Should I Fight My Speeding Ticket?

Posted by Josh Valentine | Apr 11, 2018

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

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “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 who 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.” 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