Just about everyone who has ever driven a car has probably gone over the speed limit at some point. Whether you are late to an appointment, work, or school, or just driving on an open road with little traffic, it can be easy to lose track of the speed limit. Unfortunately, for most people this tendency ends up resulting in a speeding ticket at least once (and more than once for some of us). However, in some circumstances you may have reason to believe that your speeding ticket was improper and that you can fight it. In this article, you will find out how to fight a speeding ticket.
Depending on the laws in your state and what classification your ticket falls under, there are different approaches to fight a speeding ticket. Make sure you get a clear understanding of what classification your ticket is, and what you are being charged with before deciding on a defense strategy for how to fight a speeding ticket.
Absolute Speed Limit
Let’s start with the most difficult case to contest, known as absolute speed limit. Most states have an absolute speed limit law. The absolute limit is the number posted on the signs on the side of the road, which is why these speeding tickets are so difficult to fight.
“Absolute” means that driving even 1mph above the posted limit is a violation of the law and you can get a ticket. There are only a few viable defenses that you could attempt to use, including these:
- Attack the credibility of the device or method that the officer used to record your speed
- Claim an emergency situation in which you had to speed to avoid causing injury to yourself or others
- Convince the judge that the officer mistook your car for another one and pulled over the wrong person
Any of these speeding defenses for an absolute speed limit violation will be difficult to prove. If you think your ticket falls within one of these 3 scenarios, you should consider talking to a lawyer. There are speeding ticket lawyers that specialize in fighting speeding tickets. They would be able to advise you on the best defense for your case, and represent you in front of the judge.
Presumed Speed Limit
If you are charged with violating a “presumed” speed limit, that means you have been accused of driving unsafely based on the road or traffic conditions at the time. It is “presumed” because there is a presumption is that the posted speed limit is the safest speed at which you should drive on that road. If you get a ticket, you have to prove the posted speed limit was not necessarily the safest speed, and that you were driving safely at the time.
There are two defenses that can possibly work in trying to fight a speeding ticket for violating a presumed speed limit.
- You can claim that you did not violate the posted speed limit, or absolute limit, and therefore you cannot be ticketed
- You can claim that even if you exceeded the posted speed limit, you were driving safely with full consideration of the road conditions at the time
Speeding tickets for presumed speed limit are a bit easier to fight than an absolute speed limit ticket. Basically, you have the burden of proof to show that you were not driving unsafely given the conditions. With either of the defenses mentioned above, your chances will improve the closer your speed was to the actual speed limit.
Here are a few good ways you can try to prove that your speed was safe:
- Take photos. Make sure the pictures are taken at the same time of day and in similar weather conditions. Take photos from your viewpoint to show why you reasonably believed you could drive safely over the speed limit in those conditions.
- Re-create the road with a diagram. This drawing should show your car, the officer’s vehicle, and other relevant traffic information to indicate that how you were driving was reasonable at the time.
- If the street was congested with vehicles, this can work in your favor. If everyone else was speeding, you may be able to argue that the flow of traffic forced everyone to drive above the limit.
Presumed limits can also work in the officer’s favor, such as if you are driving in rain or snow conditions. In those cases, an officer could ticket you even if you were driving below the speed limit, in which case it can be more difficult to establish your defense. So it may be wise to consult an attorney before deciding how to fight a speeding ticket for driving too fast for the conditions.
Basic Speed Limit
You also need to be aware of the basic speed limit law. The basic speed law states that you shall never drive unsafely for the current conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit. In other words, the basic speed law prevents people from driving too fast as well as too slow. For this reason, it is a common argument used against you in court. Basically a police officer will claim that no matter what speed you were driving and what the conditions were, you were not driving as safely as you should have been.
Police officers often rely on a violation of the basic speed law as a default argument after an accident occurs as well. The logic behind this argument is that, had you been driving safely under the conditions, you would have not been involved in the accident. However, there are ways of arguing against the basic speed law.
The difference between the basic speed law and the presumed speed law is that, with the basic speed law the burden of proof is on the officer to show that you were not driving safely under the current conditions. With the presumed speed limit, you are the one that must prove you were driving safely under the conditions. This can make it easier to defend a speeding ticket for a basic speed limit violation than a presumed speed limit.
When trying to fight a speeding ticket, it is important to understand your specific charge as well as the traffic laws in your state. These tips will help you think about how to fight a speeding ticket, but the best solution is always just to drive safely given the current conditions.
If you need help determining how to fight a speeding ticket, consider talking to a speeding ticket lawyer. They can advise about the laws you are dealing with, whether it’s a good idea to fight your speeding ticket or not, and what the best way will be to fight your speeding ticket.