Many people receive speeding tickets and try to convince the police officer writing the ticket to change his mind. That almost always fails, but you still have more options than you think to get that speeding ticket overturned. A lot of little-known legal tactics are permissible if you decide to go this route. But your best chances are when you enter the courtroom during your hearing, and when your trial starts.
Contacting the Officer or Judge
Show the police officer who gave you the ticket that your speeding ticket truly matters to you in possibly raising your car insurance premiums. Call the officer at a later time after he gave you the ticket and arrange a meeting at any location. Most police officers are willing to do this for any member of the public during their off hours.
Meet with the officer and discuss your concerns. But expect to have an emotionally good reason for wanting that ticket dropped. If you’re polite, the officer still has the authority to drop the ticket. However, try contacting the judge next if the officer refuses.
Try writing a friendly letter to the judge who will preside over your case, or to the prosecuting attorney. Make the letter effective about why you think the speeding ticket should be dropped from the record. While this might not work, it doesn’t hurt to try once since it’s legally allowable.
Options in Court
Show up to the preliminary court hearing and plead “not guilty.” If you plead guilty, it’s automatically over and you’ll have to pay the speeding ticket fine and have it go on your insurance record.
Make an attempt to contact the police officer and judge one more time between the time of your hearing and your next court date, which is generally 40 days. If that still fails, you have the option of taking further measures, including hiring a lawyer and bringing in witnesses to make your case.
Be at your trial on time. Attempt to work with your lawyer to cut a deal with the prosecutor, or even the officer if he is there. Know that if the police officer doesn’t show up for your trial, or thinks that he has a weak case against you, a deal to drop the case before a trial is a strong possibility.
Bring in witnesses during your trial to prove that you weren’t speeding. In a more elaborate case, you’re even allowed to return to the place where you received the speeding ticket.
Talk to your lawyer about a public record request that looks up the vehicle codes that you’re accused of violating. While the legal language will vary in each state, the particular legalese used in these codes can be used as an effective defense in saying you didn’t do what the prosecutor says you did.
Use the discovery legal process for speeding tickets based on radar readings. This legal maneuver is a little-known Constitutional right. It allows the radar gun used by the officer to be inspected during the trial, along with the officer’s logs, to determine discrepancies. Talk with the court clerk first before the trial, since some states limit the use of this procedure for traffic cases.
Appeal the final ruling by the judge if everything else fails. Going this route is a financial risk involving more lawyer fees, but could still give you a chance to keep the ticket off your insurance record. Your legal rights let you do this without reprimand.
Another rare plea in court you can make is “nolo contendere,” or “I do not wish to contest.” Talk to your lawyer about this plea. Some local courts simply file away speeding tickets in this situation. It doesn’t work in all cases, though having a plea in limbo between guilty and not guilty can create legal complications that may delay a case indefinitely, or even result in the judge dropping it.