What to Expect with a Juvenile Traffic Charge
Juvenile Traffic Offenses
The most common offenses we see for youthful drivers are:
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Failure to Control
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Failure to Stop for an Emergency Vehicle
- Failure to Maintain an Assured Clear Distance Ahead (aka “tailgating”)
- Failure to properly use a turn signal
- Failure to Obey Traffic Control Signal
- Texting while Driving
- Distracted Driving
What to do if you get a ticket or other traffic citation
Unlike adults, juveniles do not have the option to just “pay off” a ticket, accept points on their license and go on their merry way. It is mandatory for a juvenile to appear in Court when charged with a traffic offense. Additionally, a juvenile must be accompanied by at least one parent or guardian at all Court hearings.
Be sure to come to Court on the date specified on your ticket or citation.
You may also get a notice in the mail reminding you of your Court date. Do not ignore it! You will cause a lot more trouble for yourself if you do not show up for your Court date.
Juvenile traffic cases are heard in the juvenile Court in the county where the traffic stop occurred. Arrive at the Court on time, with at least one parent, dressed appropriately (see below). Bring your license or temporary learner’s permit and proof of insurance for your vehicle.
What to wear to Juvenile Court
Come with your hair clean and combed, teeth brushed, and wearing clean clothing. You don’t have to wear your Sunday best, but you certainly may. At least wear a clean, casual outfit, no shorts, no holes in your pants, shirt, or skirt, no flip flops, no tank tops, no t-shirts with slogans on them, no spaghetti straps or halter tops, and no hats. Courts are very formal. People who show up dressed too casually look and feel very out of place. If the Court decides you are not dressed appropriately, you risk not being admitted into the Court room. (Some Courts may have a blazer or some other cover-up that they ask you to put on, but I wouldn’t count on it.)
As a lawyer, I am also required to dress up for Court, coat and tie, which is not my natural preference, as those who know me can attest. One time as a young lawyer, I showed up in Court with my top button unbuttoned under my tie. The bailiff handed me a handwritten note, given him by the judge: “In my Courtroom, we button our top button. -Judge A.” I quickly buttoned my top button, and have been buttoned up to the top ever since.
Your First Time in Juvenile Court?
If this is your first experience in Juvenile Court, either as the parent or juvenile, be sure to read our recent article, “Is Your Child in Trouble with the Law? Read this first.” This article describes how the Courts treat juveniles and how the juvenile justice system differs from adult Courts.
What to expect in Juvenile Traffic Court
At the first Court appearance, the juvenile will be asked to “deny” or “admit” to the traffic charge. If you plan to fight your traffic charge, it is best to have an experienced juvenile lawyer to help you. Our attorneys understand the judicial process, and how each local Court works. We can explain the charges against you and what you could be facing if you are adjudicated a traffic offender. In our initial conversation, we can advise you on our opinion as to whether it would even be worth your time, money, and effort to fight it.
If you decide to fight the traffic charge, you should enter a plea of “deny” at the initial hearing. The Court will then set a date for a trial on the charges.
At the trial, you will be allowed to bring in any witnesses or other evidence that can support your case. The prosecutor may also call witnesses, including the police officer who wrote the initial citation. The Court will hear evidence from both sides before making a determination whether to adjudicate the child as a juvenile traffic offender.
If the child is adjudicated a juvenile traffic offender at trial, or from an admission to the charge, the judge will enter a “disposition,” for the minor child.
Rather than a “sentence” as you might expect in adult Court, the judge issues a “disposition order,” detailing the consequences of the juvenile’s actions.
What will qualify a minor as a juvenile traffic offender?
Any traffic offense that an adult could be cited for or charged with can be enforced on younger drivers as well. There are also additional restrictions on drivers who have obtained a license prior to turning 18 and for temporary learner’s permit holders. These include rules about driving at night, driving with passengers, and distracted driving. Violations of these rules can also land minors in court – and place them in jeopardy of being adjudicated a juvenile traffic offender.
Possible penalties for the Juvenile Traffic Offender
Suspension of license or temporary instruction permit, not allowing the juvenile to drive
Paying Court costs and fines
Paying restitution to any victim of the offense
Taking an additional driving course
Probation or community control
How Can a Lawyer Help in an Ohio Juvenile Traffic Case?
If your teen is cited for a Traffic Violation in the Cincinnati or Dayton area, here’s how we can help.
At our initial meeting, we will gather information from your teen driver. Questions we will likely ask your child include:
What happened to gain the attention of the citing officer?
What did you say? What did the officer tell you?
Were there any witnesses to the traffic stop, either passengers in your car or other outside observers?
Were there any exceptional circumstances surrounding your situation, such as an emergency of any kind?
Do you have any other evidence related to the traffic stop?
Once we talk to you and your teen, we can get a good idea of arguments we can make on the driver’s behalf to try to negotiate a dismissal or a reduced charge.
Our lawyers will then petition the Court to have all evidence turned over, including any video evidence and police reports. We can then arrange a pretrial conference with the prosecutor to negotiate a reduction or dismissal of charges prior to going to trial.
Once the evidence is received, we can sit down with the juvenile client and his/her parents to discuss our options and the possible outcomes going forward. Our attorney can then negotiate a deal with the prosecutor that is satisfactory to the client. If no such satisfactory offer is available, we can prepare to take the case to trial.
Ohio Lawyers for Juvenile Traffic Offenses
in Warren County, Butler County, Hamilton County,
Montgomery County and Greene County
If your teen driver is facing traffic charges, give our attorneys a call. Our lawyers’ skills and experience will help you and your teen navigate the legal process and help you understand the significance and extent of your traffic charges.
Our lawyers can evaluate your situation and the facts of your case. Our lawyers are familiar with the local Courts and can help you understand the strength of your case and the likelihood of a favorable outcome. We can help get your charges dismissed or reduced, and we can help your child retain driving privileges. During your first visit or phone call, we can do an initial assessment of your case, and give you a good idea of your personalized defense strategy, including how much our services will cost. Give us a call, any time day or night.
In Lebanon, Warren County and Butler County, Ohio call our office at 513-228-6922.
In Beavercreek, Montgomery County and Greene County, Ohio email us.