The police officer standing next to your window busily scribbling your traffic ticket isn’t about to let you out of a speeding ticket. Whether you were going 10 or 30 miles over the limit, you were caught speeding, and you face challenges to alleviate the damage to your driving record and insurance premiums. Keeping your emotions under control and not engaging angrily or disrespectfully won’t get your speeding ticket reduced, but it bodes well for you if the case goes to court and the officer testifies as to your demeanor.
Read the Ticket for Errors
Signing the ticket in front of the officer doesn’t mean you are admitting guilt. It signifies that you received the ticket. Read it carefully, but don’t point out any errors at this time. Check that the time is accurate, your name is spelled correctly, that your license tag is entered in the correct numerical order, and look for any other possible errors.
Multiple errors may indicate that the officer wasn’t paying attention and could lead to a dismissal.
Attend a Defensive Driving Class
Many states offer defensive driving classes that result in the ticket being dismissed if it is your first offense. Fees vary by state. Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles to find out where and when the courses are offered. Some classes are given online as well. Shop around, as many traffic schools compete for customers.
Return to the Crime Scene
If you question the validity of the ticket, go back to where you were stopped and bring a camera. Check for proper signage regarding the speed limit and if it was visible to a motorist. If you were in a school zone, make sure the ticket was issued during the time frame for reduced speeds. If not, your ticket could be dismissed.
Ask for a Continuance
The ticket indicates when you are due in court to answer to the charges written. Request a continuance with the hope that the officer who wrote the ticket is transferred, retired, or, for whatever reason, doesn’t appear in court. Without his testimony, your ticket is dismissed.
A summer hearing is more conducive to the officer not appearing. Vacations interrupt court activities, and if the officer doesn’t show up, you’re off the hook.
Understand the Court System
Each state has its procedures regarding traffic court. If possible, meet with the prosecutor to discuss the offense. She may be willing to change the charge, reducing it down to a non-moving violation. If you do opt to go to court, arm yourself with evidence to prove your side of the case. Prepare for traffic court by witnessing other defenses prior to your court date.
Request a Deferral
If you are found guilty, ask the court to defer entering the verdict into your record, which prevents a notification being sent to your insurance company. After a year, if you have had no additional citations, the ticket is dismissed. The deferral must be approved by a district attorney or the judge, and fees are attached.
Radar Gun Validity
The police officer’s radar gun tagged you as going over the speed limit, but don’t assume the gun is accurate. Ask to see the maintenance records for the machine. Get information on how long the officer has been using the gun and his training. Your goal is to raise doubt about the accuracy of the radar gun.
Your Best Defense
Your best defense for getting a speeding ticket reduced is to maintain a clean record. When the court sees that you have observed all driving regulations and no violations against you have been made in the past, leniency is often the result, and your ticket may be dismissed with a warning. Multiple speeding tickets indicate a disregard for the speed limits and may result in your license being revoked.
A writer for many years, Jann has contributed to television programming revolving around legal issues, written for magazines and web sites regarding the law, and her manuals on real estate law specifics are used in real estate schools in Florida.