Tips to Fight a Speeding Ticket

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Many people have gone through the experience of being pulled over for suspicion of speeding. If you have received a ticket, you may be able to fight it to prevent it from causing your insurance rates to be increased. Some ways that you may be able to fight a speeding ticket include:

Show Up to Court

You generally have the option to either pay the ticket or show up to court to contest it. Law enforcement officers generally believe that people will take the easier option of paying the ticket and may not show up in court to forward his or her view of the situation. In some jurisdictions, this failure of the law enforcement officer to appear in court will result in a dismissal of the case. In other jurisdictions, individuals are required to provide notice to a law enforcement officer that they plan to contest the ticket so that they have the opportunity to give their version of events.

Challenge the Law Enforcement Officer’s Viewpoint

In other situations, an effective way to dispute a speeding ticket is to challenge the law enforcement officer’s perspective. An officer may have given a driver a ticket off of his or her belief that the driver was speeding without actually having an objective measurement of this. He or she may have found that the driver’s speed was not commiserate with the prevailing traffic conditions. The officer may not have been in a good place to accurately view the situation and traffic conditions. Many officers hide behind bushes or buildings to conceal their vehicles so they can hunt down speeders. This vantage point may not allow them to accurately view the area.

In approximately 20 states, the speed limit is only a legal presumption about the safe speed for a given road. In these states, it may be possible to challenge the officer’s judgment about unsafe driving speeds by arguing that a few miles over the speed limit was still traveling at a safe distance.

It is difficult to overcome a law enforcement officer’s testimony when it is merely a case of he-said, she-said. However, if you have more objective evidence available, you may be successful. Witnesses or bystanders may testify to your version of events. You may be able to draw up a diagram that shows the location of your vehicle, the law enforcement officer’s vehicle and other key objects and vehicles. Photographs of objects that may have obscured the law enforcement officer’s view may also be helpful.

Provide a Basis for the Speed

While speeding may be prohibited conduct, there may be some situations in which it is justified. For example, there may have been a medical emergency that resulted in the need to speed. You may have temporarily sped up in order to avoid a collision with another vehicle. For example, a truck may have been weaving in and out of lanes, and you may have been trying to speed up to avoid getting into a catastrophic collision with the truck. A car could have been merging into your lane and been traveling too slowly, causing you to have to speed up to avoid a collision.

In these types of situations, you must be able to argue that you had to violate the law in order to avoid danger to yourself or others.

Argue Mistake of Fact

Another possible way to fight a speeding ticket is to show that there was a mistake of fact. This legal justification is based on you making an honest and reasonable mistake that legally justifies your action and the judge using his or her discretion to avoid penalizing you for an honest error. For example, there may have been a large stretch of road without a posted speed limit, so you may have defaulted to the state’s average speed limit. However, there may have been bushes or other obstructions that blocked a speed limit sign that showed the actual speed limit. In other circumstances, the speed limit sign may have been very old and difficult to read. Even though the driver may have technically violated the law in these circumstances, a judge has the discretion to determine that the driver made an innocent mistake and should not be penalized because of it.

Contact a Lawyer for Assistance

If you have been given a speeding ticket, you may want to consider talking to a traffic ticket lawyer for assistance. He or she can determine what legal options may be available. He or she can also explore alternatives such as attending traffic school to avoid a traffic ticket.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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