Just about everyone who gets a speeding ticket in Broward County feels that it is unjustified, and the very process of being pulled over, having your license and registration checked, and having the speeding ticket issued is irritating enough to make most people want to fight their traffic ticket. If that doesn’t incite you to want to fight the ticket, then realizing how HIGH the penalties are for speeding here in Broward County should certainly make you want to get out of the traffic ticket. With over four million traffic tickets issued by the State of Florida each year, and most of them being speeding tickets, the amount of money that these traffic tickets raise for local government is gargantuan.
Almost everyone gets hung up on the amount of the fines and court costs, but there are many other factors to consider. The time involved in fighting your traffic ticket is immense and it gets greater if you end up going to traffic school. Don’t forget that with traffic school, you still have to pay the fine, court costs, and for the cost of the driving school. You only have 30 days to respond to a traffic citation, and you can do so in one of three ways: just pay the fines (NEVER a good idea), go to traffic school (not usually a good idea for everyone), or fight your traffic ticket in court. Though every citizen has the right to defend himself in court, there are many things that could go wrong in the process that should be considered.
Making Common Mistakes
Possibly the biggest mistake that you can make in fighting your speeding ticket yourself is to not be properly prepared. If you have not contested a speeding ticket in Broward County previously, you may be surprised to find out how much time and research that it takes to fight the traffic ticket effectively. In Florida, the burden of proof falls on the shoulders of the state so they have to prove that you committed the traffic violation. Failure to do so can result in the case against you being dismissed. Although this may sound easy enough, the cops and judges do this kind of thing every day. One small flaw in your defense strategy and you could easily lose your case.
Many people will go into a courtroom and not see the officer who wrote the ticket present. They assume that this is going to result in their ticket being dismissed. This is not always the case because the police officer doesn’t have to appear at the first hearing because this is just a pre-trial conference. The purpose of the pre-trail conference is that the court has the expectation that you will just deal with the speeding ticket at this time. If the traffic ticket is still unresolved, meaning you did not accept guilt and pay the associated fine, approximately 2 months later, you will be scheduled for an actual court date.
Make Sure You are Prepared
So now that you have your trial date set, what do you do next? You need to make sure that you are very well acquainted with the Florida statute that governs speeding tickets (316.183). Regardless of the subject, the only way to engage in an effective argument is to clearly understand your topic.
Once you are familiar with the statute, you then need to keep a few other things in mind, as well. Always dress well for your court date. As I have mentioned before, when you are in a Broward County courtroom, the perception is often that you are what you wear. You also should make sure that you arrive promptly or maybe even a little early. The chances are great that you may spend quite some time in the court room waiting for your case to be called, but someone has to be called first and it may very well be you. When there are a hundred other things on your agenda and you feel you are there unjustly, it may be hard to cool your heels if you are not called quickly, but being in traffic court is no time to exhibit impatience.
Once you are finally called, the police officer who wrote your citation will testify as to his recollection of the events that elicited the traffic stop and the subsequent issuance of the speeding ticket. He will probably present information regarding the traffic ticket, radar or LiDAR readings, and so on. Once he concludes the presentation of his documentation, you have the right to examine any documentation he presents. Again, it may require patience on your part not to interrupt him in your haste to exonerate yourself, but it will only reflect badly on you if you do so.
Document Everything Beforehand
Since it can often be months between the time that you get the speeding ticket and the time that you go to court, it is very important to make sure that you keep track of everything. Notes regarding the circumstances that occurred at the time you got your speeding ticket are paramount and should be written down as soon as you can after the traffic stop so that you don’t forget critical information. You also need to have a folder or some other method in which to keep track of your copy of the traffic citation, notices from the Clerk of Court, phone calls, conferences with an attorney, witnesses, and so on. This will allow you to build a stronger case based upon more than just your recollections two or three months after the traffic stop. The more informed and better prepared that you are when you arrive in court, the greater the likelihood of building your credibility.
The consequences of not presenting an effective case in Broward County can be great. If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because is it. Even though you do have the right to defend yourself in traffic court, it may not always be the best choice to make for yourself. Due to the time and amount of knowledge that is required to defend a speeding ticket, it is usually much more prudent to hire an experienced traffic ticket attorney. Give the Traffic Ticket Team at 954-967-9888, and let us use the knowledge that we already have to fight your speeding ticket or any other type of traffic ticket for you. We will be happy to provide you with a free consultation.