When you don’t obey the rules of the road, and you are caught, you will certainly get a ticket in form of a fine, or you could get arrested, or even have your car impounded in worse case scenarios.
One of the traffic offenses that attract fines and tickets is the seat belt offense. Every driver knows that he or she is supposed to always wear their seat belt before they get on the road, but for some reason, many don’t.
If you get on the road without having your seat belt done, and you are caught, you will get a seat belt ticket. How do you then get a seat belt ticket dismissed after you have been given it?
Can I Get a Seat Belt Ticket Dismissed?
Yes, you can get a seat belt ticket dismissed. There are sometimes when you have a very valid explanation as to why you weren’t wearing a seat belt when you were caught and given a ticket.
If you can provide a reasonable, valid explanation why the highway patrol officer caught you driving without a ticket, then there are chances that your seat belt ticket will be dismissed.
You also have to make this case in front of the assigned traffic court. So, yes, you can get a seat belt ticket revoked as long as you can show that you shouldn’t have been given the ticket in the first place.
How to Get a Seat Belt Ticket Dismissed
To get a seat belt ticket dismissed:
1. Visit the District Attorney’s Office
You can visit the District Attorney’s (DA) office to give a valid reason why your seat belt was not done at the time of pullover.
Your reason must be genuine, and you could argue along the lines of how the ticket was completely unfair.
The thing with visiting the DA’s office is if you completed a driving school, and you have the certificate to show for it, as well as a valid reason, it wouldn’t take too much for the DA to revoke or have your ticket dismissed.
However, if you do not have proof of completion of a driving school, you might as well not bother using this method. Don’t panic, there are other things to do to get your seat belt ticket dismissed.
2. Blame it on a Faulty Seat Belt Buckle
In a lot of states, you have an allowance of driving without your seat belt if the seat belt buckle is damaged. You might be required to prove that the seat belt buckle is damaged though before the ticket gets dismissed.
Although several states allow for this, you are always advised to get your seat belt buckle that won’t latch repaired as soon as possible, because you cannot use this method twice in a row to get a seat belt ticket dismissed.
3. Don’t Pay the Fine
Now, this method has some form of risk involved, but it is also another sure way of getting your seat belt ticket dismissed.
Once the court invoice or attention from the court for you to pay a fine for the seat belt ticket gets to your doorstep, ignore it! Don’t pay the fine!
Instead of paying the fine, pick a date for your court appearance, and go to court, praying that the officer who booked your ticket doesn’t show up.
If he doesn’t show up, then it is your lucky day! The ticket will be dismissed by the judge as a result of the absence of the officer who booked the ticket.
Most times, the officers have more important things to do, and then they don’t show up. However, there are times that they show up and battle it out with you. This is why this particular method is risky.
If the officer responsible for the ticket appears in court, then you have no choice but to do everything you can to convince the judge that the ticket was given to you unfairly.
Since this is a fifty-fifty method, before you appear in court, prepare a convincing story you would tell, if the officer appears in court. Go there prepared.
Don’t let your only strategy be that you are praying the officer doesn’t appear. Prepare for the worst.
If you have taken this risk and have fallen on the wrong side of the coin; that is the officer appears in court, there is one more thing you can do to get an advantage over the officer and get your seat belt ticket dismissed.
4. Present a Witness
Get yourself a witness who wouldn’t appear to the court as partial. A witness can help you gain an edge over the officer in court.
The witness you present must have seen the event of the ticketing when it occurred and should be able to convince the court that the ticket was unfair, or that you were putting on your seat belt.
If the witness is convincing enough, then it is a good day for you, and your ticket will get dismissed.
5. Ignore the Ticket
This is an unconventional way of getting a ticket dismissed, but it works sometimes. You can ignore the ticket completely, and as a result, you miss your trial date.
Who knows, it might have been a mistake and the judge and officer will have it dismissed, or they might just decide, after your first absence, to dismiss the ticket.
Again, this works purely by chance. It is not an advisable way of getting your seat belt ticket dismissed.
6. Pay the Fine
This is the state’s preferred method of getting a seat belt ticket, or any ticket whatsoever dismissed.
When the court invoice appears on your doorstep, you can choose to be a law-abiding citizen and simply pay the fine, no questions asked. Especially when you know that you are guilty, and the ticket has been drawn fairly.
Should I Plead Not Guilty to a Seat Belt Ticket?
Yes! Yes! Always! Yes! If you appear in court, then you should plead not guilty to the seat belt ticket. You might be in luck and the officer that gave you the ticket won’t even be in court.
If you plead not guilty, and the officer isn’t in court, the case will be thrown out of court, and the seat belt ticket will get dismissed.
Always plead not guilty. Even if the officer is in court, you should prepare a very solid argument and try to convince the judge to dismiss the ticket.
Don’t tell the court that the reason why you did not use your seatbelt was that your seat belt was very dirty and you were wearing a white shirt. It will worsen the case because normally, you are supposed to clean your seat belt.
Give convincing reasons to while you were not wearing the seat belt. Luckily, the judge would err on your side.
Does a Seat Belt Ticket Affect Insurance?
Yes. A seat belt ticket affects your insurance rates, but not as much as other traffic offenses.
This is because, in a lot of states, a seat belt ticket is considered a very minute offense, a conditional ticket, and doesn’t have to be given all the time. Also, in many states, it is considered a non-moving violation.
For this reason, even though it might affect your insurance rates, its effect isn’t something to worry too much about.
How Much is a Seat Belt Ticket?
On average, when an adult is caught violating the seat belt rule, it attracts a fine of one hundred and sixty-two dollars ($162), and if it is a child who has violated this rule, it means that the adult was not responsible enough to instruct the child about his or her seat belt, and that attracts more fines.
For this reason, if a child, who is under the age of sixteen (16) violates this rule, the adult driver will be fined to the tune of four hundred and ninety dollars ($490).
In order not to be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt, it is important to always abide by the seat belt rule, and always have your seat belt on.
However, whenever it is unavoidable, and you have attracted a ticket, there are ways to have it dismissed such as paying the fine, appealing to the DA, pleading not guilty in court, missing your trial date, and preparing a convincing argument, and so on.