Over 100,000 people in America receive a speeding ticket every day. However, many of those tickets are the result of speed traps. There are several types of speed traps; some of them are not illegal, while others are. Some of the most common speed traps include:
- Locations where the speed limit is more strictly enforced by police officers
- Locations where speed cameras are installed to identify speeders
- Locations where police time how long it takes a vehicle to move from one marked spot to another, comparing their speed to the posted speed limit
- Locations where police wait for speeders in order to issue more tickets
- Locations where the speed limit is not easily seen and drivers can be traveling the wrong speed without knowing it
- Locations where the speed is artificially lowered in order to catch unsuspecting drivers
Anyone who receives a speeding ticket should consider consulting a traffic ticket lawyer to determine if there might have been an illegal speed trap involved. If so, there may be a valid defense.
Fighting a Speed Trap Ticket
If a driver believes they have been caught in an illegal speed trap or ticketed illegally because of a speed trap, there are ways of fighting that ticket. However, these defenses can be difficult to present without the expert help of an attorney. First, though, the accused must plead not guilty to the ticket. Then, they must discover which type of speed trap they were caught in. Finally, they can pose one of the effective means of fighting a speed trap ticket:
In some states, it is illegal for an officer to hand out speeding tickets, especially at speed trap locations, when they are not in uniform or when they are in an unmarked car.
Inaccurate/Illegal Use of Radar
Many speed traps use radar, and some states have outlawed the use of radar in locations where the speed limit is set significantly lower than the safe traffic flow speed for that location in order to set a speed trap.
Creating reasonable doubt concerning the alleged violation if the speed limit sign was obscured, missing, or unreadable, denying driver due proces.
An effective attorney can often produce evidence that there was human error on the part of the arresting officer at a speed trap location.
Laws and Regulations for Speed Traps
Many law enforcement officials and legislators have realized that some speed traps have literally become revenue traps, established for the sole purpose of creating revenue in small towns or municipalities. As a result, some state laws have been enacted to monitor speed traps:
- Limiting speeding ticket revenues to 50% of the city’s annual budget, with penalties for cities in violation
- Assigning state police to monitor numbered highways rather than local police
- Outlawing radar devices in some states
- State laws limiting the amount a posted speed limit can change in a given distance
These complicated defenses can be extremely difficult for those outside the legal profession to investigate and present effectively. It can be well worth the time and expense to retain an attorney to save points, which can add up quickly and cause a driver to face fines, increased insurance rates, surcharges, and loss of driver’s licenses.