska Revised Statute. These offenses can be infractions, misdemeanors, or city ordinances. Traffic tickets, officially called Uniform Citation and Complaint, are issued to motorists by law enforcement agents and resolved in the County Courts per the state’s Criminal Procedures. However, in some cases, citations are sent to offenders by mail or delivered by personal service. Citations or traffic tickets contain the information of offenders, description of offenses, location/time of violations, and other relevant details. In Nebraska, traffic tickets can be resolved in three ways: by court appearance, by paying and attending a Diversion S. T. O.P Class, or by waiver (paying the ticket). There are several legal and financial implications attached to getting these tickets and being convicted of, or pleading to, traffic violations in the state. Some of which include fines, license/driving privilege suspensions, probation, demerit points, incarceration, and increased auto insurance premiums.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in Nebraska?
Seeing as a ticketed person is subject to an array of penalties for traffic convictions or guilty pleas, it may well be worth it to fight a traffic ticket in Nebraska. Another reason to contest a citation is if a person can provide evidence to either support that the ticket was issued in error or the person is truly innocent of the charge. Otherwise, the penalty imposed by the court at the time of a guilty conviction will be more serious than if the defendant had waived the right to a court appearance by paying the ticket. It is advisable to get legal help to understand if contesting a ticket is a viable option.
Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Nebraska
To fight a traffic ticket in Nebraska, an individual must appear in court on the date and time indicated on the ticket. At the court appearance or arraignment, the person’s rights, charges, and penalties will be explained by a judge, and that person will be asked to enter a plea. This plea may either be guilty or not guilty. Some judges may allow a plea of “no contest,” but it is treated as a guilty plea in the State of Nebraska. Anyone who enters a not-guilty plea will be given a date for trial. The court may, as well, set a status hearing (docket call) to determine if the case can be resolved without a trial and if the defendant has legal representation. An offender has the right to hire a private attorney or proceed without one. For a jailable offense, the court may appoint a lawyer to represent an offender who cannot afford legal representation. A defendant has the right to a jury trial for any case that is not a city/municipal ordinance. At the trial, the defendant or defendant’s lawyer may call witnesses, present evidence, and question the ticketing officer. The defendant may also choose to testify.
After the trial, a defendant who is found not guilty is released from all charges and penalties. If found guilty, such a person will be sentenced according to Chapter 8, Nebraska Revised Statute. The penalties for convictions may include fines, court costs, probation, victim compensation/restitution, and jail, including points assessed against the offender’s driving record by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles. A convicted person is also subject to higher car insurance rates and, depending on the traffic offense, driver license suspensions, revocations, or impoundments. Traffic convictions that can result in suspensions include reckless driving, vehicular homicide, no proof of insurance, failure to submit to chemical tests, vehicle-related crimes, among others.
How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court Nebraska
Nebraska courts do not provide alternative methods by which an offender may fight or challenge a traffic ticket without going to court. When the offense is a minor traffic violation as defined by § 29–3605, an offender can hire an attorney to handle the legal process without such a person appearing in court. However, this does not apply to major traffic violations that require mandatory court appearances such as leaving the scene of an accident, speeding 20 miles or more over the posted speed limit, driving under the influence, reckless driving, or driving without insurance. Under § 29–426, persons who fail to appear in court on their court date are subject to a fine not above $500, and jail time not above three months, or both. The Nebraska DMV may also suspend, revoke, or impound the individual’s license.
How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Nebraska?
An offender may contact or visit the appropriate Nebraska court (the one listed on the traffic ticket) to inquire about fine reductions for traffic offenses as this information is not publicly available. It is also possible to reduce point assessments by enrolling in a driver improvement course approved by the Nebraska DMV under § 60–4,188. However, this course is only available to persons with less than 12 points on their driving records.
Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Nebraska?
A Nebraska speeding or traffic ticket cannot be dismissed unless for a legal reason. Also, a speeding ticket cannot be dismissed for any excuse/defense such as intending not to exceed speed limits, driving according to the flow of traffic, or implying that the ticketing officer deliberately issued the ticket and allowed other offending drivers to go unpunished.
In the state, certain minor traffic or speeding violations (following too closely, driving too fast for conditions, negligent driving, improper turns), may be dismissed if the offender attends a Traffic Diversion S. T. O.P (Safety Training Option Program) Class. Ineligible offenses include speeding more than 19 mph over the speed limit, accident-related offenses, fleeing to avoid arrest, and driving while suspended. By participating in the S. T. O.P program, ticketed persons can avoid fines, court costs, court appearances, points, and upon completion of the program, have their cases dismissed. However, just as not all offenses are eligible, not all persons are eligible. An offender can only attend this program once every three years and must complete the class in person or online or risk the prosecutor refiling charges. Registration for this program must occur within ten business days of receiving a ticket to avoid court costs. Individuals may register by visiting a county’s Community Corrections Office in person; most counties provide online registration options. The relevant law enforcement agency or prosecutor’s office may be contacted for more information on the S. T. O.P program.
Also, under § 60–3,167(2), Nebraska Revised Statute, a prosecutor or county attorney may consider dismissals for persons who, at the time of the citation, could not provide proof/evidence of insurance, financial responsibility, or automobile liability policy, and who provided such documents to the prosecutor/county attorney within 10 days after the documents were requested. These persons may have their tickets dismissed without prosecution.
What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Nebraska?
Individuals cited for minor traffic violations are given the option to waive their right to a court appearance by paying the ticket fines and costs established on the statewide Waiver/Fine Schedule. To know if a ticket can be waived, an offender may check the ticket to confirm that the “waiver allowed” box was checked. However, guilty pleas come with certain legal and financial consequences, including fines and court costs, community service, increased auto insurance quotes, and traffic convictions on the driver’s record.
How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Nebraska
Legal assistance or representation can positively impact the outcome of a traffic case in Nebraska. An attorney is valuable when trying to reduce or avoid charges, fines, and other associated penalties. Interested parties may find traffic ticket attorneys in Nebraska through the Nebraska State Bar Association’s (NSBA) Find-A-Lawyer Service. The NSBA also provides other legal resources for the public. Furthermore, the Legal Resources & Information page of the state’s judicial website has significant information on locating qualified lawyers within the state.