The most obvious way to get out of a speeding ticket is to not be pulled over in the first place. Distracted driving is often the cause of speeding. In many cases, someone is speeding because they did not know how fast they were driving, or they did not realize the speed limit changed. You should always remain focused on the road, checking your speedometer every few minutes, and not focusing on the radio, passengers, or any other distractions. This will ensure that you always know what the speed limit is and how fast you are driving.
Once you are pulled over, you want to be as un-memorable as possible to the police officer. You want the officer to feel safe and comfortable. Imagine all the types of people and dangers the officer must deal with on a daily basis. Be the opposite of that. Turn off your car, and turn the interior lights in your car on. Place your hands at ten and two on the steering wheel, and never get out of the car unless the officer instructs you to do so. The entire purpose of this is to ease the tension of the situation.
Often times, attitude is everything during a traffic stop. Be as polite and cooperative as possible with the officer. Remember, the officer has already pulled you over, so he has already seen you commit a traffic violation. Arguing with the officer is not going to get you anywhere. If you have ever heard of someone arguing with an officer during a traffic stop, and being successful in convincing the officer that they did not commit a traffic violation, we would love to hear about it. Arguing will only agitate the officer and all but lock in your fate that you are getting a ticket.
Being combative and argumentative will also make the officer remember you. Police Officers stop dozens, if not hundreds, of drivers every month for traffic violations. It would be impossible for officers to recall all of their traffic stops in detail, so they must rely on their notes to refresh their memory. The only notes an officer usually takes are what is written on the citation itself. However, officers will take more detailed notes when they believe the driver is going to fight the ticket in Court. By being polite and cooperative, you will give the impression that you do not intend to fight the ticket, so the officer will not take any additional notes, making it difficult for him or her to recall the details of the stop in the event of a trial.
When fighting a traffic citation in Court here in Nevada, it is treated just like any other misdemeanor criminal offense. Thus, you have all the same rights you would have in a misdemeanor criminal case: the right to a Bench Trial; the right to cross-examine all the witnesses against you; the right to subpoena witnesses on your own behalf; the right to remain silent and not have it held against you; the right to force the city or state to prove the charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt; and the right to appeal any conviction.
As with any crime, it is the prosecution’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were speeding. It is not your burden to prove that you were not speeding. The only witness for the prosecution will be the citing officer. To find you guilty, the officer must be able to recall very specific details about the stop, including the intersection, which direction you and he were traveling, traffic conditions, your speed, the speed limit, and the type of car you were driving. In most cases, the Trial does not take place until months after the stop, so the officer will have had hundred of encounters with other drivers and criminals in the meantime. This means that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for the officer to recall all the specific details about your stop, unless your stop was memorable and the officer took lengthy detailed notes. Without a memorable stop, it is not nearly as likely that the officer will be able to recall the details necessary to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were speeding.
Daniel E. Martinez, Esq.