How to defend myself in court

Preparations on how to defend itself in court

  • It is of primary importance to prepare before going in court in front of a judge.

  • I will explain you in a few lines the most important preparations….

  • You will understand many things.

  • But it is not a recipe...

  • Going in court is not a game...

  • It is necessary to prepare yourself mentally before going in court in front of a judge without a lawyer to represent you.


You have to do your own thinking. You will have to adapt your preparation according to your personal situation and the infraction reproached to you. Another factor to consider is your driving record. That record is your business, but it is sure that it can affect on your fate.

If the ticket relates to a serious or a criminal act, consult your lawyer (see section Do I need a lawyer)! If the ticket is for a simple infringement of a stop or a light, without another thing (dangerous driving , impaireddriving), it's ok, continue to read… I will explain you how to defend yourself in court as well as some preparations.

You must start by answering the ticket. Indicate “Not guilty and I protest” (or something like that, according to the city where the ticket was emitted) and follow the instructions mentioned on the ticket that was given to you and the send the response by the post or fax. They will then send another notice still asking you to you to pay immediately if you change your mind and do not want to protest anymore.

If you do not have changed your mind and still want to protest, you simply ignore this notice. Later, you will receive another notice in which they ask you if you have a preference of date for your appearance in court. I recommend you to choose a precise date which is appropriate to you and also early the morning. Delays will be less possible and the judge will be less tired and surely less impatient.

IMPORTANT: You will not be able to protest your ticket after having recognized the infringement or after having paid the fine.

You must ask for the “communication of the proof”. This term should not frighten you! It is the file the court will have against you. The judge and the Attorney General's prosecutor will have this file with them. The Attorney General's prosecutor represents the police officer and the city that sue you concerning the notice of infringement that you received. Read the section “police report” to know how to proceed to obtain the “communication of the proof”.

Will the police officer be in court? Read the following section in the menu.

In front of the judge, it will be necessary for you to know your story. You should not read, in the worst case, bring you a paper with the broad outline.

You must arrive in advance! That will allow you:

  • to see a case in front of a judge

  • to see the cases of the other people before you

  • to reduce your stress.

  • to know the judge and his/her reactions, what irritates him/her or not.

It is by listening to the stories of the people who passed before me in front of the judge that I took note, in my head, the top 5 of the things not to do….

In front of the judge, be polite, properly dressed, not too (no jacket, no tear). Be aware of non-verbal when the judge questions you. Do not look at the ceiling.

Speak only when asked to, answer simply and shortly.
==> get to the FACTS! Do not say anything else. Na.

Only talk about your “infringement”. If the police officer mentioned errors in his story, it is not important. Concentrate on convincing the judge that the reproached infringement did not occur. But you are not a used car salesman. Say only the truth. Say only the facts related to the infringement.

In my case, the police officer indicated in his police report that I drove at 50 km/h. It is completely false. I did not certainly drive at more than 20 km/h since, a few seconds before, my vehicle was completely immobilized. I do not drive a convertible Mustang… I have a truck! Anyway, the judge does not care. My infringement was not about speed excess; it is a red light.

Same thing if you found that the police officer was not nice to you. The judge does not care about your feelings. Neither do The Attorney General's Prosecutor and the lawyer. The judge just wants to figure out if you have done or not the infraction that you protest.

Protect your driver's license and reputation by contacting a qualified San Diego DUI Attorney.

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