Thursday, October 3, 2013
The easiest way to fight a speeding ticket is, of course, not to get one in the first place. But, if the need for speed strikes and you happen to get caught by a speed trap, there are some things you can do to try to get out of it. Below are some recommendations for fighting a speeding ticket during the initial traffic stop, after the traffic stop, and in court. While there is no guaranteed way to get out of a speeding ticket, these great tips can certainly improve your odds.
In the Moment
The moment you see those flashing lights, your heart will probably start to race and your palms may get a little sweaty too. The seconds leading up to the officer approaching your window can seem like hours, but it’s important to take that time to collect yourself so you are cool and calm when the inevitable conversation starts.
- Make the officer comfortable – Turn off your engine, turn the interior lights on and the exterior lights off, and place your hands on the steering wheel so that the officer feels at ease.
- Be polite – Cooperate with the officer and be polite. It may be your best defense and could help you avoid a ticket. Use language like “Yes, sir” and “No, sir.”
- Be honest - Being honest doesn’t mean you have to admit you are guilty of speeding. In fact, that could be used against you if you are going to fight the ticket later on. However, making up outrageous stories about why you were speeding will only make things worse.
- Ask questions - Keep a polite tone and ask the officer if you may ask a few questions. Try to get as many details as you can if you plan to fight the ticket. Ask if you can see the radar gun to see how fast you were going. Don’t demand, and move on if the officer says no. Ask when the radar gun was last calibrated because if it wasn’t within the last 30-60 days, it could be inaccurate. Also, ask if they were stopped or moving when they clocked you and where they were.
- Plead for mercy - Again, do not admit to guilt, but humbly ask the officer to give you a warning and promise to pay more attention in the future.
- Getting the ticket - If your attempts to get out of the ticket have failed, politely ask the officer if the ticket can be handled online or via mail. This will take the possibility of you fighting the ticket off their mind. Whether or not you receive the ticket, leave politely and peacefully.
After the Ticket
- Record the details – Record details of the situation, including traffic conditions, what you were doing, time of day, answers to any questions you may have asked the officer, etc. Go to the location where the officer was and see if there was anything that could have affected his or her view. Take pictures if you can.
- Check the ticket for inaccuracies – Certain inaccuracies could result in automatic dismissal and others could affect you negatively. If there are inaccuracies, write them down.
- Reach out to the officer – They have the ability to drop the ticket at any time. Write a letter or ask to meet with the officer and plead an honest case about why they should drop the ticket for you.
- Set a court date - Move forward with the instructions on the ticket to set up a trial to fight your ticket.
- Prepare in advance – Request the details of the officer’s report from the police department so you know exactly what you are fighting and can decide how to go about it. You can also get things like calibration records of the radar gun that was used. This is called a request for discovery.
- Delay your trial – You can ask for as many continuances as you would like to try to delay your trial. It’s good to get as far out of the officer’s memory as possible.
- Ask about alternatives – If you don’t want to fight your ticket any further, sometimes you can keep the ticket off your record by paying the fines and attending traffic school.
- Don’t plead guilty - Present your facts without admitting to guilt.
- Prove your case – You can easily fight the ticket with facts, evidence, and your word. If you can prove that there was something obstructing a speed limit sign, or if there was something else preventing you from knowing the speed limit, you may be able to get your ticket dismissed. If you can prove that the officer was unable to accurately make a judgment regarding your violation with diagrams, witnesses or photos, you may also be able to win the case.
- Justify your case - You can also justify your cause for speeding. Speeding to the doctor with a sudden medical emergency or to get out of the way of another vehicle for your safety are examples of something that could possibly justify your actions and possibly get your ticket dismissed, but be honest.
- Show up - Sometimes even showing up to court can get your ticket dismissed because if the officer doesn’t show, it is automatically dismissed.
- Fight by mail - If you live in a state where you can fight your ticket by mail, this can be an advantage. You submit a letter fighting your ticket, and the officer has to submit one as well. Often the officers don’t like to deal with paperwork, so if they don’t send their letter, it’s automatically dismissed. If you lose, then you can still request a trial.
Getting a speeding ticket is not ideal, and this is not legal advice by any means, but information that can potentially help you fight a speeding ticket. If you don’t win your case and still have to pay the ticket, consider it a lesson learned and obey speed limits moving forward.