Beating a speeding ticket

My wife just informed me that she got a speeding ticket for going 37 in a 25 zone in a small burg.

Are there methods to use to beat a speeding ticket if you show up to plead not guilty (not that she won’t just pay the fine)? You know, somthing like finding that the officer is not a trained radar operator…or that the unit has not been calibrated, etc.

Just curious.

Contestant #3

Police officers are obligated to show you their radar (or laser) locked into the speed they say they clocked you at. Sometimes they forget to lock and you can call this to the judge’s attention. Cop shops are notorious for having documented proof their radars are calibrated, but that might be worth a shot.

I also believe police cannot ticket you at one speed when there is another speed limit sign within sight that shows a different (higher) speed.

All this, of course, providing the little lady was not actually going 37 miles an hour in a 25 (in which case she should 'fess up and let you pay the fine).

You can try the defense that my mom used for the judge when she got a speeding ticket:

There was no speed limit signs posted, therefore I didn’t know how slow or fast I should be going.

This argument didn’t work for her, but it might for you.

Generally speaking, the judge in a small burg is a local attorney who gets paid next to nothing and the prosecutor is the police officer. (Can you say “conflict of interest?”) If your driving record does not look like you might have been riding with Jesse James the judge will usually impose a deferred sentence with payment of a fine and court costs. A deferred sentence does not result in a conviction and hence does not affect your driving record. Your wife should contact the city clerk and find out the procedure for working a deal. Should the burg have its own prosecutor for such things, she should contact him.

I have done tons of traffic tickets in my earlier days as a lawyer in private practice. Now I am an insurance regulator. You should know one thing – the real expense of a traffic ticket is the potential effect it has on your auto insurance costs. Tickets can get your rates raised or your coverage non-renewed.
As far as how to deal with it in court. First and foremost – an attorney can be very beneficial. It may not seem that paying somebody $50 – $100 to go stand up for you on a $50 fine is cost effective. But if it saves you $500 on your insurance rates (or being cancelled) it’s worth it. I also know from personal experience that the prosecutors will give an attorney a better deal than an individual. Also, you’ll get in and out of court a LOT faster. Therefore, recommendation number one is get an attorney. They know this stuff already. And make sure its somebody who does this type of thing. The corporate tax guy is probably not going to know anymore than you do about traffic court. You match the lawyer to the job, and it this case you want somebody who knows the lower courts (district courts in my jurisdiction).

That being said, if you can’t or won’t get a mouthpiece, here’s some advice to use on your own.

First thing – your goal is to either have the case dismissed (tough) or pled down to a non-moving violation. If it doesn’t appear on your driving record as a moving violation, it won’t affect your insurance. Where I used to do tickets, Prosecutors would plead speeding tickets down to a “Defective Equipment” charge as a matter of practice for attorneys in all but the most egregious cases. You’ll still pay a fine, but it won’t mean that Allstate will be using its good hands on you too.

A lot depends on where you are. If you’re in a busy urban court you’re more likely to be able to bargain than if your in a rural court that has more time to deal with each and every case (unless you know the prosecutor). Busy courts = not much time to deal with each case. Exploit this. Let the prosecutor know you are prepared to take the case to trial if you can’t work a deal.

The first thing to determine is if the arresting officer is in court. If not, move to have the case dismissed for the lack of a prosecuting witness. Sometimes this works. Usually, the court just reschedules the case and subpoenas the cop to be there on the next date. If the cop doesn’t show up the next time, they’ll generally dismiss. On the other hand, if he does, the state is less likely to bargain with you since they had to jump through the hoops.

Barring that, I would suggest having an excuse – i.e., my speedometer was not working, my axles were too well greased, something like that. If you can have documentary evidence (e.g. a receipt from a mechanic) to support your argument, you’re home free.

Of course, she could just take her medicine and pay her ticket. Naaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. That would make her part of the vast government conspiracy. Just kidding, C#3. Good luck, and let me know what happens.

President of the Vernon Dent fan club.

Yeah, sure there are ways. Takes too much time to write it out. You can get a few books from , ‘Beat that Ticket’ or read some beating USA tickets at:

Basically, 30 days before the court date, ask for an extension, keep doing this. Pretty soon It’ll be so far in the future that the cop won’t remember details, probably won’t be on the force [ you win then] anymore. Take pictures of the site ASAP. Heh, fun.

Oh, keep some cough syrup near the registration and insurance papers. If one should have a bit of alcohol on their breath, take out the papers and have some cough syrup. It’s sure to fool their pathetic breathalizer.

For starters, the best way to beat a ticket is not to get a ticket. First of all, be polite to the officer. Depending on how far over the limit you were, they will usually let you off with a warning. Once, i was pulled over at 3 a.m. for going 15 over the limit while weaving across the lanes and having my driver side mirror hanging off. I was nice and simply explained that I had just gotten off of work and had started my shift at 2 p.m. I got a warning. This brings me to number two: TELL THE TRUTH. Remeber, these are police men and should probably be able to guess when you are lying. If they think you are, well then it’s ticket time.
If this fails, try to rember if there was any other traffic in the area. The radar may have simply gotten the wrong car. It is actually a fairly common occurence and may get you out. Other than that, simply don’t speed.

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, set them on fire.”----George Carlin

What a coincidence - somebody just sent me this link:

It’s a little quiz about how well you know some of the traffic laws, with the intent of educating the public about contesting tickets.

You might find some useful info there, in addition to the good advice already given.

Ooops. I’ll try again.

Also, I remember reading in either Car and Driver or Road and Track that any stretch of road where radar is being used must be surveyed in some way first. The article stated to beat a ticket, check if the officer has calibration proof first, then this next. I don’t know where you check for the surveying, but it was some office. Sorry I don’t remember more.

Depends on your state and county, but i’d suggest going to court, and requesting court supervision. Doing this will cost a bit more, usually $35-50 in court costs, but you’ll either get probation and/or traffic court. Once the probation is over and so is the class the ticket is wiped off your record. If you have a clean record, this tactic can keep your record spotless as long as you don’t get busted any more often than once in 6 months.

A littel off the point but relevant nevertheless- last year I was coming through Nevada and I got pulled over at about midnight after having exceeded the limit by quite a lot, no dount about it. I hadn’t had anything to drink and I wasn’t driving erratically in anyway. The officer who pulled me over cited me for Criminal Speeding and wanted to call the jail for an overnighter. Needless to say, the idea of spending the night in jail wasn’t up the top of my list of fun things to do. My question is, what is criminal speeding, I always thought it was a civil offense, and would the officer have been within his rights to bang me up for the night or was he putting the wind up me? I didn’t end up in jail, but I got the Mother Of All Speeding Tickets.

Before using the “i didn’t see a sign” defense, you need to know your local area’s traffic rules. In the state of WA, if there is no posted speed in a city or town the limit is 25.

To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.

I got a speeding ticket in Ohio not too long ago. A person who used to live there told me that, in Ohio, if you get pulled over for speeding, the officer MUST give you a ticket. They cannot let you off with a warning.

Anyone know anything about this?

In the Magic Christian, the Peter Sellers character pays the cop a lot of money. Then you see him ** eating the speeding ticket**.

There are 3 things you can try:
-The “postpone til the cop doesn’t show up for court” approach. Sometimes works but its a hassle, and if they deny your request for extension, you’re SOL.
-The “Show me your radar gun and calibration certificate” approach. Only works at the time of the ticket and may not be effective at all (see below). You can’t use the defense that the cop never showed you the radar or certificate if you never asked. And for god’s sake, be polite when you ask. Acting like a jackass to a cop could get you worse than a traffic ticket.
-Get a lawyer. Like Frankd6 said, some of the time it’ll save you time, trouble, and $$$ and you’ll definitely get more “respect” from the prosecutor.

I’ll usually (not that I get very many tickets mind you) ask #2 POLITELY at the time of the ticket, then try #1 (“I’d like to postpone due to XXX”) and if the cop shows up, postpone once more in order to get a lawyer (#3).

Doesn’t always work though, especially in a small burg- see below.

In some states (maybe all, I don’t know), if you are exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph or more, it is mandatory that the officer take you to jail. Some places call it Criminal Speeding, some call it Reckless Driving.

In Lousiana, unless they have changed it, squealing your tires when taking off can get you charged with Excessive Display of Power.


Nickrz, your “between the posts” theory doenst hold up in Colorado at least. I was told in no uncertain words, by the judge, that the limit begins AT the sign. I was going 53 less than 100yars from a 55 zone, and The 23mph over ticket stuck.
Moonshine, I beleve criminal speeding used to be double the posted limit, but I think they changed it to 30 over, but there are also Speed Contest, and Reckless display of speed, which I believe are jailable even below the posted limits.

I was in the back seat of a car going from Tucson to Phoenix on the 10/17/19 (I forget which one it is but its highway with 2 lanes each way), we were following another car, approx. midnight on a Friday. Both cars shoot past two cop cars hidden in the bushes, one cop facing our direction, the other facing the other direction- standard cops talking to each other formation. The first cop pulls the car in front of us over, the other cop (who was facing the wrong way) pulled us over. We asked to see the radar gun- he refused- obviously he couldn’t have used it as he was facing the wrong direction. He wrote us a ticket for doing 80 in a 65.

My friend didn’t think we were going that fast so he took it to court- in Marana, AZ. We stated that we asked to see the radar gun and he would not show it, the cop claimed that there was too much traffic out and it was too risky (at midnight on a Friday?!?!?). The judge agreed with him. I stated that I could see the speedometer from the backseat and it read 72. When the judge asked the driver how fast he was travelling, he said “about 70”. The judge stated that due to the inconsistencies in our testimony (“about 70” vs. “72” on an analog instrument being viewed from slightly different angles.

Basically we got screwed by a small burg judge and and cop who didn’t mind lying in court.

Falcon2, here in KY, I’ve been assured that the speed limit begins when you can see the sign. The last speed limit sign said 35, and there was a sign up ahead that said 25. I was driving around 35, and a cop pulled me over and said the limit was 25 because the sign was in view. He just gave me a warning though, so he could have just been blowing smoke.

Also, Aseymayo, I tried that link you gave, but when I hit “submit”, I get an error. So what are the correct answers?

Frankd6, thanks very much for the info.

Your Quadell