Many people who receive traffic infractions or ordinance violations find that they don’t have much of an opportunity to actually contest them. Most of the time, the cost of an attorney is significantly higher than just paying a ticket, so drivers will pay the ticket and move on, even if they don’t agree with the ticket. In traffic cases, you have a short window within which to pay the ticket or face a license suspension. In the event you contest a ticket in a city or town court and lose, you are entitled to something called a “Trial de Novo”. Even if you originally admit to committing the infraction, you may still request a Trial de Novo, however you are not entitled to it like you are if you go to trial and lose.
In the simplest terms, a Trial de Novo is a new trial. In order to get this new trial, the defendant must file a written request with the circuit court clerk in the county in which the city or town is located. This absolutely must be done within 15 days of the judgement against you being entered. You can request to have a second trial, withdraw your admission if you didn’t have a trial, or to merely ask the circuit court to reassess the sanctions imposed. This last option could be useful if you do admit that you were speeding, but you don’t think the penalty imposed was fair.
There is a particular caveat included with this strange provision in the rules. The caveat is that you must also post a bond in order to secure your trial de novo. You essentially need to pay, up front, the court costs required to undergo the trial, as well as the potential fine in case you lose. If you cannot pay this money up front, you may file an indigency request.
This may seem like a lot of work for a simple infraction or ordinance violation, but if you already have a lot of points on your license, or if you have a CDL, this could be worth pursuing. You never know what might happen by taking a second crack at a trial in front of a different Judge in a different Court. There are not many areas of the law where something like this is possible. If this is something you are interested in doing then I recommend hiring an attorney as soon as possible. The 15-day deadline to file your request is strict.
Reach out to the attorneys at Banks and Brower if you recently received a judgement against you following an infraction or an ordinance violation so we can discuss the possibility of a Trial de Novo. Call or email today at 317.526.4630 or firstname.lastname@example.org, 24/7/365.