How to get out of a Speeding Ticket

It can be very difficult to win an acquittal or dismissal in a speeding ticket case, because the police use accurate measuring techniques that have been generally accepted by the courts as presumptive evidence, and they are recognized as expert witnesses even when just estimating your speed by observation. This means that you have to disprove what the police officer has stated – you exceeded the speed limit. Shifting the burden of proof to you makes beating your speeding ticket has a low probability of success.

Some judges will give a break to a defendant who appears with a lawyer, the prevailing theory being that you have already been punished by paying his fees. But don’t count on this. As a cop and prosecutor and as a defense attorney, perhaps the best way to deal with a speeding ticket is to reach a “settlement” with the issuing officer. The first thing you have to do is enter an initial plea of not guilty. Then reach out to someone you know might be a police officer or a relative of one, or hire a lawyer who deals with traffic matters and is respected by the police of the department that gave you the ticket. There is nothing improper in talking to the officer before a court proceeding to seek “a break.”

If you have a good contact to act as an intermediary or a good explanation about why a conviction will cause you great difficulty (loss of license, bump-up in insurance premiums, loss of job, etc.) or a really good explanation as to why you exceeded the limit, most, but not all, officers, will be receptive to listening and leniency. The best resolution of a speeding ticket, when allowed by the local courts (most but not all do) is to have the officer agree to amend the charge to a lower speed or – better yet – to an equipment violation that carries no points or insurance surcharge. For example, instead of speeding, he agrees to let you plead guilty to a broken speedometer or faulty tail light. This way, the officer still gets a conviction for his stats, the court gets a fine, though smaller, and you walk away with an unblemished license.

If this tactic doesn’t work, then you might ask the judge if he/she will give you consideration on a guilty plea instead of a trial, such as a lower fine or opportunity to attend a traffic school to wipe out the conviction. If you have to go to trial, especially without a lawyer, the chances of discrediting the officer’s testimony is very low, and upon conviction you will likely be hit with the maximum fine and any surcharges. The best advice is don’t speed, or at least no more than 5 miles over the posted limit. While speed enforcement is a great revenue generator, it is also for your own safety.