More and more traffic tickets are handed out nowadays and it seems that most of them are just written for revenue. Estimates are that over 115,000 speeding tickets are written every day, and there's nothing wrong of course with the original idea behind this tickets: to make the road safer for us all, but a lot of of the traffic tickets could be considered 'unfair'. Most people will have different opinions about what's being unfair, but we should all agree that a lot of the small tickets are a pain in the ass. The average ticket is about $150, which is still quite a lot of money of course, but the long time effects are far worse:
Insurance rate increases, sometimes even cancellations, loss of license points, loss of your license, problems getting to your work, and you might even end up with problems supporting yourself, and more important, your family. Most people don't realize this, until it's too late... 96% of the people who get fined just think "damn a speeding ticket, but what the hell..", .and just end up paying the ticket, admitting guilt, as it's just easier or they do not know of any methods to fight and beat a traffic ticket. Time to change that! Let me introduce you to some general methods and tricks to fight and beat your traffic tickets:
1. Do not immediately think and assume you're guilty!
As I already stated above: the impact and consequences of a small ticket can be far worse than you would expect. By just paying the ticket you automatically plead you're guilty,.. while it's often possible to get away with just a warning or a lower fine.
2. Be polite to the officer.
Yes that might be a bit hard sometimes, but just being polite might be enough to turn a ticket into a warning. So when an officer tries to stop you: pull over, turn of your engine, put your keys on the dashboard, stay in the vehicle and keep your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them. Most of the time this will make the officer feel a bit safer and more comfortable.
3. -Ask- for a warning.
You should ask for a warning if the officer hasn't written out any ticket yet. A great percentage of all traffic stops end up with just a warning, yet most officers won't explicitly ask if you want one. So take the initiative and politely ask if you could get just a warning. Don't come up with excuses, don't beg, and explain the officer something like you're always trying to drive as safe as possible and you're sure a warning would be enough as a reminder.
4. Don't answer all questions.
You're trying to avoid pleading guilty and the officer might ask questions like: "Do you know how fast you were going?", "Do you know why I stopped you?". The officer is doing his work and collecting evidence against you, so you should try to avoid citations. Instead of honestly answering "I was driving a bit too fast", just answer something like "I don't know, why did you stop me?". You could also use the basic speed law here (only applies to a few states) and state that you were driving at a safe and reasonable speed for the current conditions.
5. Question the evidence.
If it seems there's no other way out, you could try questioning the evidence. You need some basic knowledge of your local vehicle laws to question the evidence, but here are some tips to get you started: Ask for proof of the calibration of the speedometer when the officer paced you. Speed traps are forbidden in some states, you could trap the officer by asking how long they have the speed trap set up. And some laws applying to Pennsylvania you might be interested in:
* "A speed limit is not legally effective unless there's a sign every half mile." [3362 (b)(1)]
* "A 65 mph speed limit is not legally effective unless there's a sign after each interchange on the highway." [3362 (b)(2)]
* "You can't be cited in Pennsylvania for traveling less than 10 miles over the speed limit if the limit is less than 55 mph." [3368 (c)(4)]
* "If the limit is 55 or more, you can't be cited for traveling less than 6 miles over the limit." [3368 (c)(4)] (Source: berksweb)
The point here is if you can convince the officer that his evidence is illegal he will know the ticket won't stand a chance in court and will probably let you go with a warning.
6. Go to court and get continuances.
You should try to delay the proceedings as much as possible as this increases the chance of the officer not showing up, which wil result in your ticket being dismissed. Getting continuances shouldn't be too hard, and are often given for being busy with work, being sick, being out of town, etc.
7. Be prepared to fight your ticket in court.
You should always be prepared when going to court. Preparing this requires some basic knowledge about the local laws but it certainly doesn't have to be very difficult, nor expensive. Effectively covering these techniques would cost me a few pages, but luckily there are already a few good ebooks around on this topic. (Check my page here: http://bv-evers.nl/articles/traffic-ticket-pennsylvania.htm for some good tips.)
Most of the fined people just accept their ticket, and some of them end up in serious trouble just because of some low fines. So I hope you'll be able to benefit from what you've read here someday. Feel free to spread the link to this article, and help the 96% of the people who don't know how to fight their traffic tickets.
Drive safely & go beat that ticket!
Short note about the author
Michael Randal is a successful freelance author covering a variety of hot topics for online article networks. Visit the following site for some good traffic court reading tips: http://bv-evers.nl/articles/traffic-ticket-pennsylvania.htm.
Author: Michael Randal