Pay Fine vs Going to Traffic Court

My question is pure speculation about going to traffic court vs just paying the fine. I was cited under Ohio’s “Move Over” law, which requires drivers to move over for workers and vehicles with flashing lights. I was driving westbound on I-70 west of Columbus, Ohio, and did not see the officer’s vehicle on the shoulder soon enough to move into the open lane. Instead, I slowed down and moved to the far edge of my lane then moved back into the center of my lane. The officer said he noted the lane next to me was clear, so I should have moved over, and gave me a $140 ticket.

The part that annoyed me is that I always slow down and move over for law enforcement/emergency vehicles, workers, bicycles, pedestrians, etc. Of course, the officer does not know my driving habits or history other than his computer tells him I am an old coot of 62 with no tickets for over 20 years. I considered making the court appearance, but it did not seem worth the 16-hour-round-trip drive. The $140 fine does not bother me as much as the citation on my driving record and admitting guilt when I feel I made a good faith effort to slow down and give the officer’s car extra space. I do not have a dashcam, so I guess it just would have come down to my word vs the officer’s word. My question is directed to those of you that have challenged a citation in court. What do you think my chances of having the ticket dismissed would have been?


Consider the $140 your additional road tax for the year.


I don’t know what your chance of having it dismissed are but if you do have it dismissed it will not go on your record.

look on the back of the ticket. there may be a way to contest it through the mail. sometimes there is a area to put a brief answer of what happened on the ticket its self. maybe add a letter to go with it.

My experience was I went to talk to the City attorney, they offered a plea deal before court which I took. Charge was going 47 in a 35, a 4 point violation, but on a 4 lane road a guy was passing me and I was you have the wrong car. I asked the attorney what he would do, he said well when I got caught in that speed trap… Reduced to 1 point violation for failure to obey an official sign, no court date needed.

In IL I got cited for speeding on the interstate, speed limit was 55 but everyone was going 75. I was the loner and got pulled over. Had the option of going to traffic school for a 4 hour session, costing $75 and the ticket would be dismissed, if you got a second ticket in a year and 8 hour class ticket dismissed, 3rd ticket in a year you would have to appeal to a judge for another 8 hour class, and have the ticket dismissed, I only had one so no worries.


There’s a chance the cop won’t show for the hearing, at which point you move for a dismissal.

1 Like

Just to be clear. I already paid the fine. My case is closed. I live 450 miles from where I was ticketed, so I opted to pay online.

I am interested in learning what other people have done and how it turned out for them.

I think your chances of winning this are about as close to zero as it can get. Considering a 16 hour round trip drive I’d just pay the fine and try to forget it happened. Agonizing won’t help.
As mentioned, dismissal could occur if the cop does not show up but odds are that he will. That’s a lot of driving and gasoline for a gamble.

Last time I challenged a couple of tickets I discovered that there was a witness against me when I showed up for court. The judge asked the city attorney if he was prepared to move forward and the CA said yes. At that point this witness was mentioned; first to my knowledge. The witness was a no show.

The judge absolutely crucified the city attorney who tried to claim the officer was all that was needed. The judge was not having it. The judge said I asked; you said you were ready. YOU lied to me. That was followed by the judge threatening the CA with contempt of court if he said one more word, banged the gavel, and sent me on my way with a have a good day comment. Yeah, I was gloating the entire time and to rub it in a bit; winked at the CA and cop on my way out.
Most do not work out like this though.

1 Like

my daughter was driving in a down pour in a unfamiliar neighborhood looking for a certain street. she stopped for the stop sign then rolled up a bit to see the sign better. the cop gave her a ticket for rolling through the stop sign. she went to court to fight it and they knocked the ticket down to half. she was hoping for them to drop the whole ticket.

I went to court to contest one ticket a long time ago. It was for following too close. I’ve had maybe 3 or 4 tickets in my life, all when I was younger. This was the only one I contested. The cop pulled me over about 3 miles from where it allegedly happened. I didn’t do anything wrong so I went to court.

The cop didn’t show up to court so it was settled in a few minutes. I think the fine was cut in half or dismissed completely. It was 25 years ago so I can’t remember the details.

I definitely wouldn’t drive 16 hours for a $140 ticket though, not worth it.

I remember waiting in traffic court, very few cops show up for it. Most of the fines were reduced or dismissed. I remember there was one guy who had a ticket for going 58 in a 55 zone. The judge just hit the gavel and said dismissed and everyone chuckled.

I don’t remember all the details, In Chicago had a group of traffic offenses, and judge told them if no one objects I will dismiss all the charges. One guy objected, day in court.

That is pretty much it. Without any evidence supporting my position, it seemed like a lost cause.

One thing is certain, if you simply pay up you’ve then admitted guilt (or at least that you have no viable defense) and the citation will go on your permanent record. One one hand paying up is probably the common sense thing to do given the distances involved and the relatively small fine. For comparison his same offense would bring a fine of at least $450 in my area of California. On the other hand if you show up for the court hearing there’s a reasonably good chance the police officer won’t be able to show up, at which point then you have an excellent chance the ticket will be dismissed. You could cite the part of the US Constitution’s civil rights section which says everyone has the right to face (i.e. question) their accuser. If the officer does show up you’ll have to have some type of alternate plausible deniability ready to state (beyond hoping the officer doesn’t show) otherwise the judge might get annoyed w/you and increase the fine.

Years ago I went to traffic court and one of the other cases was similar to yours. A young woman said she was driving on the freeway in rush hour traffic and a minor fender bender in her lane force her to go around the accident using the shoulder at less than 5 mph. The officer attending to the fender bender stopped her and gave her the ticket. She brought her friend to court and they and the officer all offered their testimony. The judge decided that what she did was a technical violation, in that particular circumstance it was within the realm of common sense to just bypass the accident using the shoulder at slow, safe speed, and the judge dismissed the ticket. Afterward she, her friend, and I all went to lunch together to celebrate!

The few times I showed up the cop didn’t, the judge dismissed the case without me saying anything. Don’t these violations affect insurance premiums?

A friend who lived in Maryland got a ticket in New Mexico, appeared via phone, got off - his ‘violation’ happened when he hit ice near Cline’s Corners and lost control, not something he did on purpose.

Typical for SLOWHIO.

Just pay the dang fine. You were obviously in the left lane with the right lane clear. You should be normally driving in the right lane except to pass. I’m very familiar with that route but still stay out of the left lane. Nothing like the fine I paid in Indianapolis from a not very friendly trooper. The thing is every year troopers have been killed by people crashing into them on the side of the road. It has gotten serious. I’ve always paid the fines though and ever since I was 15 don’t like judges and try to stay away from them. So I disqualify myself from knowing the odds in “traffic court”.

Seemed like a stupid ticket if it was as the OP described. The trooper must have been having a bad day or something. $140 is still not worth the time to contest it unless you live in the area and are retired and have nothing better to do. If I remember correctly, it is only arraignment court, if you plead not guilty, you are coming BACK for the actual trial. Another trip, another day, another waste of time…

It is Ohio traffic court, you are going to lose.

1 Like

The one speeding ticket I’ve had I deserved so I paid the ticket. (In all honesty should have had a few more but wasn’t caught.)

It was within a local municipality in the metro area. The cop confiscated my license which I had seven days to get back by paying the ticket in person at the city hall. The citation was my “license” until then. I didn’t give the cop grief as I had been speeding. And I suppose because I had a clean driving record and was courteous, albeit not a happy camper, he wrote the ticket for a speed that didn’t require I go to court.

My confrontation was when I went to pay the ticket. Walked into the appropriate city hall office, saw three women together gabbing so politely waited, and waited, and waited. Finally I asked if I was in the right location to pay a traffic ticket. They briefly glared at me across the room and otherwise ignored me. Happened twice more.

By the time five minutes went by I was mad. I finally spoke tartly and asked a fourth time. One rude dimwit then stomped over to behind a counter and acidly asked me what I wanted. Wrong attitude. I’d had enough.

I got smart mouthed and said I was there to ransom my drivers license.

That had Rude Dimwit threaten to get a police officer. Fine by me sis. While you’re at it get the Police Chief in here. Hell, let’s get the Mayor involved. Maybe one of them will let me pay the ticket and get my license returned. Now do I get to ransom my license before or after I call in a cop???!!!

Paid the fine, got back my license, went home and promptly wrote and mailed nastygrams to both the Chief and the Mayor about Rude Dimwit. Oh, I kept the letters civil and businesslike but very blunt. Never got a reply.

But I did run into the same cop a few months later in the convenience store of a gas station. When he saw me he just grinned, asked how I was doing, told me “good job young lady,” to watch my speed, and have a good day, then walked out the door laughing.


Agree I have gotten a few speeding tickets in Sloiho in my truck driving days after the second or third one I asked to see his computer screen with my speed he said he did not see me speeding that it was the police air plane that saw me and called him on the radio to pull me over I id not argue with him and took the ticked and went on my way by the way there was a lot of truck traffic in the area and I have always wondered how the piolet picked me out of the ten or more trucks that were close to me shortly before midnight on a dark night. The few tickets that I got after that I paid through the mail. I think not just Ohio but any where that cops have a quota to fill they pick on long haul truckers as they know that it is very unlikely the driver will not go to court like the OP because of the distance by the way none of my Ohio tickets never showed up on my record.