According to the National Motorists Association, more than 34 million people in the U.S. receive speeding tickets each year. As a motorist on the road, chances are you’ll have to deal with a speeding ticket at some point no matter how careful a driver you think you are.
There will be times you just lost track of the speed limit sign or think you could get away with speeding “just one time”. Next thing you know, those dreaded blue and red flashing lights are in your rear view mirror and you’re being asked to pull over.
Being found guilty of speeding is no joke. Besides fine, you’ll have to pay for court costs. You’ll also have increased auto insurance premiums for the next three years because you are deemed more of a risk, and you’ll have points added to your license. Suddenly a $200 ticket becomes a $2500 ticket.
Getting a speeding ticket comes at huge cost, so you owe it to yourself to do the best you can to beat it, especially if driving is linked to your livelihood. Of course the best possible scenario is to not get a ticket in the first place, but that’s neither here nor there if you’ve already been cited.
What to Do If You Get Stopped For Speeding
When you get stopped for speeding, it is important to remain calm. Pull your car over to the side of the road as carefully as you can. Once you’ve pulled over, don’t get out of the car or make any sudden movements. Just sit there and wait for the officer to approach your vehicle. If your seat belt was not fastened, don’t even try to fasten as it will be too late. You don’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to yourself.
Your main objective now is to make this as boring and as routine for the officer as possible. Just sit tight and wait for him to approach your vehicle. The officer will ask to see your license, proof of insurance and registration. He or she may try and get you to admit to speeding. They’ll often ask ‘Do you know why I pulled you over?’ Always answer no. Since they must have had probable cause to pull you over in the first place, keep the burden on the system to prove you were actually speeding when you were stopped.
Don’t admit guilt under any circumstances. However, never, ever argue with the officer. Instead, be courteous without seeming overly eager to please. Respect their authority and comply with their requests. Always be polite and respectful.
If your documents are in the glove compartment, let the officer know that you need to reach into it to get them. Don’t make any sudden movements that will make the officer think for one moment that he is in any sort of danger whatsoever. If you have any passengers with you, tell them to remain still and say nothing at all. Do everything the officer asks you to do without argument.
Don’t automatically assume that you’re guilty just because you’ve been stopped. However, at this point there’s probably nothing you can say to get out of getting a ticket, so just accept it for now. Get the experience over and done with as quickly as possible. Don’t cop an attitude no matter how angry or frustrated you are.
You don’t want the officer to remember anything about you except that you were nice and did exactly as you were told. Don’t say anything about being late for work or for an extremely important appointment as this is not the officer’s problem, and these excuses will only serve to strengthen the case against you.
Keep in mind that the officer is going to write down everything you say, and the wrong thing will make it more difficult for you further down the road. No matter what you say at this point, you’re still going to get the ticket. Remember, you want this to be as insignificant a stop as possible for the officer so the cop will have very little to remember you by.
While the ticket is being written, take the opportunity to note down the policeman’s name, his car license number as well as the unit number. Once the officer has written your ticket, take it and sign it. This is not an admission to guilt. You are simply acknowledging the fact that you were given a citation for speeding.
When you get the ticket, look it over to get an idea of the officer’s version of what led to the stop. Let the officer be the first to leave unless he’s waiting for you to leave. This shows respect towards him. Also, you’re likely to be a little flustered and you want him to be gone as soon as possible in the event that you make a mistake while driving away.
Strategies for Beating Your Speeding Ticket
Check for errors on the ticket.
When you receive the ticket, carefully check whether the ticket contains an accurate description of the facts against you. Be sure to check for factual errors or omissions. The police are human, and sometimes make mistakes. For example, the failure to specify a location or date for the offense is an error that can result in dismissal. Other factual errors on the ticket itself (your license plate number, name or other inarguable fact is incorrect). These types of errors might just get you off the hook.
Request for discovery
Ask for information on your officer’s radar gun. Any police officer that is using an electronic device to monitor traffic should have the correct basic training for the use of such devices as radar and laser guns and they should also comply with the general maintenance and upkeep of the unit. Get the specifics of when it was last calibrated and serviced.
In some states, if the gun has gone too long without being serviced, the evidence is inadmissible, which means you’re off the hook! You should be able to make an appointment to visit a police agency to review the maintenance logs, or use the freedom of information act to request the information you require.
It is also a good idea to check the range of the equipment that was used if it is stated by the manufacturer that it works at 100 to 600 feet and your officer says he or she clocked you at 1,000 feet, this is strong grounds for dismissal.
Smart rescheduling is one of the most effective strategies you can use to beat your speeding ticket. Essentially, the more time that passes between your speeding encounter and the date you’re scheduled to appear in court, the better. Chances are the officer pulls over hundreds of people in a month. The more time that passes since the stop, the less likely it will be that the officer will remember you.
This is why it is important to make the stop as uneventful as possible so that he has very little to remember about you. However, with this strategy, you’re not simply trying to put off the court date indefinitely as you’re bound to run out of valid excuses as to why you cannot attend court.
What you should be trying to do is to reschedule your trial for a date that you know the officer will not be able to attend court. If the officer does not attend, the case against you will be dropped. So, if you know your case is more than 10 days away, start by contacting the officer’s station to find out if he will be working on the date of the trial.
You’ll have to be very creative in how you obtain this information. If he’ll be working, reschedule the trial date again. If the officer will not be working on that specific date, this is the date you want to show up in court.
Many American states allow traffic school as an option to keep the ticket off your record. Some judges will dismiss the ticket if you agree to go to traffic school. You’ll also avoid getting points on your license and an increase in your insurance premiums. If every of your other attempts at contesting your speeding ticket fails leave this option open. It is a better alternative than simply pleading guilty and paying the fine.