Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Can I beat my speeding ticket?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

On my last pizza delivery at 12:30am, I got a speeding ticket for driving 34mph in a 25mph. No cars were around, and the officer clocked me immediately as the street changed from a 35 to a 25. North Carolina Speed Law states: "no person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing."

The fact that I'm a pizza driver who knows the area extremely well combined with the vacancy of the road, never in my life receiving a driving citation, and the timing of when she clocked me, do I have sufficient proof to have the fine reduced or thrown out completely? Any ideas how I can improve my case?

Edited by progressiveman1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Short answer: Probably not.

Longer answer: Ask a licensed attorney.

General idea, which should not be taken as legal advice, and is merely a general statement about the law in this area: Many states (including mine) have similar constructions for their speeding laws. They state that it is unlawful to operate a vehicle in a manner unreasonable under the circumstances, and then go on to say that operating a vehicle in excess of the posted or statute-defined speed limit is prima facie evidence of unreasonable operation. This means that all the prosecutor has to prove is that you operated your vehicle at a speed in excess of the legal speed limit in order to win. If he proves this, then you will only be able to win if you can prove, by at least a preponderance of evidence, that despite your speed in excess of the posted limit, you were not operating your vehicle in an unreasonable manner under the circumstances. You have to overcome the presumption of unreasonableness that arises out of the prima facie evidence against you. This is a difficult presumption to rebut. I have seen it done by good lawyers, and even by one very very smart law student defending himself. But other than that law student, I have never seen that defense succeed when argued by a pro se defendant.

~Q

Edited by Qwertz
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your scheming is somewhat unnecessary. I have found that it varies by county (I live in NC too).

1. You could show up on your court date. If the cop is a no show you’re fine. Sometimes a clerk may be able to reduce the ticket for you (or the ticket may be thrown out entirely).

2. You could just get a lawyer.

3. You could plead PJC. This can be risky however because if you get another ticket within 3 years you’ll be hit with both at once.

4. If you were only 9 over I think you’d get points but your insurance wouldn’t go up (check on that) so it doesn’t really matter.

I have received three speeding tickets in NC in 3 different counties 21, 18, & 15(I hate pigs BTW) over. I was able to get all of them reduced with the wonderful plea of “improper equipment” with the help of a lawyer. Improper equipment is a non-moving violation (no points)

If I were you I’d get a lawyer and see if he can get it reduced to improper equipment. Only some counties alow that I think. The fact that you have no previous violations improves your case imensely.

Link to post
Share on other sites
What if I can get the officer to admit he lied on the citation paper, such as writing that I was going 34 and he admits in court I was going 40?
Ha ha! If I was the judge, and I heard that, I would apply the maximum fine. Police officers routinely do this, and if you were to pursue that line, it would be evidence to me that you were probably doing 40.
Link to post
Share on other sites
...(I hate pigs BTW)...

RationalBiker is a cop and from what little I know of him on this forum, he seems nice and fair. Certainly not worthy of any hatred. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most cops are good people and many of them far more rational than the general public. Sure, there are bad apples in every bunch, but to condemn everyone in a certain profession and to use such a strong word as hate, is ugly and irrational. I actually feel sympathy for most cops. Just watch any of the reality based cop shows, just one episode, and imagine having to put up with that kind of stupid crap every day. Jeez!

I hate speeding tickets and the fact that they usually have nothing to do with public safety and are simply another way for the government to steal money from us, but that's quite a bit different from what you stated.

Edited by K-Mac
Link to post
Share on other sites
On my last pizza delivery at 12:30am, I got a speeding ticket for driving 34mph in a 25mph. No cars were around, and the officer clocked me immediately as the street changed from a 35 to a 25. North Carolina Speed Law states: "no person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing."

The fact that I'm a pizza driver who knows the area extremely well combined with the vacancy of the road, never in my life receiving a driving citation, and the timing of when she clocked me, do I have sufficient proof to have the fine reduced or thrown out completely? Any ideas how I can improve my case?

No.

Here's a better idea: If you don't want to get speeding tickets, then obey the speed limit posted.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's a better idea: If you don't want to get speeding tickets, then obey the speed limit posted.

I obey the speed limit only if either 1) it makes sense, or 2) it's enforced.

There's an avenue I have to take every day going to and from work. For some reason the limit was reduced from 60 kph (about 35 mph) to 40 kph (about 25 mph). Well, it doesn't make sense and the traffic cops don't enforce it. So I keep going near 60 klicks there.

On the upper level of a freeway the limit is 60 kph, while it's 80 kph on the lower level. But there are speed traps with cameras on the upper level, therefore I do only 60. I ahven't decided if it makes sense.

Link to post
Share on other sites
North Carolina Speed Law states: "no person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing."

The fact that I'm a pizza driver who knows the area extremely

Two things;

1) It doesn't help you that you know the area extremely well because then you should know that area is drops from 35 to 25 mph. Knowing that indicates a more willful disregard of the speed limit.

2) In my jurisdiction, when we pace someone (gauge their speed by following behind them) we have to follow them at least 1/4 of a mile for an "accurate" pace. You may check with an attorney or some other source to find out if your jurisdiction has some other such requirement. Addtionally, the officer may be required to show some certificate that his speedometer was recently calibrated as accurate.

In the past, having your speedometer calibrated could make a difference, if it showed that it inaccurately displayed you going slower than your vehicle's actual speed. If that is the case, you may still be convicted of some improper equipment violation, but that is not a moving violation generally.

RationalBiker is a cop and from what little I know of him on this forum, he seems nice and fair.

Thanks K-Mac.

I give little credence to people who use the term "pig" anyway. It's typically an indication of a vitriolic bias that is not overcome by reasonable argument.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This means that all the prosecutor has to prove is that you operated your vehicle at a speed in excess of the legal speed limit in order to win. If he proves this, then you will only be able to win if you can prove, by at least a preponderance of evidence, that despite your speed in excess of the posted limit, you were not operating your vehicle in an unreasonable manner under the circumstances. You have to overcome the presumption of unreasonableness that arises out of the prima facie evidence against you.

I think this is my best option. Let me know what you think of this argument:

1. I will videotape how desolate the area is at 12:30am on Saturday night. There are hardly any cars at all and definitely no people walking around. I think most people would agree that there is less precision of speed needed during very light traffic times compared to heavier traffic. (I wonder if there's a statistic or study I can find that proves this.)

2. I will use the videotape to show that 25mph (the posted speed limit) is excessively slow and actually more dangerous than 34mph (the speed written on my ticket). I'll conduct physical experiments at the location going 25mph, and inevitably I will soon be getting tailgated by another car behind me and ending up clogging traffic considerably. It will prove that driving 25mph puts one in more risk of an accident because the way other drivers react to it. I want to find some statistic or study that shows it is safer to drive the same speed as the rest of the cars (reasonably) as opposed to making it more dangerous by driving slower.

To prove the point even further that 25mph is excessively slow in the area, I will videotape from inside the car going that speed to show how slow it actually is. It is like moving at a crawl.

3. And to prove that 34mph is safe and actually preferable, I will videotape the relation my speed has on others around me. How it effects tailgating, flow of traffic, cars entering, people walking, etc. From my experience, it causes no problems.

Then I will show inside the car driving at 34mph. The car and driver are under complete control at this speed.

Edited by progressiveman1
Link to post
Share on other sites
. If you were only 9 over I think you’d get points but your insurance wouldn’t go up (check on that) so it doesn’t really matter.

Actually, many major insurance companies are now starting to rate clients for driving citations as well, not just accidents anymore. It's one of those things you see popping up in insurance journals, which i have the great (sarcastic) pleasure of keeping up to speed on. Some companies are charging you a rate increase per infraction, and some are letting them just build on your policy so that you are not charged for the infractions themselves, but if you ever did have an accident or claim, they would charge you the extra rating as if you had had that claim PLUS all those other infractions suddenly count as "claims" and your rate goes up a lot more than it would of if you had just had the accident with no prior history of traffic violations. It's a relatively new thing; it literally just started within the last six months or so, so the industry hasn't come up with a consistent way of dealing with this; each company still has their own policy on this matter. But they cannot hide this change; check your policy or your renewal paperwork. You'll want to look through those papers and look for the phrase "experienced rating." This will tell when and for what your insurance company will raise your rates.

As for getting the officer to admit he lied, good luck with that. I would really doubt you could get an officer to say that he screwed up in the duties of his job in order to save you from a fine and a few points on your license. You'd need a really good attorney to wiggle out of this, and the expense of that just would not seem prudent when compared to the cost of just paying the ticker and dealing with the points on your license for a few years. I had a trust-fund friend who recently tried this, though his ticket was for running a stop sign. All in all, he spent over $7,500 in legal fees to contest a $50 ticket. And he lost.

The statement of the law that requires you to drive within reason given the conditions of other traffic, the roads, etc. works in conjunction with the posted speed limit. The posted limit helps define what the reasonable limit is - though I am not about to argue that the limit posted is always reasonable. But that's how the law sees it, and as much as you don't like it, the officer was doing his job by helping to enforce such law. Could cops be put to better use than watching for speeding violations at 12:30am, yes, but that doesn't change the fact that you violated the law as it stood. TO make an overdramatic example, just because a murderer does not get caught does not mean he didn't commit the murder. He still did it. And as much as we may all contest the notion of speeding laws and limits, you still violated those laws. If you want to make a principled stand and spend a lot of money to try and get an officer to admit he's incompetent, then go for it. Financially, and even legally, however I would not advise you to take such a course. Maybe a better course would be to make a public fuss about it and pursue trying to have the law changed. It sounds strange, but somehow I think that path would offer less resistance and might produce greater results.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think this is my best option. Let me know what you think of this argument:

...

Sounds like a lot of work for one measly speeding ticket.

The point is: these kinds of laws are not meant to be broken. You should not be driving over the speed limit, no matter the time of day because, for example, someone could be legitimately walking on the side of the street and you wouldn't be able to anticipate that and slow down in time. Furthermore, speed limits should be enforced even more at night precisely because it is dark. There could be deer, people, etc. This is not only for others' safety but also for your own.

The fact that the government is enforcing these rules, and not a private company, does not matter. Whoever owns the road has a responsibility to make sure drivers who speed are properly punished. Otherwise, who would ever want to travel on such a road where the cops don't take speed limits seriously??

I do think that speed limits could be adjusted depending on the time of day if proper reasoning was provided. However, that does not give anyone the right to speed "at will" because they feel they are justified to do so. Until a change in the speed limit is made, you must obey the law.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Only a lawyer can give you legal advice; it is illegal for non-lawyers to engage in the practice of law.

If you are intent on fighting a speeding ticket on principle, it will cost you. In all likelihood much more than the ticket. Keep in mind that if you contest the charges, you will be subject to additional, expensive court costs. If you insist on taking it to trial your court costs will balloon. Add to this the necessary costs of hiring a lawyer if you want anything more than a hypothetical chance of winning.

Some of your proposed evidence is inadmissible, and some of it (video evidence of yourself driving over the speed limit again) will get you into more trouble.

The deck is stacked against you. If it is important to you, you will need counsel.

~Q

Link to post
Share on other sites
The fact that the government is enforcing these rules, and not a private company, does not matter. Whoever owns the road has a responsibility to make sure drivers who speed are properly punished. Otherwise, who would ever want to travel on such a road where the cops don't take speed limits seriously??

Ever hear of the autobahn? Or the isle of Mann?

The only place a speed limit makes sense is in residential districts. Even then, common sense and alertness are the only real factors that prevent accidents.

The difference in a driver's ability to brake and slow his car between 25 mph and 35 mph for instance, is insignificant. Speed limits should be more like speed guidelines. A caution to the driver. Not a noose.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think this is my best option. Let me know what you think of this argument:

1. I will videotape how desolate the area is at 12:30am on Saturday night. There are hardly any cars at all and definitely no people walking around. I think most people would agree that there is less precision of speed needed during very light traffic times compared to heavier traffic. (I wonder if there's a statistic or study I can find that proves this.)

2. I will use the videotape to show that 25mph (the posted speed limit) is excessively slow and actually more dangerous than 34mph (the speed written on my ticket). I'll conduct physical experiments at the location going 25mph, and inevitably I will soon be getting tailgated by another car behind me and ending up clogging traffic considerably. It will prove that driving 25mph puts one in more risk of an accident because the way other drivers react to it. I want to find some statistic or study that shows it is safer to drive the same speed as the rest of the cars (reasonably) as opposed to making it more dangerous by driving slower.

To prove the point even further that 25mph is excessively slow in the area, I will videotape from inside the car going that speed to show how slow it actually is. It is like moving at a crawl.

3. And to prove that 34mph is safe and actually preferable, I will videotape the relation my speed has on others around me. How it effects tailgating, flow of traffic, cars entering, people walking, etc. From my experience, it causes no problems.

Then I will show inside the car driving at 34mph. The car and driver are under complete control at this speed.

Ever see "The Caine Mutiny?" You sound like Bogart's character Captain Queeg trying to prove the existence of a duplicate key to the ward room--all to get to the bottom of what happened to a missing pint of strawberries! How much can that ticket possibly cost, 50-60 bucks? My advice, pay it, and next time you drive down that road, slow down.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Ever hear of the autobahn? Or the isle of Mann?

The only place a speed limit makes sense is in residential districts. Even then, common sense and alertness are the only real factors that prevent accidents.

The difference in a driver's ability to brake and slow his car between 25 mph and 35 mph for instance, is insignificant. Speed limits should be more like speed guidelines. A caution to the driver. Not a noose.

Yes, I have heard of the Autobahn. It is known for not having a speed limit. Driving as fast as you want on such a road is fine because everyone around you knows you're going to do it and will look out for themselves accordingly.

This is very different from setting your own "speed guidelines" that nobody can anticipate.

Edited by Mimpy
Link to post
Share on other sites
I think this is my best option. Let me know what you think of this argument:

1. I will videotape how desolate the area is at 12:30am on Saturday night. There are hardly any cars at all and definitely no people walking around. I think most people would agree that there is less precision of speed needed during very light traffic times compared to heavier traffic. (I wonder if there's a statistic or study I can find that proves this.)

2. I will use the videotape to show that 25mph (the posted speed limit) is excessively slow and actually more dangerous than 34mph (the speed written on my ticket). I'll conduct physical experiments at the location going 25mph, and inevitably I will soon be getting tailgated by another car behind me and ending up clogging traffic considerably. It will prove that driving 25mph puts one in more risk of an accident because the way other drivers react to it. I want to find some statistic or study that shows it is safer to drive the same speed as the rest of the cars (reasonably) as opposed to making it more dangerous by driving slower.

To prove the point even further that 25mph is excessively slow in the area, I will videotape from inside the car going that speed to show how slow it actually is. It is like moving at a crawl.

3. And to prove that 34mph is safe and actually preferable, I will videotape the relation my speed has on others around me. How it effects tailgating, flow of traffic, cars entering, people walking, etc. From my experience, it causes no problems.

Then I will show inside the car driving at 34mph. The car and driver are under complete control at this speed.

All this for a speeding ticket? Are your poor?

You have yet to acknowledge that this ticket is a result of your own doing. Moreover, you have yet to acknowledge the fact that you don't have to get speeding tickets (for instance, by driving the speed limit or under).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mimpy, these two quotes of yours seem to contradict each other:

There could be deer, people, etc. [speed limits are] not only for others' safety but also for your own.
[Driving faster on a faster-marked road] is very different from setting your own "speed guidelines" that nobody can anticipate.
In the first quote you seem to say speed limits will keep you safer because slower speed is automatically safer, and in the second quote you seem to say that lower speed limits are safer because other people better know what to expect.

I think Myself is completely right about this. At most what is necessary are speeding guidelines, and then they aren't even necessary once a social norm is established. Everyone knows, for example, that you will meet one or two very fast drivers (relative) on the highway. Also, the highway has most people traveling about twice as fast as most residential areas. There might also be some crazies. Many people will be on their cell phones, and totally unaware of even one car that is driving around them. You will not find Indy 500 race cars. Nobody will be going 25mph... well, probably. See? That's where common sense and alertness come in, where they should always be. The road is never the same.

Also, speed limits make worse drivers. People believe that by driving the "right" speed, they are safer on the road. Fact is, they are less aware of what's happening around them because of this make-believe safety, so they wind up at a higher risk across the board for everything bad that can happen while driving. When I drive, I have to factor that in with everything else. I try to baby drivers around me; I try making it overly obvious what I am doing or plan to do, or I try to make myself invisible on the road altogether, so that I can take their poor judgement and reaction times out of my equation altogether.

As far as speeding tickets go, it is clear to me that the "system" is set to make it a downright stupid option to fight for one's innocence in any moving violation. Tickets are just another tax. The time in court alone cancels out any conceivable worth, added with the initial ticket cost, the court costs (which compound, as Qwertz described), the lawyer costs... If one is sure of his innocence even by the established law's standards, it is still not worth his time to fight. Better to call over the phone, pay with your credit card, and throw a mental, "F*ck you" to the nameless people responsible.

EDIT:

Moreover, you have yet to acknowledge the fact that you don't have to get speeding tickets (for instance, by driving the speed limit or under).
This is a small consolation when thought of in the scope of all moving violation tickets. You won't get a ticket for speeding, but perhaps your car isn't meeting law regulations, maybe in ways you weren't even aware mattered. Perhaps you thought you stopped at the sign, but the cop didn't, because he needs to write another ticket before his shift is up. Perhaps the cop thought he saw you swerve, though you didn't, and now he noticed your seat belt wasn't on, magically, even if you insist it was before you reached behind you to get your wallet. Perhaps you didn't know it was Football Saturday at OSU, and so all parking meters are void, even though you can still operate them! Ticket! Tow! (Yes, it is actually law in Columbus, OH, to know the OSU football team's season schedule.)

This all depends largely on your local group of law enforcement, but here in Columbus, it is obviously a high priority to for the road cops to actually make money for the city while on duty. On any given ten minute drive, I will see at least five cops on the road driving by me.

Edited by Capitalism Forever
Link to post
Share on other sites
The point is: these kinds of laws are not meant to be broken.

That's correct, in the sense that if you do anything the law prohibits, no matter how reasonable, you are screwed. However, in a more philosophical sense, the laws are meant to be broken:

"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken....There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted--and you create a nation of law-breakers--and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."
Link to post
Share on other sites
Mimpy, these two quotes of yours seem to contradict each other:

In the first quote you seem to say speed limits will keep you safer because slower speed is automatically safer, and in the second quote you seem to say that lower speed limits are safer because other people better know what to expect.

Those were not contradictory statements. I believe you have misunderstood what I was trying to say. I am not saying that speed limits are always safer (the Autobahn has very few accidents). In some instances, however, it is. For a specific road, given its conditions, it is reasonable to believe that a certain speed is safest to drive on it. Whatever the speed limit is, however, (or if there is no limit at all), what's important is that everyone is aware of it. Having "guidelines" makes this impossible. It is just an excuse to drive as fast as you want, with the ostensible justification that you really believe you can drive that fast and be safe at the same time. This is subjective law and its victims would be many.

Edited by Mimpy
Link to post
Share on other sites
That's correct, in the sense that if you do anything the law prohibits, no matter how reasonable, you are screwed. However, in a more philosophical sense, the laws are meant to be broken:

I don't believe driving at whatever speed you want is reasonable. It's not okay to break a law when doing so can negatively affect others. Driving at 50 mph on a 25mph road is not safe for pedestrians, other cars, etc. If you want to get the speed limit changed, then do that. But you have no right to subjectively decide that you are capable of driving faster and still be safe. Why? Because other drivers and the pedestrians expect that you will go at 25mph (or for the sake of argument, somewhere between 25-30mph). Going any faster (or slower) than that makes it impossible for other drivers and pedestrians to antipate what you are going to do and increases the chance of accident/injury.

Edited by Mimpy
Link to post
Share on other sites
The fact that the government is enforcing these rules, and not a private company, does not matter. Whoever owns the road has a responsibility to make sure drivers who speed are properly punished. Otherwise, who would ever want to travel on such a road where the cops don't take speed limits seriously??

I would like traveling on that road. A road where police use reasonable judgement instead of a strict number to ticket people.

All this for a speeding ticket? Are your poor?

You have yet to acknowledge that this ticket is a result of your own doing. Moreover, you have yet to acknowledge the fact that you don't have to get speeding tickets (for instance, by driving the speed limit or under).

It costs $125. Is that not a lot of money to most people?

I can't get myself to drive these ridiculously slow speeds all day every day. I honestly think that I would go crazy if I did.

Keep in mind that if you contest the charges, you will be subject to additional, expensive court costs. If you insist on taking it to trial your court costs will balloon.

So if I request a trial it's going to cost additional money?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Having "guidelines" makes this impossible. It is just an excuse to drive as fast as you want, with the ostensible justification that you really believe you can drive that fast and be safe at the same time. This is subjective law and its victims would be many.
Firstly, speed limits shouldn't be law, because roads shouldn't be owned by the government. Since it is and they are, you have to decide whether you're going to follow the law anyway. Is the consequence of breaking it worse than having to follow it? This is different than if the law actually accomplishes something useful.

Common sense and alertness trump the notion that a specific speed is necessary for safety on the road. In your 25-30 mph zone, if there were simply a guideline saying, "Cars will be driving down this road, they will not be spinning out of control up onto your lawn, and they will not be running into your parked cars. They will also avoid you when you step out onto the road," and if a pedestrian just looked both ways before he stepped onto the road, there would be no accidents, all things equal. If there was an accident, all of the road factors would have to be judged to see who was at fault. Did the pedestrian bolt into the middle of the road and stand directly in front of the car? Given the skid marks, would it have been possible for the car to stop if the pedestrian had slowly and carefully walked into the road?

The idea of a specific speed being "safe" is already being ignored by the majority of drivers everywhere, anyway. In a city, a person can't go 60 mph down a residential road, because there are too many intersections, and you can't accelerate fast enough. Additionally, assuming common sense and alertness on the part of the driver, he will know instantly that he couldn't stop fast enough for someone who did jump in front of him in the middle of the street, if he went 50-60mph. So, he drives more slowly. It is better decided by the specific driver at any given specific moment/situation on the road. A set speed is only asking for more accidents, because it reduces the level of awareness on everyone's part. If everyone were more aware in the first place, a specific speed would just be unnecessary.

So if I request a trial it's going to cost additional money?
Look up "beat your speeding ticket" on Google.
Link to post
Share on other sites
So if I request a trial it's going to cost additional money?

In my jurisdiction, just going to court costs an additional $109.00 to $220.00, depending on how fast you were going and in what kind of zone. Which you have to pay whether you win or lose. If you lose, you have to pay court costs plus the fine plus any other sentence that might be imposed (if permitted). And that's just for showing up, even if you're just showing up to plead nolo contendere. If you want discovery beyond what is allowed free of charge, you will pay extra.

I don't think this thread is about "when is it morally justified to break the speed limit laws." This is about legal tactics, which are really the proper province of a licensed attorney, but which we can all discuss generally. I'm pretty sure we already have a thread on speed limit laws and whether breaking them is morally justified. My two cents on that are the same two cents I give when asked whether any law should be broken: is it impossible to live qua man while still obeying the law? If so, then breaking it is morally justified. If not, then it isn't. If the law is nonetheless unjust, then you loudly and persistently advocate for its change or repeal.

~Q

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...