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When Should I Fight a Speeding Ticket?

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Getting a speeding ticket could produce hefty fines and increased insurance premiums if convicted. However, you should always consult with a traffic ticket defense lawyer before you decide to fight any ticket or just pay the fine. A Central Valley traffic lawyer knows what elements of the CA Vehicle Code the state must prove to find you guilty and which technicalities could lead to dismissal, so you have a better chance of winning the fight, not paying a fine, and most importantly from a financial standpoint, no increased insurance premiums.

Of course, the best method to beat a speeding ticket is not to get one. Many Californians would say, “Easier said than done, everyone speeds, and eventually, you will get caught.” The truth is not everyone speeds, but when they get caught, everyone should consult a traffic lawyer. 

How to Prevent a Speeding Ticket

There are a few things you can do to prevent a speeding ticket, and they are relatively simple habits to adjust to while driving. 

1. Make sure you pay attention to your surroundings. When you let your mind wander, there is more of a chance your speed will suddenly creep up on you. Even though you think you are just “going with the flow of traffic” and not going over the speed limit, they might all be speeding. Likewise, that defense will not work in traffic court. Saying, “Well, your honor, I was just ‘going with the flow,’ everybody was speeding, and the law enforcement officer (LEO) picked on me.” Oops, you just pleaded guilty to speeding. 

It’s almost understandable if you’re a newcomer to the area, surrounded by all the beauty and natural wonders of the Owens Valley. Commuters and visitors have used I-395 since before it received a numerical designation, back when everyone called it “El Camino Sierra” which translates to “the Sierra road.” 

2. Pay attention to what the actual speed limit is. On I-395 it frequently changes when you come upon a city or road grade that makes it dangerous to travel too fast. If you pay attention to the posted speed limit, then you won’t get a speeding ticket in good weather conditions. You can, however, be going the speed limit and get a speeding ticket when the road conditions are not fit for the speed limit. CA Vehicle Code 22350Speed Laws states, you cannot travel “…at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility…”etc., when that speed“endangers the safety”of others and/or property.

3. Watch the flow of traffic. This is important because if you're the only car going fast and passing by other vehicles, that will get the officer's attention and you have a higher chance of being pulled over.

4. If you're in an area you don't know well, make sure you are paying attention. You must be ready for any sudden changes in the speed limit for school zones, road construction, and hill grades. Many times, the LEO will sit in these areas because people don't pay attention and the fines are doubled, which means more revenue for Inyo County and the state.

5. Often, you can quickly spot a police car before you come upon them. And, it is unlawful for CA LEOs to use unmarked vehicles.

In California, two methods are used to measure speed with radar. The first is a car-mounted radar gun. These make it so that the police can be in motion or sitting still and they have a digital display under their dash that lets them see your speed as soon as you go past. There are two methods to measure speed using this mode, always on, or manual on, which the LEO will use to fool radar detectors. The other type is a hand-held radar gun. The police officer must be sitting still for these to work correctly or they will have to figure in their rate of speed and the effect that has on the radar. 

Therefore, they usually park somewhere and then point it out the window. The difference between the two is that the car-mounted radar can continuously read speeds while the hand-held requires the LEO to aim the radar gun at a car to read the speed. 

The angle of measure and the further away the vehicle is from the gun the less accurate it is, and the same goes for the size of the vehicle. So, as you approach the radar gun, another car with a higher profile, like an SUV coming up behind you could be the one actually speeding. Many drivers depend on a radar detector, which is legal in CA, so why not use it?

How to Handle a Speeding Ticket

When you receive a speeding ticket, not only are there fines for convictions, but you also must deal with higher insurance rates. Having just one conviction could raise your premium $500 a year. You will pay a higher insurance rate for at least the three years the speeding ticket will remain on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR), or $1500. 

Another issue is, if you can't go to traffic school or defensive driving school, the ticket will be placed on your public driving record. There are several reasons you may not be eligible for traffic school such as, you already used it within the previous 18 months to mask a ticket; you were driving a commercial motor vehicle; or you have a mandatory court appearance, which usually means your ticket was a major infraction, misdemeanor, or felony, etc. The court reminder will state if you are eligible for traffic school, but in many cases, a traffic ticket defense lawyer can get the judge to allow traffic school or make the ticket a no-point ticket. 

Although many drivers think of lawyers as expensive, it can be much cheaper over the course of the three years than just paying the fine. The average insurance rate increase for a first or second speeding ticket is $500 per year, or $1500 for three years, plus the $230-250 fine for just 1-15 mph over the limit, and it goes up from there. A conviction could cost nearly $2000 for going just ten mph over.  

Getting a traffic ticket can have some severe consequences besides just the fine, and you don't want to fight it alone. Having a lawyer can save money and make the whole process easier!  You won’t even have to appear in court. You can go to work or school as if nothing happened.

Inyo County Traffic Courts & Lawyers  

Bigger & Harman represent clients in Independence and Bishop, CA, traffic courts. So, when you get a speeding ticket coming back from skiing in Mammoth or site-seeing at Mt Whitney, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. They will provide a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to resolving your ticket and tell you how much it will cost. Se habla Español 661.349.9755.

Bigger & Harman work on a flat rate basis. They do not charge by the hour like some lawyers, so there is no surprise, no matter the amount of time spent or how many times they go to court to resolve your ticket.   

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com. We will reply with your options as soon as the office opens, or we get back from court.

View the Bigger & Harman Facebook page for traffic code updates, road/lane closures, and legal advice. You can also read their bio, reviews, and feedback on Avvo and Nolo, two of the internet’s most prestigious lawyer references in the nation. Or, refer to Yelp for written input and reviews by their clients. 

References:

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 22350Speed Laws

The 2018 CA Driver Handbook .pdf

The 2018 California Superior Court Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors.pdf