When you receive a speeding ticket, paying the fine and moving on with your life can be tempting. However, it's important to know there are ways to challenge the ticket and potentially avoid the negative consequences of a traffic violation on your record. One common approach is to challenge the calibration of the speed-measuring device used by the law enforcement officer (LEO) who issued the ticket.
This blog post will explore the truth about speeding ticket defenses and how radar guns can be wrong.
How Speed Measuring Works
Speed measuring devices used by law enforcement officers include RADAR, LIDAR, pacing, and estimation.
- RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging) is the most common method, which uses radio waves to measure the speed of a vehicle.
- LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is like RADAR but uses laser technology instead of radio waves.
- Pacing involves an officer following a vehicle and matching its speed, then using its speedometer to determine how fast the vehicle travels.
- Estimating speed is when an officer visually determines a vehicle's speed by watching it and making a judgment based on their training and experience. Yes, it is the equivalent of guessing, but many judges will allow it for seasoned officers.
What’s more, most drivers don’t bother to challenge their speeding tickets, which is often an expensive mistake. It can cost you nearly $2,000 to pay the fine and accept the increased insurance premiums for three years.
Challenge the Law Enforcement Officer's (LEO) Training or the Device's Calibration
One way to challenge the accuracy of a speeding ticket is to challenge the training of the law enforcement officer who issued the ticket or the calibration of the device they used to measure your speed. For a speed measuring device to be considered accurate, it must be properly calibrated and maintained. If there is evidence that the device was not calibrated correctly, or the LEO was not properly trained, this could be used as a defense against the ticket.
Also, these records are public information that you can subpoena. However, a local CA traffic attorney knows how to get the information and present it in court for your benefit. The standard of proof in traffic court is the same as a criminal trial, proof of guilt ”beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Challenge the LEO's Estimation of Your Speed
One way to challenge the accuracy of a speeding ticket is to challenge the training of the law enforcement officer who issued the ticket or the calibration of the device they used to measure your speed. For a speed-measuring device to be considered accurate, it must be properly calibrated and maintained. If there is evidence that the device was not calibrated correctly or the LEO was not properly trained, this could be used as a defense against the ticket.
Also, these records are public information that you can subpoena. However, a local CA traffic attorney knows how to get and present the information in court for your benefit. The standard of proof in traffic court is the same as a criminal trial, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Plus, the LEO might present themselves as trained and experienced, but if they only been on patrol for one or two years, are they really “experienced?”
Why You Need a Traffic Attorney for a Possible Favorable Challenge
We already discussed some things a speeding ticket lawyer could do for you but consider these:
While it's possible to challenge a speeding ticket alone, navigating the legal system and building a strong case without legal expertise can be difficult. This is why it's important to work with a traffic attorney with experience handling speeding ticket defenses.
A traffic attorney can help you understand your rights and options, gather evidence to support your case and represent you in court. They can also negotiate with the traffic court judge to potentially reduce the charges or have the case dismissed altogether.
Challenging Your Speeding Ticket in Court
Many drivers believe they can explain to the traffic court judge how they got a speeding ticket, “throw themselves on the mercy of the court,” pay a fine, and that’s the end of it. However, that’s not how it works in the real world.
In the real world, drivers spend a lot of time in traffic courts waiting for their names to be called. They sit there listening to other drivers who represent themselves getting slammed by the judge and figure they have no chance. So, when their name is finally called, they plead guilty and pay the fine. Sometimes, they take a chance, plead not guilty and come back another day if the court to too busy, which they usually are.
When they get their “day-in-court,” they get tongued-tied due to stage fright or tell their story and admit guilt. Whichever scenario exists, the result is the same. They hear the judge proclaim, “Guilty, pay the court clerk on the way out.” They also think that is the end of it. Once again, that is not the reality.
Once you pay that speeding ticket fine, the CA DMV will assess negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points. For speeding ticket convictions under 100 mph, the DMV will assess one NOTS point that will stay on your record for three years. Then, when your auto insurance comes up for renewal, your insurance provider will discover the NOTS point, take away your “good driver’s discount” of 20%, and add another 10-15% for the added risk from your conviction.
By the way, speeding over 100 mph is a major infraction and assessed two NOTS points that stay on your record for seven years and cost you tens of thousands more in auto insurance premiums.
The average California driver will pay $2,291 for full coverage in 2023. Therefore, if you pay an increased premium of 30 to 35%, you’ll pay an additional $687.30 to $801.50 per year for three years. That could total between $2,061.90 and $2,404.50, plus the fine.
Ask Bigger & Harman About Challenging your Speeding Ticket in Needles, CA Traffic Court
Radar guns can be wrong when not calibrated or used correctly. There are several ways to challenge the accuracy of a speeding ticket. By understanding how speed measuring devices work and working with a traffic attorney, you can potentially avoid the negative consequences of a traffic violation on your record. If you've received a speeding ticket, don't hesitate to reach out to a traffic attorney to explore your options and determine the best course of action.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
CVC Section 22350, Speed Laws.
The Bankrate.com article, Average cost of car insurance in CA for 2023.