You are out for a drive, enjoying the scenery, and only semi-aware of the road signage. Suddenly, a bank of fast-approaching blue flashing lights visible in your rearview mirror has you startled. And then a sinking feeling overtakes you: you’re being signaled to pull over. Little did you know that you were speeding, but a police officer enforcing his stretch of the highway claims that you did. A costly speeding ticket awaits; fortunately, it is possible to beat the charge.
What to do When Pulled Over
The following are steps to take once you are pulled over.
Step No. 1
Say nothing if possible. Most certainly, do not admit guilt. Anything you say can and will be held against you. Only reach for your driver’s license and registration when instructed to do so. Make no sudden moves on your part. If have a weapon, explain to the officer what you are carrying and where it is located. If there are other passengers in the vehicle, instruct them to remain calm.
Step No. 2
Do not argue with the traffic officer. Never escalate a moving violation and get into a situation that is far worse. Take a deep breath through your nose and calmly exhale to steady your nerves. Your goal is to converse with the officer and conclude the traffic stop as quickly as possible.
Step No. 3
Act ignorant or scared. You may get off with a warning if the officer believes you did not know you were speeding. You won’t know if the officer is in a sympathetic mood until after he checks your information and returns your paperwork.
Step No. 4
Know the precise speed you were driving. If the ticket says you were driving faster than you were, even if you were still speeding, then the ticket can be dismissed. Do not argue with the officer, but take note of any discrepancy and keep that in mind for when you head to traffic court
Preparing for Traffic Court
Once you receive your ticket, you will need to appear in traffic court. You cannot “send it in” unless you are planning to pay the ticket. If you pay the ticket without contest, that information will go to your insurance company. Most definitely, your insurer will soon raise your rates.
Step No. 1
Keep your traffic court appointment. The police officer will write the date, time, and location of your traffic court appointment on the citation. Plan to attend, arrive early and bring your ticket with you. You are innocent until proven guilty. At a minimum, you should be able to have the fine reduced. You might also avoid points on your driving record and the higher insurance costs that go with that.
Step No. 2
Consider postponing your court visit. If you cannot appear in court at a certain time and date, file a petition in writing through the court clerk’s office for a continuance. Putting it off may work to your advantage, especially if the officer is not able to appear in court. Without the officer’s testimony, your case should be dismissed.
Step No. 3
Understand everything about the circumstance when you were ticketed. Most any information you share may be useful as you seek to dismiss the case. This includes the precise wording on the ticket to questioning the reliability of the radar detector in determining how fast you were driving.
Speeding Ticket Considerations
You may find it worth it to hire an attorney to handle the case for you. Likely, your mailbox will be full of offers from law firms to help you out. Depending on the cost involved and what the attorney can do for you, opting for legal assistance may be the best approach.
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