How To Prepare for Court when Caught Driving with an Expired License

Most of the time, driving with an expired license is a criminal offense.Police officers will only give warnings if you have this status.In some cases, the officer could cite you for a violation or infraction.If you have been caught driving with an expired license, you need to decide how you will proceed.You can pay your fine without going to court.Prepare for your court appearance and go to court if the charge is serious enough for you to fight it.

Step 1: Why did you receive a citation?

If you were pulled over for a number of reasons and the police officer found out you had an expired license, you probably received a citation.The type of citation you received was up to the officer.Did you treat the officer with respect and dignity, or did you pull you over because you have a warrant out for your arrest?

Step 2: Do you know if you were written up?

The officer will give you a piece of paper at the end of the traffic stop.The piece of paper will either be a warning or citation.You don’t need to prepare for court if it is a warning.If you received a citation, you have to prepare for court.In most states citations have boxes that can be checked by officers to see if the citation is a violation or a felony.Look at what box is checked when you find this area of your citation.If you were written up for an infraction, you won’t need to attend any court hearings.A small fine is the penalty for an infraction.The maximum fine in California is $250.The maximum fine in Delaware is $100.

Step 3: Do you know if you were written up for a crime?

You will need to prepare for court if you were written up for a crime.An infraction is not as severe as a misdemeanor.Your driving history is one of the most important factors officers will consider when deciding whether or not to cite you.The officer will only cite you for an infraction if this is your first offense.If you are a repeat violator, you may be written up for a misdemeanour.If you were found guilty of a crime, you may have to go to jail, pay large fines, or have your car seized.

Step 4: You should read the rest of the citation.

Other important information will be contained in the citation you receive from the officer.The citation will include the officer’s information, a reference to the law you are alleged to have violated, the amount of the fine, and the date of your first court appearance.You should make a note of all the information so you can prepare for court.

Step 5: Understand the legal process after being cited.

After you receive a citation from an officer, that officer will submit a report to the prosecutor’s office in your community.The prosecutor will make a decision on how to charge you.The prosecutor will usually agree with the officer’s actions when it comes to driving with an expired license.The prosecutor has the power to reduce your charge or even dismiss it.The court will have a record of your alleged violation once a charge has been filed.The judge will have all the information in front of him or her when you arrive for your first court appearance.

Step 6: Hire a lawyer.

Depending on the citation you received and the facts surrounding your case, you can hire a lawyer.At your initial court appearance, the case can be handled on your own if you were charged with an infraction.If the case seems complicated, hiring a lawyer may be the best option.Criminal defense lawyers will usually charge a few hundred dollars for these cases.The state bar association has a lawyer referral service.After answering a few general questions about your case, you will be put in touch with qualified lawyers in your area.Make sure your lawyer knows how to handle citation-based cases.The cases are usually resolved at the very first court appearance, so your lawyer will need to be prepared.

Step 7: The law should be reviewed.

It’s important to understand the law if you’re going to hire a lawyer.State laws make it an offense to drive a motor vehicle on a road without a valid license.One form of invalid license is expired.If the prosecutor wants to prove you are guilty of this offense, he or she will need to show that you did not have a valid license at the time you drove.The first element won’t be an issue if you were pulled over by an officer while driving a car on the road.The burden of proof is different in these cases.The prosecution doesn’t have to prove both elements beyond a reasonable doubt.The prosecution just has to say that you weren’t properly licensed when you drove.If you want to beat the allegation, you will have to prove that you were licensed.

Step 8: The proceedings should be put off.

If you drove with an expired license, the first thing to do is to delay the proceedings so you have time to get a valid license.You can delay it if you have enough time to do it.To request a postponement, you need to send a letter to the court and prosecutor.When you draft a continuance request, you need to tell the court why you are asking for one.You need to tell the court if the prosecution is okay with the postponement.

Step 9: A new license is needed.

If you can get the proceedings postponed long enough to get a new license, most courts and prosecutors will reduce the charge to an infraction.A lot of courts will reduce the amount of your fine if you were charged with an infraction.If you want to apply for a renewal, you need to get a ride to the Department of Motor Vehicles.Don’t drive.When you get a new license, you will have to pay late fees because your license has already expired.

Step 10: Favorable evidence should be gathered.

If you’re stopped for driving with an expired license, the best defense is to show that you actually have a license.The burden of proof will be on you.To prove your case, you need to collect as much evidence as possible.If you renewed your license before you were pulled over, you should bring the paperwork to the court.Bring your new license to court if you renewed it after being cited.You may be able to argue that you didn’t get your renewal notice because you moved recently.Bring documents that prove your move if this is the case.You can be fined if you don’t change your address promptly with the Department of Motor Vehicles.You may be able to argue that you did not have the required documents.Birth certificates, Social Security cards, and even two bills are required in some states.If you don’t have access to all of these documents, you should gather evidence that proves your roommate’s name.

Step 11: Arrive on time.

Arrive at the courthouse early for your initial court hearing.If your license is still expired, don’t drive to the courthouse.You have enough time to get through security and find your courtroom.Weapons, drugs, and anything else that could harm an individual will not be allowed.Sit quietly until your case is called.

Step 12: Ask the judge to dismiss the charge.

When your case is called, move to the front of the courtroom and sit at the appropriate table.The judge will ask you questions during the hearing.Stand up and address the judge.Tell the judge that you would like the charge to be dismissed.You will need to explain to the judge why.If you can show that your license was valid when you were pulled over, the charge will be dismissed.

Step 13: The charge should be reduced.

If the judge doesn’t allow the charge to be dismissed, ask that it be reduced.This should be your argument if you were charged with a crime.The charge can’t be reduced any further if you were charged with an infraction.If you want the charge to be reduced from a misdemeanor to an infraction, you need to show that you are remorseful and have corrected the expired license.

Step 14: If you enter an acceptable plea, the penalties can be reduced.

You should try to have your penalties reduced if the judge can’t dismiss or reduce your charge.If you want to reduce your penalties, you will have to plead guilty or no contest.You would argue that no penalties should be imposed if you plead not guilty.This is the best route for you if you don’t have any great defenses to driving with an expired license.Show the court that you have corrected the problem by apologizing and renewing your license.The court will work with you if you do this.

Step 15: The matter should be resolved immediately.

At the very first court appearance, these cases are usually resolved.Make sure you get the paperwork if the charge is dismissed.If the charge was reduced to an infraction, you will be required to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for the reduction.Inform the judge that you will agree to the reductions in exchange for the plea.Tell the judge that you want to plead guilty.The judge will tell you what your final penalty will be.

Step 16: Go to trial.

Sometimes you can go to trial to resolve the charge of driving with an expired license.The cost of going to trial will be more than the fine that could possibly be levied against you.If you have the money and are confident in your case, you can plead not guilty and go to trial.Evidence of your innocence will be presented in the form of witness testimony and documentary evidence.The judge will make a decision.The charge will be dropped if you win.You will have to pay a fine or suffer other penalties if you lose.

Step 17: You can get the fine reduced by contacting the courthouse.

If you are fined for driving with an expired license, you won’t need to attend a court hearing if you pay the fine in a timely manner.If you are a first time criminal, the court can reduce your fines.State statutes offer a minimum and maximum fine amount.The minimum fine in Delaware is $25 and the maximum is $100.The maximum fine amount is usually put by the officer in order to get the most money possible.If you call the courthouse, they will usually reduce the fine without having to explain themselves.You will be given a new total to pay when the fine is reduced.It is always worth trying, even if it cannot or will not be reduced this way.If court administrators say they can’t reduce the fine, you can either pay the full amount or go to court and ask to have it reduced.

Step 18: You have to pay the fine.

You need to pay the fine after you have settled with the court.Instructions for how to pay will be included in your citation.You can either pay the fine online or mail it in.Don’t send cash if you pay through the mail.Attach a check to your citation so the court knows how to process the payment.You can find the address on the citation.You can visit the website indicated on your citation if you pay online.Follow the instructions on the screen.You will have to use a credit or debit card when you are prompted to pay.You can submit your payment by typing in the information.

Step 19: Get a receipt.

You should get a receipt from the court after your payment has been processed.If the court thinks you haven’t paid, you need to keep this receipt.If you paid online, the receipt should be sent to you.It could be more difficult to get a receipt if you paid through the mail.Call the court and ask for a record of the payment sent to your email address after the money has been withdrawn.Stop by the courthouse to work it out if they can’t.