Fighting a Speeding Ticket because of an Emergency

The best way to fighting a speeding ticket is to not get one in the first place. If you’re pulled over and you’re speeding because of an emergency, tell the officer, as calmly as you can, about your emergency. If you’re taking someone to the hospital, he may determine you need an ambulance and call one for you. If you’re rushing home because your house is on fire or your child has wandered away from the babysitter, he may accompany you home and help you deal with your situation.

Once you’ve already gotten the ticket, the key to your defense is documentation. You need to be able to show a judge that you were driving over the speed limit because you had a genuine emergency. Just telling the story probably won’t do it.

Document your Evidence

Evidence is any independent document that shows the judge what was happening and why you felt like you had to drive too fast. Your husband’s hospital records from the day you got a ticket are evidence that show that he really was hospitalized that day. Maybe he’s been hospitalized for months? If he had a setback the day you got the ticket and that’s why you were speeding, an attorney can help you get the documentation from his doctor to show that.

A rabbi told a Quebec judge he was speeding to help a child who was bleeding after a circumcision. The judge threw out the ticket after the rabbi showed him his surgical equipment. (A story about the case is here)

Even a non-medical emergency, like a child wandering away from the babysitter, can be documented. An affidavit from the babysitter about his or her concern for your child’s safety may sway a judge. The affidavit must be very specific about the time and date of the incident, however, to show that your speeding was actually related to the wayward child.

Telling a Reasonable Story

The key question a judge will ask is if you were speeding toward the emergency. If you weren’t anywhere near a hospital or driving in the opposite direction of your burning house, the judge is probably going to slap you with the maximum penalty. Your documents need to tell your story, and it needs to be a reasonable one.

For example, a birth certificate showing the baby was born that day is a great piece of evidence in your favor, as long as you were driving to the hospital. If you were driving home from a bar, you should probably leave the birth certificate at home. Celebrating an emergency is not grounds to dismiss a speeding ticket.

Is it Necessary to Hire an Attorney?

A good traffic violation lawyer can help you sort out exactly what documentation a judge may want. The documents need to tell your story in indisputable ways _ time stamps on hospital intake paperwork, the fire department report from your house fire, anything that shows you really had an emergency may sway a judge.

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