Steve DuckettSteven L. Duckett, Jr. was born and raised in the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia. He attended Paul VI High School (1990), University of Richmond (1994) and Valparaiso University School of Law (1997). Mr. Duckett has spent the entirety of his legal career practicing in criminal and traffic law. He created the law firm of Steven L. Duckett, Jr., P.C. in April 2001.
Host: How will I know what is going to happen when I go to traffic court?
Steve Duckett: Well, the best way to find out what's going to happen to you when you go to traffic court is go to court yourself a couple of days or even a couple of weeks before you schedule a trial date. In many jurisdictions, especially some of the more rural jurisdiction, you'll know far ahead of time, exactly what court you are going to be in and exactly what judge you're going to have. In fact, many of those smaller jurisdictions only have one judge, who sits in traffic court. If you are in any larger jurisdiction, then you might want to find out who of the panel of judges is sitting in traffic court that particular month. Sit in the courtroom and just observe; figure out what kind of things the judge likes to hear from people when they say, not guilty. Figure out some of things that he doesn't like to hear.
Really the most important thing that you can do is know what kind of procedures the judge likes for people to engage in during a trial. I can stress this enough because if you go in there and don't know what you are doing, you are going to instantly lose some credibility with the judge. Most of the times, judges don't expect people to know what they're doing, but it still is an irritant to the judge to have to remind you of how to conduct yourself in the courtroom. Conversely, if you know what you're doing, you walk in there and you know exactly what's going to happen, you know exactly what the judge is going to ask you; you know exactly how to cross-examine the officer. That's going to make a very good impression on the judge. So go to traffic court and observe. That's the best thing you can do.