Anticipating your first day in court for a speeding ticket can be a nerve wracking experience. You will be asked questions, you will need to give a defense, and you will need to conduct yourself in a professional manner regardless of the judge’s decision. In preparation for your time in the courtroom, we would recommend that you review the following information. Being prepared and professional will give you the best chance of leaving the courtroom with a favorable outcome.
Your Officer Might Not Show Up
If your officer fails to attend the court hearing, the case is dismissed and you don’t have to pay the ticket. While this isn’t unheard of, we would recommend that you do not count on it. Adequately prepare beforehand, but do be aware that it is a possibility.
Plead Either “Not guilty” or “Guilty with an Explanation”
If you plan to plead anything besides “not guilty,” it calls into question the need for the hearing. However, if you know that you are guilty but believe that your good story is sufficient justification for reducing the fee the ticket requires you to pay, you can plead “guilty with an explanation.” This allows you to give an explanation to the judge with the hope that you can have your ticket fee reduced.
Conduct Yourself Professionally During the Hearing
Dress nicely – While you don’t need to wear a suit, it is important to look nicely put together. Shoot for “business casual.”
Clearly prepare your defense ahead of time – Thinking that you can “make it up as you go along” is a very unprofessional plan. Formulate your defense and verbally practice what you’ll say in the courtroom.
Use facts to present your defense without admitting guilt – For instance, saying that you were “travelling at 67 miles an hour within a 65 mile an hour speed zone,” admits guilt. Instead say, “I was travelling a safe speed for the conditions and moving at the same speed as the traffic around me,”— this doesn’t admit guilt.
Have facts to back up any assertion – If you’re skeptical that the radar gun was correctly calibrated, make sure you’ve asked the proper questions prior to the trial. Simply saying that, “The radar gun wasn’t calibrated correctly,” or “The officer is lying,” will not do much to convince the judge that you’re not guilty.
Be respectful to the prosecution – Making enemies with the prosecution will not make you friends with the judge. The more respectful you are to those involved in the trial, the more the judge is likely to respect you and consider your case in a favorable light.
Defenses you Should Never Use
1. Never claim that you were mistaken or ignorant of the law
If all you have to say is that you didn’t see the stop sign or didn’t notice a speed limit sign, the judge will probably respond by saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
2. “Your Honor, the officer was picking on me.”
The fact that you violated the law is an isolated incident. The behavior of other drivers on the road does not affect the fairness of your speeding ticket. Even if other drivers were also speeding, it makes no difference to the judge.
3. “But, I didn’t put anyone in harm’s way.”
Regardless of the fact that you didn’t cause anyone harm, you’re still required to abide by the law. The judge will not be impressed by this defense.
4. Don’t tell a sob story.
Explaining how your child, brother, or dog was sick and needed to get to the doctor or vet as fast as possible will not work well for you.
Honesty, clarity, and professionalism are the keys to a favorable outcome of a speeding ticket hearing. Prepare beforehand and conduct yourself well during the trial, and your chances of a good result increase dramatically. For more information about auto accident attorney services, feel free to contact the Jones Firm at any time. We would be more than willing to consult with you regarding any auto accident related questions, concerns, or cases you’re facing in the courtroom.