When you get a speeding ticket, there are two options in front of you.
- Pay the ticket.
- Fight the ticket.
The first option is probably the easiest one than to fight a speeding ticket. But the major problem with paying the ticket is that there is a high chance that your insurance premium may go up for the coming years and it can affect your driving record. Also, for that amount, you can buy a nice radar detector and avoid future tickets. So it is important to fight a speeding ticket and get out of it.
It is possible to get the ticket canceled or reduced if you act accordingly from the moment you get pulled over. You can get it dropped without fighting a speeding ticket if you make a good impression on the police officer.
Things to do when you’re pulled over
You’re pulled over. The best thing that you can do there is to follow the officer’s instructions and make it easy for him to do his duty. He is the one who has authority to cancel your ticket. So be nice as possible to him. A few things to keep in mind:
1. Put your hands at the right position
Anytime you get pulled over, put your hands at ten and two on the wheel. Many police officers get shot while approaching cars they’ve pulled over and so you have to make them feel relaxed when they approach your car. Always make sure that the officer can see your hands.
2. Be polite.
Arguing with the police will never help you get out of the ticket. A polite and nice attitude might.
If the officer ask you anything like ‘Do you know why I pulled you over?’, say ‘No idea”. If you admit that you were speeding, the officer will use it against you at court and fighting the speeding ticket might be a waste of time.
When you’re pulled over, turn your car off and turn the interior lights on. Don’t get out of the car unless requested.
You want the police officer to like you. The best method to achieve that is by making it easy for him to do his duty.
3. Wait for them to do the basics.
Most of the officers don’t speak until they have got your information and are done with the basics. You have to wait for them to complete the procedures.
4. Ask about your violation.
Once he is done with the procedures, ask him about your violation. He will explain how fast you were going and what is the speed limit etc. If you think that you broke the law, don’t admit it directly. Anything you say there can be used against you at the court.
You can say that you might have been speeding but you are not sure. If you have a genuine reason why you were speeding, you can say that to the cop. What if he shows some mercy to cancel the ticket?!
Once the officer has explained your violation, ask for mercy. You should be polite here and should resist all temptations to get angry. Try explaining the officer why the ticket is a big deal for you.
Your primary concern is to get out without having to fight a speeding ticket. That makes this plea and the things that you do here important.
As I mentioned earlier, if the officer fails to recall your case at the court, most probably your ticket will be dismissed. So while pleading him, don’t make yourself much memorable. Don’t get angry – the officer will never forget you.
6. Say that you will have to fight the ticket in court
Remember, this is to be done only when you’re sure that the officer will not show you mercy.
Nobody wants their work to be more complicated, cops also. Having to go to court means more paperwork and attending the court procedures. Also, try to say that you will request a jury trial and not a judge trial.
A jury trial could mean three days of testimony from the cop. He will be asked questions about his training and infractions he might have. Nobody likes being interrogated about their training. The cop might choose to cancel the ticket here if you say these in an appropriate way. Make sure that the cop doesn’t feel like you’re threatening him.
This step has been reported as a great method to get the ticket dismissed by many people on the internet.
You should ask which method was used by the officer to detect your speed.
And this is where you start to fight a speeding ticket.
7. Note down everything at the scene.
If the plea doesn’t work, you have to go to the court to better your chances. Any mistake in the details or anything reasonable can save you from paying the speeding ticket. So it is important to note the scene at which you were ticketed.
You should note down where the officer was standing when he spotted you, the vehicles nearby etc. You should draw a map of the scene or at least have it in your head. These will help a lot when you fight a speeding ticket.
When to Fight a Speeding Ticket at Court?
As you know, fighting a ticket doesn’t guarantee that you can get it dropped. It depends on many factors, and sometimes it is better not to fight a speeding ticket. I’ll explain a few situations where fighting a ticket will be better:
- It is your first ticket. The court may give you some alternative punishment and keep it off your record, if your violation is not serious.
- The cop mistook your vehicle for some other vehicle.
- You were speeding up to avoid some serious casualties.
- The violation was not that serious, say, it was 5 miles/hr.
- The officer’s calculation of your speed is incorrect.
In all these cases, you have better chances of winning if you decide to fight the ticket.
If your violation is serious, say 20 miles per hour above the limit, you have better chances of paying the ticket and the court fee, unless your clocked speed is incorrect.
How to Fight a Speeding Ticket at Court?
You have got the ticket and the points given above doesn’t seem to work. Your possibility of getting out of the speeding ticket depends on how well you perform at the court and also, some luck.
How do you prepare yourself to fight a speeding ticket?
1. Study your case
Like every other cases, what you have to do is to look for the loopholes in the case. You have to find as many loopholes as possible since it is not sure if one will work or not. And for that, you have to study the case really well.
You should be able to answer all the questions regarding the incident and the possible follow up questions. You should know
After you’re fluent with those details, you have to find possible claims that you can make.
What to Say in Court for a Speeding Ticket?
Clocked speed was incorrect.
Police officers have to use some equations to calculate the accurate speed at which you were going. The actual speed is different from the speed given by the radar detector if there is an angle between your vehicle and the police officer(Angle of deflection). So you can ask him what was the angle of deflection. If he doesn’t remember, you’re lucky. Else, draw a map and show that his calculations were incorrect.
If he used sight to clock your speed, you can question his training – if he has got one etc. You can even try proving his method wrong by asking him to clock the speed of an object.
You can say that it was not your vehicle but someone else’s vehicle which was speeding, and the officer mistook you for it. It will be better if you remember the vehicle which was nearby when you were caught.
Officer didn’t show up.
If the officer doesn’t show up for the hearing, you are lucky. Tickets get dismissed if the officer doesn’t show up in most of the states.
2. Call the officer at work
It is not necessary to fight a speeding ticket to get out of it. The officer who gave you the ticket has complete authority to drop it also.
You can ask the officer to arrange a meeting to discuss about the ticket. Most of the times the officers agree.
You should have a valid, genuine reason to ask the officer to cancel the ticket. Attending the meeting and asking him straightaway to cancel the ticket will not work. If you don’t find a good reason, try telling him that the ticket is a big deal to you as the insurance prices will go up.
While this step has got many out of the ticket, there’s a risk of being a nuisance or trouble maker. Try not to get into that situation by annoying the officer.
If all these steps don’t work, you will have to appear at the court. But there are still ways to get out without having to fight a speeding ticket.
3. Delay your trial date.
Wondering why you should delay the trial?
Police officer will not be preparing for the case as you do. So as you delay the trial, there are chances that the officer might forget your case. At least, the officer might forget the details like the angle of deflection etc. and you have more chances of winning the case.
To better your chances, try befriending the clerk. They too can do a lot of help.
4. Ask for alternative punishment.
In some courts, the clerks have the authority to let you go to the driving school. You may have to pay for the ticket and the court expenses, but it will not make your insurance premiums go up. You don’t have to fight a speeding ticket also.
Please note that this depends on the court. You should make sure that the clerk has the authority to do it.
5. Plead not guilty.
If any of the above steps doesn’t work, you will have to attend the trial. You should attend the trial on time, dressed decently.
You’ll be asked, “what you plead?”. Pleading not guilty is the safest option, although there are other pleas like “
So when the judge asks you “what you plead?”, answer “not guilty”, unless you are sure that you can get out of the speeding ticket in some other ways. You will be given a court date. You can spend that time in preparing better to defend your case.
6. Go to court and do your best.
On the assigned date, be at the court on time. If you decide not to go, all the efforts you’ve put into it will be useless and you’ll be found guilty.
On the other hand, if the officer doesn’t show up, the ticket will be dismissed in most of the cases.
If you get a chance, you must ask the officer to drop the ticket before trial. What if he is in a good mood and lets you off?
At the court, the prosecution will present their case against you first. Then you get to respond, make your claims and call the witnesses. After that, the prosecution will rebut you.
You may be able to negotiate the penalty before or during the hearing, through mitigation. Mitigation saves the court some money by cancelling the hearing but lowering your penalty for the ticket. Some courts need a written request for mitigation. You should check the court’s website or call to get the exact details about it.
The possible outcomes of mitigation are:
- Reduced ticket.
- Pay all or some of the ticket, but it won’t affect your driving record and hence no extra cost for insurance.
- Take a driving course instead of the ticket.
- Extra time to pay for the speeding ticket.
7. Accept it and avoid future tickets.
If you are found guilty and have to pay for the ticket, accept it. Over 41 million people get speeding tickets each year, and you’re just one of them.
But, you can avoid speeding tickets in the future by using a cheap radar detector or not speeding up above the limit. And if you get a speeding ticket again, remember the initial steps mentioned in this article. Put them into action get out without being dragged to fight a speeding ticket.