So you're zooming along on your way to an important job interview when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. With your heart racing, you pull over, but before you know it, you've been issued a speeding ticket! Not only is it frustrating and costly, but it can also ruin your day. Here are some tips to dispute that speeding ticket and potentially have it dropped.
This strategy may be more effective in certain regions of the United States and may vary by state. Before your court appearance, request copies of any photographic evidence or notes taken by the officer regarding the incident. During your court hearing, ask the officer to provide proof that the radar gun was properly calibrated in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.
When you were pulled over, make a mental note of any other factors that may have influenced the radar gun's reading effectiveness, such as nearby large trucks, inline or declines on the road, or whether you were going around a corner. These observations can be used to call the accuracy of the radar gun reading into question during your defense.
Delaying your court date gives the officer more time to become unavailable, which can increase your chances of the judge dismissing the case.
Fighting your ticket by mail may seem like a pain, but it can actually increase your odds of beating your case. After delaying your court date, request instructions for a trial by mail. You'll be given information on fees, how to submit forms and testimony, and can even request evidence through discovery for the "calibration" information of the radar gun. Additionally, the officer must submit written testimony. The upside to this option is that the officer doesn't get paid for paperwork and does for court appearances, and by the time the officer writes their testimony, they may have forgotten certain details of the incident.
If you end up losing your case by mail, you can elect to have a new trial in person with a different judge. This is an opportunity to confront the officer, submit evidence and make your argument in front of a judge.
Even though it's tempting to try to fight the ticket on your own, consider opportunity cost. A traffic attorney is an expert with dealing with such cases and can save you a lot of anxiety, stress, and time. You should be aware that not all ticket dispute services are created equal. A proper traffic attorney can help you navigate the legal system and increase your chances of having the ticket dismissed, whereas some "ticket clinics" only help you write a letter which you can do for free. If your ticket is $500 and the traffic attorney is $300, not only will you end up saving money, but also your time as you won't have to attend the court hearings or deal with paperwork.