Are you an undocumented immigrant who has been issued a traffic ticket?
Did you try to pay your ticket, but the Court refused your payment?
If so, this article will help you understand the legal process, your rights and your obligations, generally.
The attorneys at Griffith Xidias Law Group understand that getting a ticket and worrying about court is very stressful, especially for undocumented immigrants. With the ongoing political changes, worrying about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) only adds to your stress. However, you cannot ignore your ticket or an order to appear in court. These legal problems will not go away over time. Instead, you need to seek knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel to learn about your rights and obligations. Often, an experienced lawyer can help in these situations.
Traffic Court Proceedings
If you have received a ticket for a traffic violation, the ticket should have instructions on when and where you must go to court. Your first court date is usually an “arraignment.” At the arraignment, you generally have two options:
- Plead not guilty, or
- Plead guilty or “no contest.”
If you plead not guilty, the court will set a new date at which a trial will be held. At the trial, there will be a prosecuting attorney who represents the State of Indiana, and any witnesses the State may call, such as the officer who gave you the ticket. The State will present evidence against you. You will have to defend against the charges. After hearing both sides, the judge will make a ruling. If you lose the trial, I penalty will be assessed against you. That penalty may range anywhere from a simple monetary fine up to jail time for more serious circumstances.
Can an experienced lawyer help you?
Many of the prosecuting agencies are willing to work with attorneys to offer diversion programs. A diversion is where you plead “no contest” to the charges, pay a fine, and agree to certain conditions (such as not getting in trouble for a set period of time). In exchange, and if you satisfy the conditions, the State dismisses the charges against you. The other great benefit of a diversion is that you usually avoid going to court.
If you are not eligible for diversion, an experienced attorney can help negotiate a plea deal with the prosecuting agency. We often work to limit the penalties and monetary fines are clients face. Unlike a diversion, a plea deal results in a conviction on your record. Also, a plea deal requires you to go to court and speak to the judge. We always try to eliminate the need for our clients to go to court, but it is never a guarantee. Nor can we guarantee that ICE will not be at the court.
Fortunately, Griffith Xidias Law Group also provides immigration law services, which experience helps us fully understand why the idea of going to court can be so scary. If ICE is there at a traffic violation hearing, we know what steps to take, and can act quickly and respond appropriately.
Schedule a free consultation
Traffic court is not overly complex, but it can be very intimidating, especially if you do not have legal training. You should consult with a knowledgeable attorney to better understand the process and help you decide how to handle the traffic ticket and whether to hire an attorney to represent you.
If you have questions about this article or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact us at 317-236-0486.