Wow! According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s population clock, there are more than 320,000,000 people in the United States. That is probably not surprising to most people, but what is surprising (and should be concerning) is that when you factor in births, deaths, and migration from other countries, we gain one person every 14 seconds. Now, don’t get me wrong. I get no satisfaction at the thought of people dying nor do I advocate immigration being curtailed. It’s just that that’s a lot of people and the majority of those, roughly 75 percent, are people of driving age. In fact, more than 41,000,000 people get speeding tickets every year in the United States. That equals roughly 17 percent of the driving population. This is not only a whole lot of speeding tickets, but it also equates to a tremendous amount of income for the states and municipalities that issue those speeding tickets. Even if you use the conservative estimate of $152 fine for the average speeding ticket, the amount of money that they raise is staggering – more than $6.2 billion annually in the State of Florida alone. Yes, you read that correctly, six billion! This figure doesn’t include ancillary costs to drivers that can result from a speeding ticket such as defensive driving school, the increase in insurance premiums, or a good traffic attorney. Additionally, this number just addresses the amount of speeding tickets issued and the revenue they generate. It doesn’t even touch upon the myriad other traffic citations that are issued annually and the cost to drivers.
Now, before you think that you don’t have to incur the expense of a traffic attorney, keep in mind that in the long run, a good traffic ticket attorney can save you a lot of time and money. You can choose to fight your traffic ticket yourself, but having the experience of a traffic ticket attorney increases your chances greatly of getting your speeding ticket dismissed. Bear in mind that our experience lends itself to knowledge that you probably don’t have such as that the penalty for a speeding ticket varies depending upon which county you are in when you are issued the ticket. We also have first-hand knowledge such as that you can be assessed 3 or 4 points against your license depending upon how fast you were traveling and based upon the same information, your fine can vary between $150 to $650. When you take those ancillary expenses into account, hiring a traffic ticket attorney doesn’t sound so bad. Although my job is to help people once they get a traffic ticket, allow me to give you a bit of advice that may prevent you from having to deal with a speeding ticket at all.
Beware and be aware of speed traps
One of the best ways to avoid a speeding ticket, other than to never speed, is to spot and avoid speed traps. School zones and construction zones are notorious for having speed traps because there is a higher likelihood of someone being injured or killed in these areas. With a tremendous increase in traffic volume at peak school times, including school buses picking up and dropping of students, it is hard to keep track of where all of the children are so accidents are more likely to occur. The same holds true for construction sites. Roadwork causes traffic to snarl, so many drivers often try to negotiate around the construction. Unfortunately, not following the construction directives and not knowing where construction workers are can cause both property damage or death or injury to a worker who is just doing his job. This is why you will often see a police officer sitting out in the open at construction sites. It is also why fines are not only doubled in these areas, but if your speeding causes a traffic accident, you could end up in jail because it can be considered a criminal offense. You can be charged with both speeding and reckless driving.
An example of the increased fines is as follows:
1 to 5 mph $123.50
6 to 9 mph $123.50
10 to 14 mph $273.50
15 to 19 mph $323.50
20 to 29 mph $373.50
30+ mph $573.50
School and construction zones are hardly the only places that you will find speed traps. Many times, cops like to hide out within the breaks of treed medians or within “authorized vehicles only” U-turns. In fact, during holidays, it is not uncommon to see multiple cops doing this along stretches of busy highways. Police officers basically will find anyplace where he can target you with radar before you can spot him as an appealing location for a speed trap. These areas include places like the far side of a curve in the roadway, on the crest of a hill, or the opposite side of an overpass. I have even seen cops parked on overpasses while monitoring the speed of traffic below them. It is not illegal to signal to other drivers that they are approaching a speed trap. You may, however, want to try to avoid the cop seeing you do so. If he does see you trying to help other drivers avoid him, he may just stop you instead. Cops can always find a reason to write traffic tickets, and a truly determined cop can probably come up with multiple reasons to cite you.
Pay attention to your fellow drivers
This is absolutely the best way to avoid a speed trap, excluding driving the speed limit. Most drivers will apply their brakes when they see a cop even if they are not speeding, just as a knee-jerk reaction, so watch the traffic ahead of you for braking or cars that are otherwise rapidly slowing down. Even if it is not due to a speed trap, there is the likelihood of some other hazard such as children present or an object in the roadway which could result in an accident or damage to your vehicle. Speed traps are just one of many reasons why you should be cognizant of the other drivers around you. Safety is one key factor because if there is a driver near you who is driving erratically, his poor driving can impact your ability to proceed unimpeded. Whether it is a matter of him being drunk, suffering from road rage, or just being an idiot driver, you could end up being struck by him or her. There is also the matter of unmarked cop cars. Use your mirrors frequently to avoid cops coming up behind you. There was a time when all unmarked cops cars looked the same, but that is no longer the case. You are just as likely to see a cop driving a SUV as you are to see one driving a Crown Vic, but by paying attention, you can often spot them. They will often have an odd number of antennas, low profile lights in the back window and along the top of the windshield, or frequently they will have lights placed inside the front grill of the vehicle. Some law enforcement divisions use vehicles that have been confiscated as a result of illegal activities, so you may even see sports cars, etc. sometimes customized to tout the fact that they were obtained due to illegal activity. Motorcycle cops are even harder to spot because you usually can’t tell it is a cop until you are right up beside him or he is behind you with his lights flashing.
Jason Diamond, Esq. is the Founding Lawyer Partner of the Traffic Ticket Team. His Attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience and have handled over 1,000,000 Florida traffic tickets. As Traffic Ticket Lawyers we have given traffic ticket legal clinic seminars throughout Florida. To find Attorney locations, click HERE. Our traffic tickets are defended in Miami-Dade, Broward & Palm Beach counties and we also fight traffic tickets statewide.