I'm looking for some advice regarding a court date I have for a traffic violation. I received a ticket for running a red light a few months ago and received the citation in the mail recently. The fine is $489! This is ridiculous, so I'm going to court in the hopes of getting the citation waived or a reduced fine.
Is there anything I should know or do before going to my court date? Should I dress nice or have my case all set up? I've never gone to court and want to look/act appropriately.
Also if the officer who cited me does not show up does my ticket get waived? I'm not sure if that is a myth or not.
Now onto my ticket and why I'm going to court over it. I volunteered to pick up my brother-in-law from the bars one night and was woken up to pick him up. After picking him up I approached a green left turn light and noticed as I was approaching the cop car sitting across the intersection and from what I thought the straight green light turning red. I 100% genuinely thought the straight light was turning red and the left turn was still green. The lights are situated close together and at 1:30 am they looked alike.
Well I immediately got pulled over and had no clue why I was. I knew the cop was sitting at the intersection prior to entering it and definitley wouldn't have ran the light if I realized it was red. I was in no hurry and hadn't drank/taken substances at all. The cop was nice and I did all the right things when he pulled me over (turn the car off, turn on the interior lights, license, registration, insurance and my hands on the wheel). Obviously the cop thought I was on something, but issued me my ticket and let me go on my way. I understand now that I was most likely wrong, but at the time I was 100% convinced I hadn't done anything wrong.
In your experiences is there any chance of a reduced fine or getting out of the ticket? I'm not trying to cheat anyone, I just don't have the money to pay the ticket. After traffic school I will be out close to $600 and I really don't have that kind of money to spend. That's close to a months rent for me. Thanks for your time and I appreciate all that LEO's do for our communities.