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How to Fight a Speeding Ticket

Updated on February 24, 2013

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.)

Great Resources

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.

Speeding Poll

Have you ever received a ticket for speeding?

See results

Follow-Up Speeding Poll

If you've ever received a speeding ticket, were you actually speeding?

See results

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.

More Resources

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.

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    • clkbm profile image

      clkbm 4 years ago

      Depending on the state which you live there can quite a lengthy process to fighting a speeding ticket. I helped my minor son fight his ticket but it took 3 court dates including a meeting with the district attorney.

    • profile image

      Marshall019 5 years ago

      Thanks, great info. Hopefully, I will get off next time I am caught!

    • piedromolinero profile image

      piedromolinero 5 years ago

      Although there might have been reasons to reduce or drop the charge on speeding tickets I got, it usually wasn't worth the hassle fighting against it. So I eventually paid the 50 bucks and saved myself the time.

    • OrlandoTipster profile image

      OrlandoTipster 5 years ago

      Red light camera tickets run $165 in Orlando.

      Attorneys are charging $100 to defend and win!

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 5 years ago

      It is amazing how just standing up for yourself or showing up in court can get many of these charges dropped.

    • surfer1969 lm profile image

      surfer1969 lm 5 years ago

      Most of the time I'll just go by myself to court or take the passenger with me as a witness.But most of the time they never even go to court.Like 1 time a cop try to get me 35 mph In a 30 mph zone.I asked to see the read out.He told me a plane clocked me.I was like ok tell the plane to land so he could show me.He call In to headquarter and was told to let me go without a speeding ticket.Little things you can do to not get that ticket to go to

    • KandDMarketing profile image

      KandDMarketing 5 years ago

      Driving, like any other activity in the US, these days, is a revenue generating stream for someone .. gasoline, highway tolls, tickets, what-ever. So be it. I've yet to get a speeding ticket on my horse ... ;)

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      I hate to admit it, but I once got two speeding tickets in the same day. I deserved them both!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very good advice. Better to show up prepared than not.

    • profile image

      aardvarkapparel 5 years ago

      Mmmm, I just hope the Judge also hasnt read this article when I get to court!

    • Inkhand profile image

      Inkhand 5 years ago

      I think it's best not to fight a speeding ticket unless you have solid evidence that the police or the speeding machine is in the wrong.

    • Hypersapien2 profile image

      Hypersapien2 5 years ago from U.S.

      @KimGiancaterino: Taking a class is still an option in most places. You can either do that, or the judge may allow you to take deferred adjudication. (With deferred, you basically pay a set amount of money and as long as you don't get a ticket within some specified amount of time - say, 3 months - your record stays clean.) Either way, nothing goes on your record.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Oops ... I meant traffic school. That was back when you did school in lieu of paying a fine. Now you still have to pay the fine, but at least it doesn't go on your DMV record.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      It's been along time since I've had a speeding ticket, but I once got two on the same street in one week. It was the same motorcycle cop at dawn, with no other cars in sight. The judge took pity on me and let me go to traffic court for one. He threw the second one out. I didn't contest the tickets, so the cop didn't have to appear. He was free to annoy citizens on his favorite street.