There are many ways to fight a speeding ticket. Unfortunately, the following strategies are generally urban myths and probably will not work for you.
MYTH 1 – If the cop does not show up to your contested hearing, the court grants you a default judgment.
This is almost always not true. The citing officer is generally not required to attend the contested hearing unless a subpoena was sent. 99.99% of the time, you will get nowhere with this strategy.
MYTH 2 – The cop got the description of my car wrong. He wrote that I was driving a 1998 red Toyota Camry, but clearly you can see that it was actually a 1999 orange Toyota Corolla!
This rarely works. The officer’s description of your vehicle needs to be way off so that the respondent cannot be easily discerned from the citation and accompanying affidavit. If you were driving a mini-cooper and the citation says it was a pickup hauling a horse trailer, then you’ve got an argument. But this is rare. Also, if he got a letter or two wrong on your license plate – the Court will likely rule that this is a “Scrivners Error” that failed to prejudice the defendant.
MYTH 3 – I was going the speed of traffic. I wasn’t going any faster than anybody else.
This is more a plea for mercy than an actual defense. In fact, it’s an admission that you were speeding. It doesn’t matter if everybody was doing it, you were the one who got caught. The court might reduce your fine, but will still find that you committed the infraction, and that may affect your insurance premiums in addition to potential other harms depending on your driving history.
MYTH 4 – You can declare yourself a sovereign citizen and therefore receive “diplomatic immunity” (or something like it) from all traffic tickets.
I probably don’t need to refute this one for the majority of readers, but because I actually saw a candidate for Lieutenant Governor make this argument in traffic court (along with a few other individuals) I just thought I’d put it on the list.
SO HOW DO YOU SUCCESSFULLY FIGHT A TRAFFIC TICKET?
You get an attorney to represent you. This is a more complicated area of the law than most drivers suspect. It involves a comprehensive understanding of the Rules of Evidence and the Infraction Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction. It involves an understanding of speed measurement devices, their maintenance and certification; and being able to identify mistakes that officers make when filing reports and issuing citations that render said reports inadmissible.
The honest truth is that this area of the law can be very dry, technical, with relatively little scholarly information readily available. In some courts, the respondent is unopposed, but in others, a deputy prosecutor or Rule 9 intern will appear to defend the infraction. In either situation, your chances of success dramatically increase if you are represented by counsel.
Chris Van Vechten has fought to enforce over a thousand speeding tickets and other traffic infractions. He worked as a Rule 9 Prosecutor in Thurston County District Court and later in Lakewood/UP Municipal. Let him fight for you!
Chris is prepared to defend speeding infractions in the following jurisdictions.
- Pierce County District Court
- Tacoma Municipal Court
- Ruston Municipal Court
- Fircrest Municipal Court
- Lakewood/UP Municipal Court
- Fife Municipal Court
- Bonny Lake Municipal Court
- Gig Harbor Municipal Court
- Buckley Municipal Court
- Puyallup Municipal Court
- Milton Municipal Court
- Sumner Municipal Court
- Steilacoom & University Place (both contract with Lakewood)
- Thurston County District
- Tumwater Municipal
- Olympia Municipal
- Federal Way Municipal
- Kitsap County District Court
- Port Orchard Municipal Court
- Bremerton Municipal Court:
If you recently were issued a speeding ticket and want to fight it, call Chris today at 253-666-8987 or email him at [email protected]