So it eventually happened – you got a traffic ticket?! What should you do next? Many people believe that the best thing they can do in this situation is to humbly accept their fault and silently pay the fee. This self-humiliation is not only incorrect as many traffic tickets get routinely defeated in traffic court – it could be very harmful for your driving record and specifically for your rising auto insurance premiums. Never forget – you are not guilty until proven guilty in the court of law. Know your rights and most importantly – know how to defend them in the court.
Below are the tips and hints designed to help you to get knowledgeable and defeat your traffic ticket in court if needed.
1. Be Nice and Polite with Traffic Authorities
Never argue with the police officer at the time of the traffic stop; stay polite and keep a low profile. And this is not just a requirement of general politeness – keep in mind that there will be cross examination of the police officer in court. The court session usually happens many weeks from the date the ticket was issued to you. Fewer memories you leave to police officer about yourself and speeding accident itself the more difficult it will be to police officer to win his case in the traffic court.
Also don’t ever try to tell the law enforcement official that you were speeding because you were in hurry – reasons vary from urge to the rest room to your medication time to your kids waiting after school in front of the locked door – you name it. This simply doesn’t work!
2. Duration of Consistent Speeding
As an instant speed increase is not a speeding violation per se – not every speed increase results in a speeding citation. According to working definition of speeding you have to be driving consistently over the speed limit and presenting a danger/hazard for other drivers/pedestrians on the road.
In other words – speeding in the middle of the desert with you being the only driver in the road would unlikely spell any ticket trouble for you.
“Well, what does it mean for me practically?” you might ask. This means that one single measurement with a car speed over the speed limit is not enough – the police officer must present a series of measurement shots of your car proving that you were speeding consistently. If the police officer fails to present this evidence – your speeding ticket is dismissed.
3. Speeding Measurement Uncertainty Interval
Speeding with less than 6 miles over the limit usually gets ignored by court as it lays within the error zone of speed measurement devices. Many traffic police officers know this fact and will not stop such “speeding” vehicles as it is impossible to prove the speeding case in the court.
If your traffic police officer is a newbie and is not aware of this rule – bring your case to the court – you will easily win.
4. Traffic Officer’s Speed Measurement Device Certification
Whether your alleged “speeding violation” was captured by a laser, a radar, a police car speedometer, an aircraft or some other measurement device that device by law must undergo a periodic bench testing and certification program (usually at least once in 6 months) and be up-to-date at the moment of issuing a speeding ticket. If that measurement device was overdue in a re-certification test – your speeding ticket will be happily dismissed even if you were driving 200 miles in 10 miles zone.
5. Modifications You Made to Your Vehicle
Did you modify your vehicle with oversized wheels or tires? This “innocent” modification would negatively affect the accuracy of you your speedometer. The tire’s outer circumference is an important parameter in speed calculation algorithm used by car’s speedometer. Larger tires would show lesser speed in your speedometer, so you might be speeding without even being aware of it. Just get your speedometer corrected and re-calibrated and show the proof of it to the court – your speeding ticket will be dismissed.
6. Vehicles Around You at the Time of Speeding Event
The traffic police officer must prove to court that his speeding measurements can be attributed beyond-the-reasonable doubt to your vehicle, not to other vehicles around you. But what if a large truck was right behind or in front of you and the laser beam reflected back from that truck rather than from your car? Can the police officer undoubtedly prove it? If not – your ticket is dismissed.
7. Emergency on the Road
Trucks with an emergency siren at the time of speeding event, erratic driving by other cars around you, your honest attempt to avoid a possible fender-bender accident from other cars, severe weather or road condition and many other road-related factors can affect your speeding ticket admissibility to the court. This very subtle and rather blur traffic defense resource usually requires the help of a knowledgeable professional lawyer specializing on traffic ticket defense.
8. Construction Zone
You will be surprised but things in construction zone go differently than in normal roads. It is a twilight zone of traffic law. You would need help of a professional here if you bet on that factor.
9. Never Give Up
Never forget – you are not guilty until proven guilty in the court of law. Even if you are convinced that your case is totally lost and there is no way you can win the case – still go to court and defend yourself – you can cut your fine at least in half in most cases. You will also be surprised to discover that about 40% of all traffic tickets were happily dismissed simply because a traffic officer didn’t appear in a court. So, there is always a chance to win.
Never underestimate the importance and role of a professional legal support in your traffic ticket defense. Note the above discussed tips are firstly for informational purposes. They are not meant and cannot replace professional help of an experienced traffic lawyer. Many tickets can be dismissed with proper help. So, help yourself and defeat the ticket!