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Should I Fight My Speeding Ticket?

Posted by Josh Valentine | Apr 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Getting a speeding ticket can ruin your day. In most cases, a ticket can result in substantial fines, points on your driving record, and an increase in insurance premiums. If you have multiple traffic violations, you may even face the temporary loss of your driver's license. What if you disagree with the ticket or believe that you can prove you were not speeding? In North Carolina, you certainly have the right to fight the ticket, but it may not always be the best option. What arguments can you use to support your defense?

You Made an Honest Mistake

Sometimes there are situations where you mistakenly break the law. Perhaps the speed limit sign on the highway was obstructed by trees. Maybe the stop sign you inadvertently ran had been knocked over by some teens, preventing you from seeing it. It would be helpful to take photographs of the obstructed signage or reason why you mistakenly broke the law.

The state has an obligation to make sure that its roads and highway are maintained properly, which includes ensuring that all signage is visible to drivers. If you can prove that you did not intentionally or knowingly break the law, a judge may agree to scrap the ticket.

Speeding Was a Necessity

Sometimes we are put in situations where breaking the law is a necessary evil. Maybe you are trying to rush a loved one to the hospital for emergency medical treatment. Or, perhaps you were acting under force or duress. If you can prove that speeding was justifiable under the circumstances, a court may agree to reduce the penalty for your ticket or throw out the charge altogether.

The Officer's Assessment is Wrong

Many times, police will use radar technology to help them determine whether a driver is speeding. Tickets issued pursuant to radar data are generally upheld in court. Police do not necessarily have to use radar to issue a speeding ticket. Personal observation of speeding can also be enough to trigger a citation. However, if you were only speeding by a few miles-per-hour over the limit, an officer's own personal assessment of the situation may not be sufficient to support a ticket. Your chances of beating a ticket are best when your ticket is based on an officer's own subjective assessment, but ultimately it is up to a judge to decide whether to believe the officer's testimony. In North Carolina, judges tend to treat officer's testimony as credible, so even if the officer's speed estimation is subjective or not supported by radar, you could still be convicted of the speeding charge.

Should You Fight Your Speeding Ticket?

If you have been issued a speeding ticket in North Carolina and believe it was issued in error, you have the option to fight your ticket. But even while there may be a number of grounds on which you could fight your ticket, it is important for you to evaluate not only the advantages but also the risks associated with fighting a traffic ticket. For example, if you decide to fight a traffic ticket, the legal fee to hire an attorney is likely to be higher because it will involve more time on the part of the attorney. Additionally, if you take the case to trial and end up being convicted of the speeding charge, you could experience a suspension of your license and significant increases in your insurance.

On the other hand, if you do not contest the ticket, you may be able to obtain a much more favorable outcome by hiring a knowledgeable attorney to negotiate down the speeding charge to either a lower speed or a non-moving violation such as improper equipment, which carries no points on your license or insurance. While this option would require you to pay some court costs and fines, it would likely be much less than the costs of hiring an attorney to fight the ticket and the increase of insurance premiums that would be experienced if convicted of the charged offense.

Contact Caulder & Valentine today at 704-470-2440 to request a consultation with our skilled legal team about whether you should fight the ticket in court. We will review your case and explain the steps involved in fighting your ticket.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person that was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer.  So that's why I became an attorney.  I understand what you are going through—and I'm here to help you.  Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life. Before attending law school, I worked for a law firm focused on record clearing services, including expungements, pardons, and motions for appropriate relief.  The vast experience and understanding of North Carolina's expungement laws that I have acquired has given me an advantage in defending criminal charges, because not only do I fight for the best possible outcome in your case, but I am also continually conscious of the long term effects that a criminal charge or conviction can have on a person's life.  As such, I will do whatever I can to insure that my clients will not end up with a criminal record.  I was born in New London, Connecticut, but spent the first few years of my life in Dallas, Texas, before moving to Rutherfordton, North Carolina in 2001.  Upon graduating from high school, I attended Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, where I majored in Accounting.  Eager to finish school, I began law school at Charlotte School of Law the day of my graduation from GWU, and completed my law degree in two years (instead of the typical three). During law school, I studied hard and strived to acquire the most experience possible so that I would be practice ready upon graduation.  The opportunities I gained included prosecuting criminal defendants through an externship with the Burke County District Attorney's Office, defending criminal defendants through Charlotte School of Law's Criminal Justice Clinic, and interning with Farmer & Morris, PLLC. I am blessed with a beautiful wife, Gabrielle Valentine, who is an attorney at Farmer & Morris, PLLC, in Rutherfordton, North Carolina.  In my free time, I enjoy helping with the youth group in my church, playing basketball and softball in our local church leagues, serving in the prison ministry, and spending time with my family.  Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar

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