How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Iowa
Iowa state traffic tickets are citations issued to motorists believed to have violated a traffic regulation. Persons that receive these tickets can choose to pay the fines or fight the citation. Traffic ticket fines can be paid in any of the following ways:
- Online: Concerned persons can pay their traffic tickets fines on the Iowa courts online website. The individual will be required to enter the ticket’s details to carry out the payment on the website.
- Mail: The address for accused motorists to mail their payments can be found on the back of the ticket. Concerned persons must ensure to enter the ticket number on their money order or check.
- In-person: Road-users can also visit the county court in the district where the ticket was issued to pay the fine.
If a motorist decides to fight the ticket, instructions on notifying the court are on the citation. Individuals served with traffic tickets should carefully read the citation as it contains information that can help fight it. The court where the case will be decided will depend on the area the defendant was cited.
The Iowa Motor Vehicle Division(MVD) maintains all state driver records and related documents. They are also tasked with processing tickets issued by law enforcement agencies. Below are some traffic violations in Iowa:
- Aggressive driving
- Driving recklessly
- Drunk driving
- Fleeing a police officer
- Hit and run
- Driving with a suspended license
In Iowa, accused motorists can avoid appearing in court if the citation is for a minor offense. After contesting the ticket, if the judge decides that the defendant is innocent, all charges will be dropped and the fines removed. However, the driver may be required to pay court costs and legal fees.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for 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 of 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 Iowa?
Yes, disputing traffic tickets in Iowa can be worth the time and resources expended. According to the state’s traffic laws, alleged offenders may contest their traffic tickets in courts. Deciding to pay the ticket fine is an inadvertent admission of guilt, and along with the associated penalties, the insurance premium of the offender may also be increased on account of their reckless road use. Ultimately, accumulated points on a driver’s record may result in the suspension of that motorist’s license.
Road traffic offenses committed outside the state may affect the motorist’s record as well. The Iowa MVD adds two points to the record of road-users driving with revoked licenses. The point for a drunk driving violation is four, while fleeing a police officer is five. Accumulating about 6–7 points in two years can lead to such persons losing their driving license.
Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Iowa
Contesting a traffic ticket in Iowa differs from county to county. Iowa district courts usually handle all of the state’s traffic cases. However, this may depend on the district where the driver was cited. Alleged offenders seeking to contest their ticket must first inform the court of the intention to fight the ticket.
The traffic citation contains information essential to persons who intend to contest the ticket, such as; the deadline for response, the appropriate court to contact, and how to do so. Interested persons may contact the court in-person, via phone, or by mail.
At the district court, the accused will be sent the time and address for the arraignment. Once the driver’s plea (not guilty) is recorded, the judge will proffer the trial date. At the trial, the party of the defendant will be allowed to:
- Question the officer
- Argue the law
- Showcase evidence
- Bring in witnesses
Following the trial, the judge will declare the court’s decision, but if it does not favor the defendant, they may opt to appeal the court’s judgment in a higher court.
How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court
Contesting an Iowa traffic ticket typically requires making a court appearance. However, a judge will be forced to dismiss the case if the officer that issued the citation fails to show up in court. If this happens, the defendant’s attorney can file a motion to have the case dismissed.
Also, having a credible traffic lawyer on the accused’s side is advantageous when negotiating a bargain with the prosecutor. Both parties can discuss and agreeably decide to settle the matter without going to court.
How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Iowa?
If a road-user is convicted of multiple moving offenses, the Iowa DOT (department of transportation) will order the accused to enroll in a driver improvement program. Following the completion of this program, the offender can get the ticket charges reduced. If the driver elects to participate voluntarily in a traffic school, they may also qualify for car insurance discounts.
Interested persons may complete the driving courses either in a classroom or online, depending on the reasons for enrolling in the program. To get a traffic ticket reduced through the driving program, participants will be required to adhere to the following instructions:
- Complete the course
- Finish the program by the given deadline date
- Submit the necessary documents and fees upon completion
Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Iowa?
Yes, motorists can get their speeding ticket dismissed in Iowa by taking an Iowa driver improvement program. Apart from helping to get a traffic ticket dismissed, this program offers interested parties the following:
- Possible car insurance discount.
- Satisfy certain traffic court requirements
- Prevent the suspension of a driver’s license
- Help reinstate an individual’s driving license
What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Iowa?
Depending on the violation, if a traffic offender pleads guilty in Iowa, their license may be taken away. According to the state’s speeding laws, a driver convicted of driving at 25 mph over the speed limit will have their licenses suspended.
Also, a speeding offense may result in a reckless driving conviction depending on various factors. In Iowa, the penalty for a traffic violation conviction may include 30 day jail time and fines ranging from $25 to $625.
If a traffic offense results in a person’s death, the offender could be convicted of “homicide by vehicle,” a felony crime. Parties convicted of a felony traffic offense may face a ten year jail time and fines from $1,000 to $10,000.
How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Iowa
Iowa Motorists who have decided to fight their citations are advised to employ an experienced traffic ticket lawyer’s services. The lawyer will help handle the case by building a strong defense against the prosecutor. Also, the attorney can help negotiate a bargain with the prosecuting officer if need be. Information on traffic ticket attorneys is available online in Iowa. Selected third-party sites also provide interested parties with attorney reviews, names, phone numbers, addresses, and credentials.