By Richard Wallace II
Author of "An Educated Guide to Speeding Tickets-How to Beat & Avoid Them!"
Over 100,000 every day; over 40 million a year; the average fine is $150.00; 90% just send in the fine, only 10% fight back but out of that 10%, over half win in court; and 2-3 out of every 5 were issued unfairly or unjustly. What am I talking about you ask? Why the speeding ticket of course! Yes, that great revenue enhancer the speeding ticket. In this article I will discuss the speeding ticket industry that exists in the Unites States today followed by how you can defend yourself, fight back and beat a speeding ticket in court. All of the information contained in this article is applicable in all 50 states.
How Much Do You REALLY Know About Speeding Tickets?
No one really knows exactly how many speeding tickets are issued every year here in the Unites States for sure, but we do know it is in the millions upon millions. Considering the long-term financial consequences of a speeding ticket, people should not treat getting a speeding ticket lightly. Speeding violations have an amazing impact on your life starting with your driving record which will be muddied for years along with your hefty fine but the most startling realization one can face upon getting a speeding ticket, is their punishment by their insurance company. A speeding ticket can drive up your premiums for 3-5 years depending on which state one resides. The average surcharge imposed ranges between $125.00-around $500.00 depending on the driving record of the insured.
When all is said and done, the average speeding ticket can cost a person several hundred and even thousands of dollars. Yes, our speeding ticket industry revenue each year tops out around 13 billion dollars when you add the attorney fees and driving schools to the equation. Compare that to the entire lottery system in all 50 states which tops out around 3 billion dollars and you can see how much money is in fact made from just speeding tickets alone. So again, do not take getting a speeding ticket lightly.
In addition to the financial burden that is placed on the motorist we must add the fact that the punishment simply does not fit the crime. Many misdemeanor charges like disorderly conduct carry a $50.00 fine in court, yet the speeding ticket can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Does this seem fair? We can also talk about the police themselves not playing fair or by the rules. We all know the police themselves are the biggest offenders of the speed limits yet they commit those violations under the protection of their badge, how unfair. We can talk about big name insurance companies who actually donate radar and laser units to police departments all over the country with the premise it is done for public safety. We all know why that equipment has been donated to the police and that is so more tickets can be written, thus allowing insurance companies to raise the premiums of their policyholders who receive a speeding ticket. Public safety? Lets talk about speeding and public safety for a moment. Numerous studies have been done by many different private and public agencies and the bottom line found was that raising the speed limit does not necessarily mean more accidents or fatalities. In fact, what the majority of those studies found were that people who traveled 10-15 miles over the posted speed limit, or with the flow of traffic, were the safest drivers on the road. About 80% of all speeding tickets issued were for speeds less than 20 mph of the posted speed, which again, is the safest group of speeders on the highway.
What To Do, And What Not To Do, If You Are Pulled Over
In my book, "An Educated Guide to Speeding Tickets-How to Beat & Avoid Them!" which is available for purchase right here at BuyRadarDetectors.com, I talk about the equipment the police use for speed detection, the traffic stop itself, how to prepare and fight your ticket in court and finally a chapter talking about how one can speed without being caught. My book is very educational especially for the layperson who has no knowledge of how greedy our speeding ticket industry is, or what kind of equipment the police use and how it can be beaten in court, as well as how to fight back and win in court. While I will attempt to talk a little about each topic here in the article, one is encouraged to purchase the book to learn all that there is to know about speeding tickets in general.
I have already talked about how unfair the issuance of speeding tickets can be because of the outrageous fines and insurance surcharges, the punishment not fitting the crime and the police not playing fair or by the rules. What I want to talk about now is how one can become empowered to believe that if they get a speeding ticket, whether deserved or not, that they feel like they can fight back at our greedy speeding ticket industry and win! There are many things one can do to beat a speeding ticket should they decide to fight back. Of course, a lot of how one prepares themselves for their day in court depends on how they conducted themselves at the scene of the traffic stop; so lets talk about that.
If you find yourself being pulled over for any traffic violation by law enforcement, it is imperative you pull over safely, cooperate and be polite. Never admit your speed to the officer when asked and do not volunteer any information that can be used against you in court at a later date. The correct reply to any question about your speed should be something like “I am sorry Officer, I was not aware of my speed” that’s it, say nothing more. Remain calm and be polite. Do not just hand the officer your license and registration and let him walk back to his cruiser because if you do this, you have lost your only chance to talk your way out of a ticket by using an excuse or even just simply asking for a written or oral warning. You can’t get something you never asked for, so ask for a warning, and yes, you are allowed to do that. If you decide to use an excuse, you must use one that is sincere and can touch the emotions of the officer. For example, family emergency involving wife, kids or relatives; wife is pregnant with first child; the money to pay for the ticket will come from feeding the family; females inform the officer your monthly visitor has arrived and it is an emergency; or your being harassed by another motorist with some type of road rage and you are trying to get away, this falls under the necessity of speed defense. Never use excuses like late for work, not paying attention, you are suffering from a medical condition or just traveling with the flow of traffic because they do not work, officers hear these excuses all the time.
Important Things To Know If You Have Just Been Issued A Ticket
Ok, so you were not able to talk your way out of the ticket and the nice officer just issued you a $175.00 speeding ticket, now what do you do? Well, there are some very important pieces of information you must obtain at the scene of the stop that will help you prepare your defense in court. My book goes into great detail in Chapter 2 regarding the traffic stop, but the most important information you must get is the type of equipment used by the officer, the model and serial number, the cruiser registration plate number and cruiser I.D. number and the officer’s name. Some officers will freely provide this information and others will refuse to answer all of your questions so you must obtain as much information as you can by just looking at the police cruiser and observing what kind of equipment is being used as well as the cruiser plate and I.D. numbers. When you have your day in court, you will want to compare the paperwork the police officer brought with him to the information you obtained at the scene of your stop to be sure everything match’s up. Often times the police will come to court with paperwork from a different radar or laser unit than they were actually using when you were stopped and ticketed, so be on guard for this tactic. Again, refer to my book the "Educated Guide…" for more in depth information pertaining to the traffic stop and the equipment the police are using in the field.
I tell everybody who gets a speeding ticket to plead not guilty, fight back and ask for a hearing or a court date. Never just pay the fine by sending it in paid in full. The odds are in your favor if you fight back; provided you do a little preparation and follow my advice.
Preparing For Your Court Date
In most states once you ask for a hearing or court date, you have a few weeks to begin to prepare your defense and your case. You will need to obtain some official documents from the police department that issued the ticket to you which include the calibration and repair records for the radar or laser unit used; the officers training records; the departments F.C.C. license; as well as the daily arrest logs. Refer to my book for the complete list with an explanation of what and why you need these records and how one can go about obtaining them. Many times the arresting agency will not provide these official documents until the actual trial date so do not surprised if that occurs.
There are dozens upon dozens of different tactics and strategies one can use to fight their speeding ticket in court. My book goes into great detail in this regard but let me list some examples here for your knowledge. I want you to believe after reading this article that one can in fact arm themselves with the information and knowledge necessary to actually fight back and beat a speeding ticket in court.
Some of those tactics and strategies that are used successfully to challenge speeding tickets include the following:
- 1st time offenders with a clean driving record-obtain copy of your driving record from your local DMV and show court-most courts give 1st time offenders a break by dismissing their first ticket.
- Two officer tag team - both have to appear in court to testify in the case and the odds of that happening are very rare. One officer cannot testify about the actions of the other, it is hearsay.
- Attack the training records of the arresting officer. Many states require recertification every 3-5 years.
- Attack the technology itself like radar and laser. Both are easy to challenge in court.
- Offer to make a charitable donation in lieu of the fine.
- Overpay the actual violation amount. The state will issue you a refund check for the difference. Do not cash the check, keep it. Because you have not cashed the ticket, the court case/docket cannot be closed properly thus no information gets reported to your insurance company or department of motor vehicles.
- Check to be sure the area you were stopped in was properly posted with the correct speed limit signs. In most states the sign has to be within ¼ mile of area of stop.
- Find fault and errors on the ticket itself, this is very common in law enforcement.
- The officer fails to appear in court means automatic dismissal in most courts.
- Your speedometer was broken. Bring proof of repair from a garage to court.
- The arresting police agency has an expired F.C.C. license.
- The arresting police agency has switched the calibration and inspection paperwork and you have proof of this.
Other Info And Tips
These are just some of the dozens of tips, tactics and strategies I talk about in my book "An Educated Guide to Speeding Tickets-How To Beat & Avoid Them!" Of course, in my book I go into depth and completely explain how any of the above tips and tactics can help you fight back and win by beating your speeding ticket in court. Of course, I hope you never get stopped for speeding in the first place and get a ticket. I have an entire chapter in my book that talks about how you can speed without being stopped or caught by the police. A lot of my information is simple common sense like watching for brake lights come on in a car in front of you as well as watching your mirrors so you can see that you are being paced or clocked by a police cruiser behind you. There are other tips in that chapter that reveal real valuable information like speeding when the police change shifts, or knowing how many police cruisers are on duty at any given time in your town and if you see them all together, you know you're probably free to speed anywhere in town. I do want to mention one very useful little tip to avoid getting stopped for speeding by the police and that is when you see the cruiser and officer ahead and you think you may have been caught by him or her for speeding, as you approach the cruiser and officer, of course slow down, and then wave, yes wave. Let me tell you why. Police officers are human just as we are and when somebody waves to them, they react the same way we do. We think that perhaps we know that person so we may wave back and in the case of the police officer, the same holds true. In addition, the officer also can believe that you have acknowledged to him with your wave that you are aware of your speed and you are correcting it by slowing down. Many times the officer will not stop you for speeding because of your wave to him. This tip works, trust me; try it next time you see a police officer parked on the side of the road. Do not be surprised when he waves back or smiles in acknowledgement to you. And lastly I cannot forget to mention how important using a high quality radar/laser detector is to anybody who finds themselves exceeding the speed limit. Often the small price paid for a good detector will be less than a speeding ticket and the insurance premium increases combined so make that purchase today. Radar/laser detectors do work and by using many of the tips and tactics I talk about in my book, one can become a safer, smarter speeder who never gets stopped.
In this article written here for BuyRadarDetectors.com I wanted to get across to you, the motorist, that you have people out here like Danny Feemster and myself who are committed to helping those of you who feel you have been victimized by our greedy speeding ticket industry fight back with the knowledge that we are here to help you every step of the way. For those of you who purchase my book, I give you a toll free telephone number to call my office direct and speak with me for as long as necessary to answer your questions and to lend you a place to vent and or just talk about your experiences. People like Danny and myself are truly dedicated to helping others in this cause. We are in this battle together and with your support we can all hope to change the way our governments set speeding ticket fines, how our courts interpret and impose penalties for speeding violations, and how our own insurance companies penalize their policyholders for something our own government agencies deem safe, and that is traveling with the flow of traffic or at between 10-15 miles above the posted speed limit. Also, try not to blame the police officer for stopping motorists for speeding, as hard as this may seem. There are many fine officers out there who would prefer not to stop people for speeding but their superior officers force them to. Remember, the police officer himself does not set the fine or impose the insurance surcharge. We do however, ask the officer to be fair and impartial, play by the rules and to give the benefit of any doubt to the motorist he or she has stopped. If the police were a little more respectful and polite I feel there would be less of that anti-police attitude that many motorists seem to have and we all would have a greater respect for the men and woman of law enforcement in America today.
There will always and forever be speeding tickets; it’s a fact we all must live with. If we drive safe, sensible and not recklessly, we will hopefully never find ourselves on the receiving end of a speeding ticket. However, if the unfortunate does happen and you get a speeding ticket, you must fight back by pleading not guilty, asking for your day in court, properly preparing yourself by doing your homework, reading "An Educated Guide..." visiting your local library, maintaining your innocence in court, and empowering others who find themselves in the same situation. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty, make the state prove their case. You can fight back and you can win.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article on Beating A Speeding Ticket - The Basics. I would love to hear from you with your comments and criticisms both good and bad. May God Bless us all.