Is it worth contesting this speeding ticket?

Situation: 4 lane road (not quite limited access but close) in Virginia. Clocked at 68 in a 50 MPH zone. Policeman was quite nice about it, pointed out that the location was a prime one for them to clock speeders, “a bit above 50 no big deal, but 68 is pushing it”. I honestly didn’t realize I was going that fast - wasn’t watching my speedometer closely and I guess the rush hour traffic had died down enough that it was even possible to go that fast.

It’s a 4-point offense, per the DMV. Offsetting that is the “good driver points” (one per year of driving safely); as I’ve never had a moving violation before, I’ve got the max of 5 of those accrued.

So, I gather, I won’t actually “get points” for this. And Virginia got rid of that hugely punitive multi-thousand-dollar fine they had for a bit (which applied only to Virginia-licensed drivers). Might not have applied anyway, I think that was for 20-over-the-limit.

The only “defense” I might have is that my car may be off, speed-wise. The mileage has dropped in recent months (I’m getting 270 miles on a tankful vs the 300+ I was getting before) and I might argue that the speedometer is “off” (if I can get it tested and confirmed beforehand). If testing showed that, would a judge even consider reducing the fine?

I think the fine is something like 200+ dollars. Which I could just pay, and be done.


Unless your tires are grossly oversized, that level of speedometer error does not exist.

If you can show that your speedometer was off, that might get you some slack.

Also, just appearing might help also. I had a careless driving ticket that required a court appearance. The judge reduced the fine significantly from what was on the ticket.

Don’t whine, dress nice, express remorse - but nearly 18 over seems like it’s going to cost you anyway. Plus, if you appear in court you may incur costs - that would be something else to consider.

not a lot of help

IANA lawyer or policeman, but I’m pretty sure this is not a valid defense. In fact it sounds to me like a vehicle equipment violation which is a citable offense in itself and could be an additional fine (though IME in MD they just write you a repair order citation, I don’t know what they do in VA).

You broke the law. You got caught. If it’s not going to break the bank, just pay the fine.

Just to hijackyour thread for a moment… If you use up these 4 points from your maximum of 5, will you now be at 1 that you can use if you get another speeding ticket or what have you, or will it drop to 0 because you are no longer a “safe driver?”

In some jurisdictions, if you engage an attorney it’s possible to get a sort of “plea deal” with the prosecutor to change the infraction to something like “defective equipment” that doesn’t accrue points. Typically it costs as much (maybe more?) between the attorney fee and fine as the moving violation fine for the original infraction, but saves on insurance costs. I seriously doubt you’ll get anywhere trying to plead this yourself to a judge, however. I’ve only seen it work within the attorney/prosecutor system.

The exact same thing happened to me, and I was sure my speedometer was off. I had it checked, and sure enough, it was off by 10 percent.

I got a lawyer and got the ticket reduced to an equipment violation. No points. However, the fine for an equipment violation was the same as for a speeding violation (your jurisdiction may vary), and I had to pay for a lawyer AND pay for the speedometer to be repaired, as well.

And by the way, a 10 percent error would explain doing 55, but you were caught doing 68. That’s a 36 percent error. At that point your speedometer should blow itself apart.

If it were me, I’d just pay the ticket.

Inaccurate speedo is unlikely to work as a defense.

Call the number on the ticket and ask if there’s anything you can do to avoid the points against your license; they may be able to work something out. A few years back I got a ticket in southern Utah, and learned of a “plea in abeyance” deal that was a standard offer from them: I payed the fine + $25, and the ticket would be expunged as long as I didn’t get another ticket within the next 3 (6?) months. Had to send them a copy of my driving record right after the infraction, and another at the end of the probationary period proving that I hadn’t received any other tickets. The fine wasn’t cheap, but at least I didn’t get points, which would have jacked up my insurance premiums.

Humm - well, 18MPH over the speed limit is…let me do some quick calculations…30 KMP OVER THE LIMIT?!?!? Good god woman - slow the heck down.

FWIW, in my jurisdiction going that fast is a mandatory court appearance - I gather from your post that is not the case where you are - lucky you.

That being said, in my jurisdiction you also have the option of presenting yourself in front of the prosecutor and coming up with some reason why you don’t deserve the ticket. Many times they’ll remove the points, or lower the infraction to a smaller fine; however, a Cock & Bull story about a speedometer not working would likely just piss them off.

So - I guess I would suggest throwing myself on the mercy of the court/prosecutor/traffic god in your neck of the woods and hope for the best.

I must say though, trying to pass of 30 kilometers over the speed limit as an error with your speedometer is…rich.

This is really the sort of thing I was thinking of. I do have a clean record (the policeman even noted that, verbally). I’m also not denying I was speeding. Just that I didn’t realize I was going that fast.

Even if the speedometer was off by a bit, that would “at best” bring my perceived speed down to 60ish which would be in the same realm, point-wise. Of course, that wipes out my “good driver” credits and leave me vulnerable if I were to get another ticket in the next few years (something I obviously don’t plan to do but goofs happen).

I actually don’t “mind” paying the ticket. Sure, I’d rather not - but I screwed up and that’s the price. It’s the possibility of punitive insurance changes that worry me (we’ve got a 16 year old who wants to learn to drive soon… enough fuel for insurance-rate woes right there!).

Well, I’m not trying to claim that much of an equipment error (see above). At most I’d think it might shave a few mph off - e.g. I could claim I thought I was doing 62. From reading, it’s not likely to make that big of a difference in whatever “points” I’d be assessed so it’s probably not worth taking that tack anyway. I still want to get my speedometer checked in case there is an issue, so I know what I’m really doing.

If it were me, I’d pay the fine and pay more attention to my speed going forward.

Just appearing often helps.

If you have to take off work to do it though, then it’s probably not worth it.

Not a lawyer of any kind, nor a Virginia resident, just a person who got 6 tickets in the span of 2 years a few years back. Contested every single one and got reduced points in every single case and reduced fines in most.

I tend to like that idea of gaining bonus points for non offending years up to five points. However, I bet the insurance company still abstracts those points for their rating system and you would end up paying higher rates for the next five years or so depending on the company.

Forget about making up some hokey explanation about the speedometer. It’s the same speedometer you had all along. You did not install monster tires recently. You admit you were not paying attention to the speed. You stand a better chance going to court and pleading for a no-point ticket based upon your otherwise clean record and being willing to pay the fine. Sometimes you get lucky and the officer doesn’t show and the whole thing is dismissed. Don’t lie. Don’t argue. Just look for a plea. Some judges are just nasty. That’s the risk you take.

Were you alone on the road? Seems like someone doing 68 in a 55 zone would pass most, if not all, cars on the road. Even not paying attention to the speedometer, realizing your were passing so many people would tell you that you were going too fast.

Appear, be remorseful, and pay the fine.

No - the road wasn’t terribly crowded (it was after morning rush), and I don’t think I was even passing any cars (in fact I was in the right lane when I was flagged down). Just “luck” that I was the one nailed, I think.

If I don’t bother contesting it, I can just pay in advance and not have to appear. I’m not arguing that I shouldn’t have gotten ticketed.

I’m pretty sure that it drops to 1. If your points delve below a certain negative threshold, bad stuff happens like license suspensions.

I would call and say “Me and my friend Andrew Jackson were wondering if there’s antything you can do about my ticket.”

It’s worse than that: 18 mph over the speed limit is… let’s see… 95,040 FPH OVER THE LIMIT!!:eek::eek::eek:OMG!

And it’s 48,384 Furlongs Per Fortnight over the limit!