- Education and Science
How to Fight a Speeding Ticket
So You Got A Speeding Ticket?
Never fear! It's something that we can address easily and have you back zipping down the highway none the worse for wear. There are really only a few basic things that you have to do to dramatically increase the odds of getting out of a ticket.
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Deciding to Fight a Speeding Ticket
Going over the speed limit is one of those actions that almost all of us have a bad habit of doing. Most drivers do it at some point every time they get behind the wheel, whether they're in a 25 mph zone or one that's 65. Let's face it: sometimes you just feel like you're driving on the autobahn, with no limits to your speed.
Unfortunately, there are limits to that speed - legal limits, at least. Sooner or later, almost everyone ends up getting a speeding ticket. There's a natural impulse to fight City Hall in those instances, and if you choose to do so the wisest course of action is to hire an attorney. However, should you decide to go it alone as a pro se defendant, there are a couple of things you can do to try to obtain a favorable outcome:
Appear - On Time - On Your Scheduled Court Date
Often enough, the ticketing officer fails to appear and the case gets dismissed. (Sometimes it happens just because the officer is running late.) This is, of course, the quickest way to get out of a ticket. However, if you've failed to appear at a prior court date and the judge had to reset it because you weren't there, the court may reset your case in order to give the officer a chance to appear. (Hey, you blew it off the first time and they reset it for you, so the officer gets a bite at that same apple.)
Here are some resources you can use to address issues with speeding.
If the Officer Does Show Up, He May Not Be Ready for Your Case
Police officers often give out hundreds of tickets per week. However, they are unlikely to see those speeeding drivers again for months - until their scheduled court appearance. That being the case, there's a good chance the officermay not be ready for your case.
For instance, he may not remember you or recall issuing the ticket, he may need his partner in order to make the case, etc. (By way of example, if one officer was clocking your speed but his partner actually issued the ticket, then both officers are usually required to be present in order to prove up the facts of the case.) FYI: officers have a tendency to remember people who give them trouble, and may see your court date as a time for some payback; make yourself forgettable by being compliant at the time you’re pulled over. Besides, you’re not trying to fight the ticket on the side of the road; you want to fight it in court.
Have you ever received a ticket for speeding?
Follow-Up Speeding Poll
If you've ever received a speeding ticket, were you actually speeding?
If the Officer is Present and Ready, Ask for a Continuance
If the officer's there and he's ready, you probably want to ask for a continuance (i.e., ask that your case be reset for another date) - basically so that you can find a lawyer. The judge will usually grant this request at least once. (Traffic court judges have a reputation for not wanting to deal with pro se defendants, purportedly because they don't know what they're doing.) Some people, when granted a continuance, use it as an opportunity to repeat the two prior steps - mostly hoping that the officr won't show up next time; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but I'd advise against trying to rinse-and-repeat.
Here are additional speeding-related resources you can use.
When All Else fails, Hire an Attorney
If you've reached this point, you probably need to hire a lawyer, which I'd recommend doing in the first place. A good lawyer can look at the ticket and tell if the officer erred in some way that may not be evident to you and may get the case dismissed. The long and short of it is that you really should have legal counsel on your side when you go into court for this, or anything else. It will make the entire process a lot easier.