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What You Need to Know When Pulled Over for a Speeding Ticket

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Could this be your story? You put in a long day at the construction site, and you’re on your way home. You’re tired and looking forward to a shower, some dinner and Monday Night Football. You know the Rams are going to crush the Eagles. Sure, the Eagles just won the Superbowl, but they aren’t anywhere near the same team this year. You visualize Gurley busting through the line for the TD when suddenly the lights and siren come on.

MNF, LEO, the Speeding Ticket & a $1500 Increase in Auto Insurance

What? Wait, what happened? Oh, you are being pulled over. You quickly look down to see how fast you’re going only to discover you were speeding, 58 in a 45-mph zone. OK, not too bad, but what do I do now?

The first thing you should do is flip on your four-way flashers to acknowledge that you have seen the CHP officer, slow down and find a safe place to pull over to the curb. If you are in the third or fourth lane, be sure to cross over to the curb carefully. Then, shut off the engine, and stay in the car with your hands on the steering wheel.

A traffic stop is a very hazardous procedure for a law enforcement officer (LEO); in fact, more police died during traffic stops than at any other time on duty. Making any sudden moves like reaching for your registration and insurance papers in the glove compartment is not safe for you or the LEO. They do not know what’s in the glovebox. It is best to wait for the officer to ask you for those.

License, Registration & Insurance, Please

Almost every time a law enforcement officer (LEO) stops you, the first thing they ask is for license, registration and proof of insurance. Be very deliberate and slow with every movement. Tell the LEO what you are going to do: “My registration is in the glove compartment; I will get it.” Or, “my wallet is in my back pocket.” While you’re reaching for those, they’ll either ask, “Do you know why I stopped you?” or “Do you know how fast you were going?”

Almost every time, the driver will say, “I may have been doing a little over the speed limit, maybe 75?” And, they’re thinking, “Bam, touchdown!” No matter how fast you were actually going, you just admitted that you were speeding. The best response is to ignore the question, and innocently ask, “Why did you stop me, officer?”

Never Admit Guilt

Remember, everything you say to an officer is admissible as evidence in court. Speeding ticket lawyers repeatedly warn drivers not to confirm they were speeding. If you know you were speeding, there is no reason to lie, just don’t answer. Telling LEO you were speeding will give them what they need when testifying in court, whether they actually caught you speeding or not. Frequently, the calibration wasn’t working, or they weren’t able to pace you long enough to determine your speed accurately.

What’s Next if You Get a Speeding Ticket

The officer will show you where to sign. Signing is not an admission of guilt but your agreement to resolve the ticket by paying the fine or showing up in court on the appointed day. Your signature on the ticket is like a release on “personal recognizance.”

However, before paying the fine, you should always consult a traffic ticket attorney. Guilty or innocent, there could be a chance of getting the speeding ticket dismissed or getting the charges reduced to a no-point conviction. In the scenario where you accept a no-point conviction, you will need to pay the fine and the lawyer, but your insurance will not go up, which saves the average CA driver $1500.

If you are not eligible to attend traffic school, you will lose your “good driver’s discount,” and you will get placed in a higher risk category. Those two actions by insurance companies cost the average driver a 40 percent increase for the three years the ticket will stay on their driving record. Talk it over with a speeding ticket lawyer before you decide to pay the fine.

Consult with a Speeding Ticket Lawyer

When you get pulled over for speeding on I-5 or SR-99 in Fresno County, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, for a free phone consultation. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755. Although our office is in Bakersfield, we practice traffic law throughout the Central Valley.

We have a superior record of dismissals and reduced charges in Fresno County Traffic Court, primarily on speeding 100+ mph. We defend it like no other, and we can likely help you with any traffic ticket you may have as well. Call, email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com, or personal message us on Facebook.

References:

The 2018 CA Driver Handbook .pdf

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