Speeding Tickets And Your Rights

By: murrayhl
Your day has been a rough one. Your boss was 'grumpy' and took it out on you. You had to go to several stores to find that 'perfect' gift for your mother-in-law. The kids had to be 'chauffeured' to and from separate after school activities. And now you're headed home to get a start on fixing dinner when you're pulled over and issued a citation for speeding. Now what? What if you don't even believe that you were speeding? Do you have any rights for contesting a speeding ticket?

You can of course opt to just pay the fine and be done with it, if you don't want to fight it by going to court. You will find the information on how to pay your fine on the back of the ticket that you have been issued. However, every motorist who is issued a speeding ticket has the right to contest that ticket in court if they believe it was issued to them falsely.

The laws regarding how speeding tickets are handled within the courts system varies state by state. In some states you have the right to have your case heard by a judge. This is known as a 'bench trail' and a judge determines your guilt or innocence. In other states you have the option of having a 'jury trial" wherein a jury of your peers decides the merits of the speeding ticket you've been issued and whether you have to pay it or not. In a few states such as California, the courts have set up a traffic division to handle speeding tickets and you can contest the issuance of your speeding ticket directly to this division.

You have the right to ask when the radar equipment used to establish the rate of speed at which you are accused of traveling was last "calibrated." Many speeding tickets have been dismissed because if the radar equipment hasn't been "calibrated" or "reset" recently, it calls into question the reliability of its accuracy for determining the speed at which you are accused of traveling.

Regardless of whether you have a bench or jury trial, or appear before a traffic court official, you have the right to 'appeal' a conviction if you believe that you didn't deserve to be issued or have to pay for a speeding ticket issued to you. You would 'appeal' your conviction through the 'court of appeals.'
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