Beating the Speeding Ticket

Speeding tickets. Everyone asks how to win in court. From a Judge’s perspective, let me say that the best way to deal with speeding tickets is don’t break the Law!

The days of the old “speed trap” that some police and sheriffs departments used to set up to generate funds are over. Today speed limits are established to genuinely protect pedestrians and drivers from unsafe conditions. However there are some things that can be done before and during court that can reduce or even drop the charges against you.

Suppose you and your buddy Bob are tooling down the road, having a great old time, when the blue lights appear in the rear view mirror. You’re the driver, and you get a ticket, what do you do? First thing you and Bob should do is write down everything about the incident that you two can remember. Weather, traffic, right down to what lane you were in. The LAST thing you want to do is argue with law enforcement on the side of the road. You won’t win, and you may go to jail.

Before court:
Read the front and back of the ticket carefully. Know where you’re supposed to appear for trial at and when. It will tell you how to file your plea. If you’ve decided to fight the ticket, file a plea of not guilty. One tactic that I’ve seen successfully used is to delay the case (file for a continuance) over and over until the officer can’t remember you, or is transferred. If the officer fails to show up, you’ll get a dismissal 90% of the time. Many states have regulated the number of continuences you can file for this very reason. Check with your state if this is how you plan on dealing with your ticket.

Use the week or two you have before your trial to prepare your case. Generally you can request the officers notes, records about the radar unit and copy of the officers Certificate of Training for the radar/laser unit. Look through all this for any discrepancies, such as your cars make or color, the weather where you were pulled over. If the radar wasn’t calibrated or missed a maintenance rotation, or if it was improperly mounted or the officer hasn’t been trained, you can use this in your defense. If you can raise any doubt, you can win your case.
Speed limit signs must bear a state inspection decal, at least in most states. Check the last one before you were pulled over. It’s a long shot, but you may convince the Judge to dismiss or go light because of this technicality. Check you states laws on this.

At your trial:
Wear a suit. If you look like you don’t care, no one else will care.

Be polite. Judges won’t tolerate attitude. Arguing with a judge is a one way ticket to trouble. Showing attitude to the cop while in court won’t endear you to the judge either. Think cool and collected proffesional. Be organized. Fumbling for papers and words to say spell doom.
The officer bears the burden of proof. If he fails to do so, you win. You can ask him, on the stand, about circumstances surrounding the stop. Know the procedure he has to abide by to testify against you. If he fails any part, you can request dismissal.

Texas has what is called presumed speed limits. This means that if you are clocked doing 60 in 45 mile per hour zone, it is presumed you were speeding. If you can convince the Judge that your speed was safe for the road conditions, you could get off. Check your state for presumed speed limits.

When all else fails, you can plea bargain. You may be able to show your speedometer was faulty. Ask for a deal (Community service and/or a Defensive Driving class for a lighter sentence). The Judge or prosecutor may be willing to reduce the fine and or points to keep the case from further clogging the court docket, especially for a first offence. Often taking the Defensive Driving course will result in the charges being dropped, and no hike in your insurance.

Never, and I do mean never, tell the Judge any of the following:
– Everyone else was speeding.
– I was going to see my sick (Mother, father, etc)
– I was picked because I drive a red car (Or sports car).

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