Before you decide what to do with your traffic tickets, it's best to understand some important facts about them.

What to Do?

If you get a traffic ticket, you need to act quickly. You may have a limited number of days during which you can make a decision about the charges you are facing. If you look at the back of the ticket, it will list the specific date by which you have the opportunity to indicate your pea. This will also list the Appearance Date, or the date you must appear in court. You do have options when it comes to fighting these charges from traffic tickets in Montana, but do not wait. If you exceed the due date, you could end up with a warrant. Rather, look for the associated Montana traffic court and take the steps right for your situation.

Do I need to go to court?

It is not always necessary to go to court for the ticket. In most cases, you have the option of following the instructions on the ticket to mail in payment for the fine. If the police officer listed the fine or listed a bail amount on the ticket, you can send in or drop off payment and not have to appear in court. However, if the ticket specifically lists a date and says that you must report on that date, it is a requirement to do so. This is often the case in more serious charges.

You have the option of pleading guilty, not guilty or pleading no contest to the charges listed on the motor vehicle ticket. Most of the time, you do not have to go in to the courthouse unless you are planning to plead not guilty.

Your Options

You do have options when it comes to Montana traffic tickets. The following options may apply in your situation.

Option 1 - Pay and Forget it

The first option you have is to simply pay your ticket. If you do not want to fight the charge at all, you can simply mail in the fee and check the "no contest" box located on the ticket. This is the fastest way to process the ticket. You can pay most of the tickets you have in this manner unless it is specifically listed as requiring a court appearance. But remember paying it will also means that you have admitted your fault and it will appear in our driving file.

Option 2 - Plead Not Guilty and Request a Trial

What if you don't think you are guilty? Then, you do not want to plead "no contest." Rather, you will need to plea "not guilty" on the back of the ticket. There is a location where you can check this. Then, you need to mail in the ticket to the address provided.

You will then be scheduled to a trial based on what is available. You will be notified by mail about the time and date of the trial. You will also have the option of hiring an attorney. You can also request an attorney be provided to you. This is your right. Be sure that whoever you hire has experience in traffic law.

If you are found guilty, you will need to pay court costs as well as the fine associated with the ticket. If you do this, you may lose your license if you have accumulated too many points on your license.

Option 3 - Appeal Your Case

If you lose your case, you can appeal it. You must file a Notice of Appeal through the court system. You will then be scheduled to a new judge.

Option 4 – Request a Driver Safety Course

The final option is to consider taking a driver safety course. Montana traffic tickets may not be impacted by this directly. The state does not allow you to reduce the number of points you have by taking any traffic school course. It will not dismiss the case or the tickets either. However, if you were found guilty or plead no contest to the charges and your license was suspended as a result of the charges, completion of the driver improvement course can help to reduce the cost of reinstating your license by as much as 50 percent.

To ensure you get this benefit, work with the traffic court as well as the Department of Motor Vehicles in Montana for help in managing your traffic tickets.