For Future Reference: 3 Times When You Should Challenge a Speeding Ticket
There are plenty of nightmare situations that can occur while driving. A flat tire, engine breakdown – you name it, the list can go on. But another frustrating thing that can happen is the sight of flashing blue and red lights in your rearview mirror. It’s worse when you are confident that you’ve done nothing to warrant getting pulled over. If you were to find yourself in this predicament where you’re now facing a speeding ticket, and believe you don’t deserve it, you might decide you’re going to fight it. If so, kudos to you. There are many instances where cops hand out speeding tickets to drivers who haven’t violated the law in anyway.
The Truth About the Traffic Laws
It’s important to acknowledge the importance of our traffic laws and how they benefit our society. In some countries, traffic regulations are almost non-existent, leaving motorists and pedestrians to fend for themselves. The daily commute is like Russian Roulette for these people. If you want to see examples of this, check out the show “Don’t Drive Here,” on the Discovery Channel – you’ll start to appreciate the stop signs and red lights that you sometimes feel are unnecessary.
Although there are legitimate lawbreakers out there, many people who are law-abiding citizens get booked for offenses that may have never happened or might be really slight. Speeding can sometimes lie in a grey area since, and there are a host of other factors that can make a speeding ticket unwarranted. It’s worth fighting a charge if you believe it was unjust, and it’s worth doing so since speeding fines in Ontario can be quite costly.
Being Honest with Yourself
Before making the decision to fight a ticket, you need to be honest with yourself. Sometimes we find ourselves denying our own actions because we’re used to getting away with bad habits. Once seen by police, we get embarrassed and don’t want to pay anything, so we end up making excuses. It will be hard to fight a traffic offense in such a case, especially if there’s evidence stacked against you. But if you can’t see yourself in such a position, don’t think twice about trying to clear your name.
When You’re Not Buying It
There are a few key signs to look for when justifying a fight against the law. Off course, any shred of doubt can be significant enough for you to launch a legal counter-attack, but there are some signs which are almost universally recognized for their faults.
1. The Evidence is Weak or Non-Existent
If a cop caught you on radar, it will be a lot harder for you to win a court battle. However, if the cop has no evidence at all, you can respectfully tell him or her you disagree. It’s your right to do so. An office worth their salt will make it clear through the evidence they have, that you were indeed speeding. If they can’t provide the proof, there is room to challenge the charge.
2. You’ve Got the Tech to Prove it
In days past, a speeding ticket was hard to beat, even if you had solid evidence that you weren’t in the wrong. But things have changed now. Thanks to smartphones and GPS apps, there are ways to prove you were in the right even if the officer says you were wrong. Some of you may already practice the habit of keeping a phone mounted on your dashboard, with a running app that can track your speed. For example, Sahas Katta, was pulled over by police, after they cited him for doing 40 in a 25 zone. Thanks to a GPS enabled app running in his phone at the time, he was able to prove that he wasn’t driving so fast, and the judge dropped the charge against him.
3. You Were Merging or Making a Lane Change
If speeding is an offense in almost every aspect of driving, there’s at least one where it’s required- merging and changing lanes. Of course, you should only do so when it’s safe, and the increase in speed should only be temporary. But let’s say an officer were to pull you over at this exact moment. Although you were speeding, you can safely argue that you were following the law (since it’s required for you to speed when transitioning between lanes). With that said, you don’t have the license to swerve or make any dangerous maneuvers – driving in such a manner could lead to tickets and fines. However, it is wise to take a ticket to court if you are sure that your increased speed was for the safe merging from an on-ramp or switch between lanes.
Reasons Why You Might Want to Put Forth a Fight
No one wants to pay a speeding ticket, especially if the fine is a hefty one (hundreds of dollars with demerit points added). However, the worst part of paying for a ticket isn’t the initial cost itself. Like a bad cough lingering from a cold, traffic violations often lead to long-term problems down the road. That’s why you’ll want to do everything in your power to have them dismissed, or at the very least, reduced.
Why a Ticket is No Minor Matter
- Stays on record – Speeding tickets stay on record for at least 3 years.
- Demerit points – A speeding ticket may land you anywhere from 0 – 6+ demerit points.
- Higher insurance premiums – Your insurance rates may soar with a ticket on your record.
- Insurance cancellations – Your insurance provider may drop you if you have a hefty fine and high demerit points.
- License suspensions – A major conviction (50/km above speed limit) and 6 or more demerit points will land you a license suspension.
- Fines & Impound – Speeding fines in Ontario can be huge – a major conviction can carry a whopping $10,000 fine, and your car will be taken from you.
- Potential criminal record – Depending on the charge, you could face jail time or probation.
For some of the latter consequences, it’s important to realize that there’s only so much you can do. If you were driving at such high speeds, there’s almost no justification. However, going slightly over the limit can still bring unwanted outcomes, such as a higher insurance rate and your ticket staying on record for 3 years.
Take Your Stance
There’s no need to speed. If you’re one of the people out there who loves to floor the pedal, stop now before you end up paying for it. However, there are times when police officers misunderstand your actions, accusing you of driving at a speed that is not true. You can fight such claims if you can honestly say that you weren’t in violation of the speed limit, make it your goal to fight the charge. There’s no need for you to suffer high fees and penalties for something you are not guilty of!