Millions of motorists will take to the road for holiday travel. Whether you’re driving around the corner, or over the river and through the woods, you’re more likely to be stopped for speeding during the holidays because there are more officers patrolling the roads.
- Pull over. As soon as you see the flashing lights of the law, you should slow down, and pull over to the far-right side of the road. If you are wearing non-prescription sunglasses, remove them. Roll down your window, and keep your hands on the wheel while talking to the officer. Be courteous. If you think the officer erred in stopping you, save your claim for court; you are unlikely to win an argument on the side of the road.
- Let the officer do the talking. Avoid saying anything that can be recorded or used against you in traffic court. Never admit that you were careless or negligent. Respond politely to questions. Remember, most questions are adequately answered with “Yes, Officer,” “No, Officer,” or “I don’t know, Officer.”
- Paying the ticket. If you plead guilty, or choose not to contest the ticket, a court will fine you the maximum amount for the penalty, and record the violation on your DMV record. If you need to maintain a perfect driving record, you may want to speak with an attorney who specializes in traffic violations.
- Contesting the ticket. There are a few defenses for contesting a speeding ticket. For example, you could argue the officer mistook your car for a similar vehicle, the radar malfunctioned, or that you were speeding in response to an emergency. If you want to challenge your ticket, and are uncertain of what defenses apply to your situation, an attorney can help.
Prevention, of course, is the best way to stay out of traffic trouble, so give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and familiarize yourself with the speed limits before you leave. Driving safely – and avoiding speeding tickets – will lead to a happier holiday.
– Michelle Croteau, Director, Marketing Communications
with Robyn Hagan Cain, FindLaw Audience Team