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Handling speeding ticket(s) in traffic court: Tips for doing it yourself

Speeding Ticket

Speeding tickets happen… For some of us, they happen more often than they do for others.

While there’s tons of advice on the internet about how to handle cops who are giving you a speeding ticket, there’s not much quality advice to be found on how to deal with traffic tickets once you get to traffic court. This is why we wrote this blog post – to give some quality, professional advice on how to handle your own speeding ticket(s) in traffic court.

However, before we get to offering our professional advice on this, let us clarify that the best option is to contact a professional!

Here at Traffic Ticket Agent, we have nearly 2 decades of experience fighting our clients’ Calgary traffic tickets in traffic court. In that time, we have witnessed hundreds of individual citizens come to court to fight their speeding tickets using every excuse you can imagine – from faulty speedometers to blaming “surprisingly fast” new performance tires, we have heard it all.

Our advice comes from both skill and experience.

#1: CHECK TO SEE THAT THE TRAFFIC TICKET IS COMPLETE

If you’ve heard the story of a buddy who got his ticket thrown out because the officer forgot to sign or date it, take heart – it really could be true.

2 of the most common reasons for speeding charges being withdrawn by the courts is because the officer forgot to sign the traffic ticket or because the officer forgot to date the traffic ticket.

Yet though signatures and dates are very important, a name spelled incorrectly or a wrong address on your speeding ticket likely will not result in the courts automatically throwing out the ticket. This is because the crown prosecutor may either:

A: Introduce the correction in court, or

B: Apply to the court to correct it before your court appearance date.

If the court accepts either of these corrections (and they almost always do), you’ll still have yourself a speeding ticket to contest.

#2: GET AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU CAN

It’s important to understand that this is a 2-way street. Not only should you gather as much information as you can at the time, but the officer is also taking notes and most likely recording your interaction as well. So behave yourself!

The information you should be most concerned with is how the officer determined what speed you were going. The most likely answer is that she used a radar speed gun to measure your exact speed. If this is the case, you’re absolutely allowed to ask to see the radar she used… However, it’s up to the officer whether she wants to show it to you.

If the officer doesn’t show you her radar, ask what make and model number she’s using and if she’d be willing to explain to you how it works. Also, be sure to ask her to write the specs of the radar used on your citation.

The reason for this is because not all radar speed guns are made equal. Some makes and models have known faults or defects, which could work in your favour. Once you get the make and model number of the speed gun the officer used, a quick Google search can tell you what you need to know about the radar gun in question.

#3: STOP AND LOOK AROUND

After getting your ticket but before driving off, take a good look around. Look at traffic conditions, road signs, and even road conditions. Is there confusing signage in the area? Are the roads in poor condition? If anything seems off (or even if it doesn’t), take a picture for later reference. Also write down what just happened while it’s fresh in your mind.

Why? Because you never know what you’ll see or recall when the situation passes and your head clears. Having evidence of unclear signage, unfriendly road conditions, or what-have-you could prove helpful with your traffic ticket defense.

#4: … TUNING FORKS.

It’s quite common for radar speed guns to be tested before and after being released for use. These tests typically involve a tuning fork, a recommendation often made by the radar speed guns’ manufacturers where the tuning fork’s vibrations are used to establish the accuracy and functionality of the radar unit.

However, earlier this year a CBC investigation found that this form of testing is not used by every law enforcement jurisdiction.[1] For example, the Regina Police Service stopped testing this way in 2009. The OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) stopped testing this way more than 10 years ago.

Make sure the radar gun used on you was tested prior to use that day and find out how it was tested. Good questions to ask are:

– How recently was the radar speed gun tested before being used that day?
– Was the testing method one that the manufacturer recommends for its product?
– Was the speed gun tested after use that day?
– Did the test performed after use have the same results?
– Was the tuning fork calibrated and certified by an officer in the province where it’s being used?

These are all questions that could potentially get your speeding ticket thrown out, depending on the answers.

#5: WHEN IN DOUBT…

We said it before, but we’ll say it again: It’s always best to get the advice of a professional!

Here at Traffic Ticket Agent, we have 16 years of practical traffic court experience. We’ve seen and heard it all. Before you make your traffic court appearance, get in touch with us to make sure you have everything you need for your court appearance. We’re always happy to help!

[1] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/speeding-tickets-police-radar-testing-1.3415927

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