It is important to keep in mind that traffic tickets have little or nothing at all to do with public safety. Instead they are a way to raise funds without going to the public and asking. Under the guise of public safety legislators and councilmen craft speed laws; but don't be fooled. If public safety were really the goal then there are many modern methods available to civil engineers to slow traffic down without the use of arbitrary speed limits.
The goal is not to change driver behavior it is to trick drivers into paying traffic tickets. Traffic tickets are a great source of revenue for cities courts and policing authorities. It is a legal way for governments to pick the pockets of its citizens. It is corrupt and sleazy. The only way to stop it is to make it cost more than it earns. So I encourage everyone to fight every ticket.
This is not legal advice it is a technique by which to avoid and or reduce the impact of traffic tickets. Keep in mind that the system is rigged to prevail against citizens who are not prepared to challenge it. However, using these simple steps you should be able to reduce your odds of getting a ticket in the first place. If you do get a ticket these techniques will leave you prepared to put up much more vigorous defense than system is accustomed to.

Things You Will Need

  1. Begin by avoiding tickets
    1. traffic radar cannot tell which vehicle is speeding so avoid leading the pack
    2. remember more tickets are handed out on nice days
    3. always be courteous and respectful
    4. NEVER ADMIT GUILT! An admission of guilt will be used in court against you and in some cases the ticketing officer can submit an affidavit attesting to your confession and does not even have to testify in court against you. If you admit guilt you have lost before you've begun.
      1. An officer who would let you off with a warning is no more likely to do so just because you admit that you were speeding.
      2. Just be polite. When asked you can say, "No officer I have no idea why you pulled me over. I thought that I was going the speed limit."
      3. Do not argue. If the officer insists that you were driving over the limit. A good response is, "if you say so then I believe you; however, I thought that I was going the speed limit.
  2. If you cannot avoid the ticket start immediately preparing your defense
    1. Make sure that you can read everything on the ticket including the officer's name.
    2. Make sure that the ticket clearly indicates the statute you have been charged with.
    3. Ask from the officer the following:
      1. Make, Model, VIN #, and license plate # of the officers vehicle
      2. Make, Model and serial #, of the speed measurement device
      3. Serial # of the calibration device if radar is involved
      4. If measured with time over distance ask the officer to show you the 2 points between which you were clocked, the distance and where the officer was when he measured.
      5. Ask to see the log where the officer noted when he last calibrated his radar gun
    4. If the officer refuses to give you any of the information note this and ask the him/her to note your request on the back of the ticket
    5. Be sure to take note of any and all environmental issues that you can think of.
      1. Weather
      2. Road conditions
      3. Traffic
      4. Or anything else that stands out in your mind
    6. To fight a ticket you must plead NOT GUILTY
    7. If you are entitled to a jury trial request one with your plea. Also be sure that you are aware of any time limitations or other conditions or procedures that apply to your ticket. If you need to make inquiries regarding these things contact the courthouse unless some other place is indicated, usually on the back of the ticket.
  3. You should shortly receive a notice of your court date.
    1. As soon as possible request in writing, via certified mail a continuance. You will need to provide a reason for the delay. For example: work, illness, vacation, or that you need more time to prepare your defense. The court should grant, without a problem, at least one continuance.
      1. This tactic will increase the likelihood that the officer will be unable to attend your trial. With out a witness against you the court has no case. You must ask for the charges to be dismissed. In all but the most unusual circumstances your request will be granted.
      2. Do not accept a continuance request from the prosecutor tell the judge that it would be extremely difficult for you to take another day off[1].
    2. If more than one officer was involved in ticketing process they must all be present at your trial. One person cannot testify to what another saw or said, this is hearsay, and if you object to it the court should dismiss it.
    3. Prior to your trial you will want to get all of the information you can to prepare your defense. This is called the discovery process. Requests are usually made to the district attorney's office. Procedure varies from state to state; however, you can probably find out how to file for discovery or make a request for public information on your states website or at a local public library. Police stations, courthouses and public attorney's offices are often less than helpful; after all they want you to loose and pay.
      1. What kind of information to request: (remember you are looking for things, that you can bring up, that would cast doubt upon your guilt should you end up before a judge)
        1. Maintenance and repair records for the device that measured your speed.
        2. Policy and equipment maintenance regulations in effect for the ticketing agency
        3. A copy of both sides of the officer's copy of your ticket
        4. A copy of the officer's log book for the day that you received the citation.
    4. If there is any pre-trial hearing this can be a great opportunity to prevent the case from going to court. This is where the prosecutor might offer you a plea bargain often hoping to get your money in exchange for any points you might earn if you loose. Be sure to let everyone know that you are well prepared to defend your case vigorously should it go to trial and also that you will appeal the verdict if you are found guilty. The expense of going to trial and the embarrassment of a potentially successful appeal might well outweigh any fine they would receive from you. It is quite possible that they will drop the charges and pursue a less well prepared target.
    5. Should the case make it to trial, this is where you need to provide any evidence that you have that proves your innocence. You can make arguments that suggest that the officer might have been in error in singling you out of a group of cars. You can argue that the state ignored your requests and prevented you from being able to prepare your defense, if that was the case. You can present a hypothesis that casts doubt upon your guilt. You can bring up the officer's unwillingness to help you acquire the information you needed to understand the charge against you, if that were the case.
    6. After you present your case, be sure that you say: "based upon this your honor I ask that the charges be dismissed.[2]

It is your right as a citizen to represent yourself in court and to present a strong defense. I will reiterate here that traffic tickets are almost never about public safety. Instead, they are a capricious and scurrilous way to relieve citizens of their money. It is about money! Until each and every one of us learns how to stand up to these modern day highwaymen the roads will remain unsafe for honest travelers. Now go fight that ticket!
You can find more by checking out the National Motorists Association's
[1]Some states require that you specifically request that the ticketing officers be present. If this is the case for your state be sure to do so.
[2]At all times be respectful, keep your cool and be rational.

Tips & Warnings