How to Dispute a Speeding Ticket in Court

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Speeding tickets can have a negative impact on the status of your driver's license and your car insurance rates, in addition to including heavy fines. For this reason, if there is any defense available, you should go to court to contest the validity of the ticket.

How to Dispute a Speeding Ticket in Court

Sign the ticket. Signing the bottom of a traffic ticket is not an admission of guilt, but rather a promise to either pay the ticket or appear in court to fight it. In most states, refusal to sign a traffic ticket is a crime and you can be arrested for the refusal to sign at the scene of the crime.

Bring a witness. A witness will add credibility to your story that you were not speeding. You can bring any passengers that were in your car, but a judge is likely to find them slightly less credible, due to the fact that they are likely to be a friend or family member. If there is a stranger, or someone not closely related to you, that can testify that you were not speeding, this will add weight to your case, in your favor.

Oppose any requests for continuances. If the prosecutor knows that the officer that issued the ticket is unavailable, they will likely request a postponement of the trial. If the officer is not present at the trial, request that the court dismiss the charges, do not agree to a new trial date.

Determine how long the officer observed you. You want to get an answer that is longer rather than shorter, because the longer that the officer was able to observe you, the slower you were going. If you are proceeding to trial, call the officer as a witness and ask how long he observed you. If his answer is vague, "a few seconds" for example, try to pin him down. Remember, the key here is to create the impression that the officer had five to 10 seconds to observe you, which indicates that you were not going as fast as the officer alleges.

Attack the radar device. If the officer is relying on a radar device to pinpoint your speed, attack its reliability. To do this, ask to see the calibration certificate. If the officer does not have the certificate, ask the court to exclude the radar reading as they are deemed unreliable without proof that it was properly calibrated. Another way to attack the credibility of a radar device is to find out how far away the officer was from your car when he used it, and argue that it is impossible to get an accurate reading from that distance.


  • Always be polite to the court, the officer, and the prosecutor. You can advocate zealously for yourself without angering anyone involved in the process.


About the Author

K. Lynn Wallace attended the University of the Arts and University of Baltimore Law school and is now an attorney in Maryland. She has a general litigation practice and has been a writer since 2009. She has served on the editorial board of the "University of Baltimore Intellectual Property Journal."