How to Write a Speeding Ticket Appeal Letter or Fight a Ticket

January 27, 2012

A speeding ticket appeal letter may not get you off the hook, but it is always worth a try. Much of what happens depends on how you write the letter and the tone in which it is conducted. There are also other things to consider, like the circumstances under which the ticket was written.

Contents of the Letter
The first thing to consider when fighting a speeding ticket is the conditions under which the ticket was given. For example, if you were caught on camera, or whether it was a police officer with a radar gun. Other things which can determine the letter's contents are whether it was your first speeding offense or if you have a bad driving history. Also think about how it might affect your employment. There really is no excuse for speeding, so it is highly unlikely that what you write will make a great deal of difference to the courts.

The Tone of the Letter
Do not use aggressive or threatening language. The first thing you should write is how sorry you are for the infraction. Admit the truth that there is no excuse for your lack of judgment while you were driving that day, and apologize sincerely for making such an error. If there were any mitigating circumstances there is probably little point in emphasizing them because they sound too much like excuses.

Include any evidence you feel is relevant to the case, such as just how many miles over the speed limit you were going. If you were within reasonable parameters, it is possible the ticket might be retracted, or a lesser charge handed down. If there is any dispute regarding the accuracy of the speed gun, mention it. If you were caught on a speed camera, the photos will have been sent to you showing the infraction and speed you were traveling. Use this information if it helps your case.

How to Take a Speeding Ticket to Court

When all the hidden costs resulting from traffic fines start to add up, you may feel that the speeding ticket issued to you wasn't justified. If this is the case, you may need to go to court to fight a speeding ticket. Note that about half of such cases get dismissed. Here are ways to mount a speeding ticket defense.

Don't Pay for the Ticket
When you are issued the ticket, most people's natural reaction is to pay for it. Do not do that. Paying for the ticket is equivalent to admitting your guilt. When you pay your ticket, you won't be able to contest it in court. Bring the matter immediately to court.

Obey the Proper Manners of Court Behavior
When appearing before the judge, be polite. Make sure to dress appropriately for the occasion. Show up at court on time. Whatever happens, be sure to keep your cool. Don't show signs of anger at the police officer. Senseless angry remarks thrown at the police will only make the judge mad and tilt the case against your favor. Be polite to the judge, for he or she will be the one to decide your case.

Stall the Court Date
One trick to win the case is to stall the court date as long as you can. Do anything in your power to stall a date. When you stall the date as long as possible, you hope that the police officer will forget the date. If the police officer does not show up, you automatically win the case.

Never Admit Your Guilt
Throughout the court hearing, never admit your guilt. Attempting to appeal to the judge or the police officer who issued the fine with excuses or reasons why you were speeding will make you seem more likely guilty.

Cross Examine the Police Officer
During cross examination, ask the police officer about the event. Memories are prone to forgetting essential details. If during the case, the officer leaves out any vital details or gives out information you believe to not be true, attack on that point or accuse the police officer of poor judgment. Never back down. Of course, be sure to back it up with evidence.

Bring Witnesses
The judge can show leniency if the act was done under duress. If you fought with your spouse before the speeding occurred or you have a medical history of depression, the judge can be more lenient to your case. Of course, whatever you do, do not ever lie because perjury is an offense.

Is a Speeding Ticket Lawyer Really Necessary?

One of the first things to consider before employing a speeding ticket lawyer is the severity of the violation. Many speeding tickets can simply be dispatched with the payment of a fine, so you must consider the particular circumstances to determine the reason for the matter going to court.

Challenging the Ticket
There are some occasions when speeding ticket defense is required because you intend to challenge the violation. This also depends on the situation that you are disputing. In the event that the speeding ticket is invalid because it has not been signed, you simply need to provide proof of this, which will not require the assistance of a lawyer. However, where the point you are disputing is a complicated one, a lawyer may be helpful. Be aware that you have the same entitlement to any evidence as a lawyer does.

Reducing Your Charges
In the event that you have been called to court because the speeding ticket is the last in line of several violations, you may need the assistance of a speeding ticket lawyer. The accumulation of crimes can mean that the level of punishment you can earn is increased. A lawyer will be in a better position to negotiate this down to the lowest possible level. The more violations you have collected, the more prudent it is to engage a professional.

Common Speeding Ticket Defense Strategies

There are many speeding ticket defenses that you can use to help get that ticket, and more importantly any points, off of your record.

Challenge the Accuracy
When your ticket is written, before you pull away, make sure it is accurate to the nth degree. If there are any problems with it, such as writing down the wrong license plate number, wrong location, etc., you can get the ticket thrown out due to these inaccuracies.

Record the Location
If you were driving and the location of the speed limit sign was in a bad place, you may have a case. You can easily make a speeding ticket appeal if the sign is not easy to see. Maybe a tree or something was blocking it. Whatever the case may be, this can help you defend your actions.

Question Laser and Radar Reliability
You might be able to prove that the radar was unreliable on the day you got your ticket. The same applies to a laser speeding ticket. The burden of proof will be on you, though, so do quite a lot of homework.

Create Doubt
Try creating doubt in the mind of the judge, as to the officer's testimony. Most judges will heed the notes of the officer and believe their testimony. However, if you can call into question some of the more minute details, you might stand a chance. Ask about whether the officer remembers the weather that day, where the sun was. Reflections off the laser can cause a misread. Ask if the officer remembers what clothes you had on or other pertinent details. This could partially discredit the officer's memory of the incident and the judge will show leniency.

Related Questions and Answers

Are there any Speeding Fine Loopholes?

In truth, speeding is speeding and there are few speeding fine loopholes. However, officers have a bit of discretion in how the law will be applied. For example, in most states there is a multi-tiered fine system in that if you are speeding and are 10 mph or less over the speed limit, the fine would likely be about $50. It begins to get expensive once you've hit the 10 mph over mark, as you then gain a dollar per mile per hour over the limit at which you were driving. For example, if one was to drive 80 in a 40 zone, one would find the fine to be $350 ($50 plus 30*10=$300+$50). You'd be lucky to work out of that one, unless you were rushing a very pregnant wife or sick/injured person to the hospital. For the most part, if you are driving within 10 mph of the limit you will the officer will probably give you a warning, which is just an administrative tool, and let it go at that.

What are the Average CA Speeding Ticket Fines?

If you were to be given a speeding ticket in California, you will soon learn CA speeding ticket fines. The first thing to note is that there is no average speeding ticket fine in California. Instead, it is a muti-tiered system where for 1 to 15 mph over the limit, your fine would be $146. If you are driving at between 15 and 25 over the speed limit, your fine will be $266. And, if your speeding fine were for more than 26 over the limit, your ticket would be $380. Add to this, though, anything else you might be doing such as racing through traffic lanes (failure to stay in lane), running through traffic control signals at speed (failure to heed traffic warnings), or driving through traffic with the horn blaring and gestures (road rage), and you could find yourself facing a whole lot more than just $380. Indeed, if someone is injured during your speeding incident, you might lose your license and your freedom, too.

Where can I Get Speeding Ticket Advice Online?

Speeding ticket advice online is available from several sources. One that is rather prominent is run by Avvo and features about 8,000 articles and posts about speeding tickets. The only note here is to make sure your state is covered by this system. Then there's the eHow system, which gives you advice primarily on how to pay your speeding ticket, but has advice on how to act in court and the type of information you should be gathering. Finally, there's essortment, which provides a high level of information regarding speeding, your rights and responsibilities. One thing that all sites urge is keeping your cool and taking things as they come. Anger won't solve a thing, and may in fact, worsen your situation.

Does it Cost Money to Fight a Speeding Ticket in Court?

Depending on the seriousness of the speeding charge and any others that the police officer might have written on the ticket, having to fight a speeding ticket in court can be an expensive proposition. At this moment, for example, most lawyers bill their clients at about $200 per hour. Now, unless you are using your state's free legal aid, just calling your lawyer and you will set the costs to roll up. If it takes six hours to fight in court, then you are looking at a $1,200 legal bill. And if you not only lose on the ticket, but you lose on court costs, you may find that you have another $300 to $500 on your bill. That could make fighting a simple speeding ticket cost anywhere from $1,200 to $1,700.

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