How to Prepare for Traffic Court

There are more than 100,000 people who are charged with speeding every single day in this country and end up in traffic court. One out of every six drivers will get a ticket this year. That means everyone's chances of being charged with driving over the speed limit at least once in their life are very high. If that happens, it is important to prepare well for that day in traffic court. There are some effective means to prepare to fight that ticket, and possibly have it discharged or reduced to a lesser charge.

Types of Speed Limits

Throughout the country, police use three criteria to determine whether someone is speeding. Those types of speed limits include:

  • Absolute Speed Limit – when there is a posted speed limit, and someone drives even one mile over the speed limit, the driver can be charged with driving over the "absolute" speed limit.
  • Presumed Speed Limit – the safe speed limit for the location and conditions
  • Basic Speed Limit – driving under the posted speed limit if it is unsafe for the conditions and location

Defense for Breaking Speed Laws

Knowing which type of speed limit a driver is charged with breaking can help them prepare an effective defense for traffic court.

Absolute – This charge is more difficult to fight because the posted speed law is difficult to dispute. However, there are some options:

  • Charging the arresting officer with error. The driver must understand the method used to register their driving speed and the errors possible with that method, whether it is radar, laser, or pacing.
  • Charging the arresting officer with confusing the accused person's car with another similar car.
  • Citing an emergency as the reason for driving over the speed limit, such as an emergency plane landing on the highway.
  • Evidence that speed signs were blocked or removed at the time of the ticket, making it impossible to know the posted speed limit.

Presumed – This charge is a bit easier to defend, since it is not based solely on the posted speed limit and the officer will not have the same level of proof of the charge.

  • Fight the ticket using the same method for fighting a charge of breaking the absolute speed limit.
  • Proving that the driver was driving safely for the conditions, even if it was over the posted speed limit. It is important to evidence to back up that defense, such as photos or speed gun evidence from the same spot at the same time of day showing that many others are driving safely at that speed.
  • Showing that there was not heavy or dangerous traffic, in addition to providing a diagram of the location of the driver, the police office, and the other cars on the road at the time of the ticket.

Basic – most police officers will not make an arrest for driving below the speed limit unless it causes an accident. In that case, the best defense is to prove that the accident was caused by other factors:

  • The other driver caused the accident by some form of recklessness or speeding
  • The conditions caused the accident, such as a tree falling in the roadway, or high winds blowing the car out of its lane.
  • There are problems with road conditions, signage, or street lights that interrupted the normal flow of traffic.

Getting Legal Help when Attending Traffic Court

No one should attempt to fight a speeding ticket alone. There are very good reasons for doing so, because the cost and inconvenience that result are costly and difficult. Speeding ticket attorneys have the know-how to compile the evidence a defendant needs to present their case effectively and have their charge dismissed or reduced. In some cases, it may not be possible to win such a case, but without the help of a speeding ticket lawyer, it may be impossible.

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