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Speeding Ticket Appeals

September 22nd, 2021|

My time as an attorney and a District Court judge has given me years of experience handling speeding ticket appeals. If you get a speeding ticket, my advice is to fight it in court. A ticket will increase the cost of your insurance for years to come.

When you appeal a speeding ticket, you have two chances to succeed.

The first is a hearing before a Clerk Magistrate. The individual police officer who wrote your ticket does not have to appear at this hearing. Another officer can simply read the report into evidence. Consequently, few tickets are dismissed at this stage due to the officer’s failure to appear. Sometimes no one from the police department shows up at all, so it can happen.

If you are not happy with the result of the hearing before the Clerk, you have a right to appeal before a judge. At that hearing, the officer who wrote the ticket must appear. If that officer does not appear, and you do, the ticket is dismissed. A fair percentage of tickets are dismissed at this stage.

At either hearing, it is difficult to challenge the reliability of lidar or radar so I normally advise clients not to fight that fight. Sometimes there are line of sight issues or other evidentiary challenges worth raising, but normally you are throwing yourself on the mercy of the court and asking for a break. At the hearing I think it is very important to humanize yourself. I often have my client’s testify about their background and maybe why he or she was driving so fast.

Most clerks feel that they only have two choices, to find you responsible or not responsible, although they all know that they have the discretion to reduce the speed.

Judges are more flexible and, before the right judge, I try to offer alternatives to a responsible finding. For example, sometimes I offer to have my client perform community service in lieu of a responsible finding for speeding. My argument is that if my client is found responsible, only the insurance company benefits. If my client performs community service, society benefits, so everybody wins.

If you hire an attorney, which, while not strictly necessary, is probably a good idea, get one who knows the clerks and knows the judges.

You might win just by arriving at your hearing. As Woody Allen once said, 80% of success is showing up.

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