How a Traffic Lawyer Can Fight Your NY Speeding Ticket
Many people are confused about what role a traffic lawyer plays in getting traffic tickets reduced or dismissed. There is just so much misinformation out there about how traffic court works, and why tickets do (or don’t) get dismissed.
Some of the misinformation is half-true, or true only under certain circumstances. Without a lawyer’s expertise, what you think you know really could just accomplish little more than giving you enough rope to hang yourself with.
But knowing specific strategies for fighting traffic tickets doesn’t hurt. If anything, it helps demonstrate why hiring a New York traffic lawyer is your best choice.
Undermining the Officer’s Method
Officers use one of three methods to determine whether you’re speeding.
- Visual Determination
None of these methods are foolproof.
For example, radar has to be set up, positioned, and calibrated correctly. If it isn’t, it can catch readings from cars behind you, or be thrown off by radio interference.
This is why a traffic prosecutor can’t convict you on the basis of radar evidence alone. And why, if the officer doesn’t show up at court, the prosecutor is often left with no case. The radar evidence must be combined with the officer’s testimony to get anywhere.
Obviously the other two methods are even more open to error. That doesn’t mean they can’t get you saddled with a ticket. Courts in New York have ruled police officers generally have enough experience to tell if someone’s speeding or not, if they’re claiming the driver was going 20+ mph over the limit. New York courts do not believe a police officer can “just look” to see if someone is going 5 to 10 miles over the limit.
Finally, there’s pacing. The officer can get behind your car, and match your speed for at least 2/10ths of a mile by keeping consistent distance between both of your cars. If the officer did not meet all these criteria while attempting to pace his or her determination can be successfully questioned in court.
Undermining the Officer’s Expertise
The officer’s expertise is a big piece of evidence. The prosecution has to prove the officer received adequate training to determine whether or not you were speeding, and has prior experience making these determinations.
The prosecution also has to prove the officer has a track record of making these determinations accurately.
The prosecution won’t always remember to establish these facts. They’ll get the officer up on the stand, ask the officer what he or she did or observed, ask when it happened and where he was. The prosecutor often assumes that the defense, and you, and the court, and anyone else who matters will all assume the officer is an expert.
But when you have a lawyer on your side, you have someone who can, at the right moment in the case, call attention to this failure and use it to get charges dismissed.
As you can imagine, undermining a police officer isn’t an easy thing to do. And undermining the officer’s methods definitely takes real expertise only an attorney can provide.
What if the case can’t be won in either of these ways?
An experienced lawyer will be able to tell you so…and tell you whether it’s a good idea to try to angle for a plea bargain with the prosecutor.
No matter what happens, you are likely to have a much better case outcome if you trust a traffic lawyer to take care of you. No matter how well you dress, how polite you are, or how well-spoken you are, it’s impossible to match experience that comes from fighting thousands of traffic tickets.