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Avoid a Speeding Ticket


How to Avoid a Speeding Ticket in Minnesota

The long term cost of a speeding ticket is more than the cost of a good speeding ticket lawyer.  Your speeding lawyer can help you keep your record clean.  Most people with speeding ticket want a clean record.  But if you avoid a speeding ticket in the first place, you won’t need a lawyer.  And you’ll save money and the avoid other troubles that follow.

What is at stake?

First, what is at stake in a Minnesota speeding ticket case?  Most speeding tickets are petty misdemeanor charges, but prosecutors charge a few as misdemeanors.

A misdemeanor is a crime with a theoretical maximum of 90 days jail or up to one-year probation. 

A petty misdemeanor in Minnesota is not a crime, but is a “conviction.”  Both become part of the person’s public court record.

Most driving-related offenses or violations will go on your driver’s license record if convicted.  And many vehicle-related offenses or violations will as well.  This includes speeding tickets, and any kind of traffic ticket.

But in today’s world, most people are concerned about speeding tickets appearing on their driver’s license record.  Why? 

Three big reasons:

Lawyer Thomas Gallagher on How to Avoid a Speeding Ticket

First, too many convictions within certain time periods can result in license revocation or suspension.  But even one over 100 mph speed conviction triggers loss of license.

Second, insurance rates can go up.

Third, and most important for most, law enforcement officers will see the violation on the driver’s license record the next time.

So we all want to avoid a speeding conviction.

Over 100 mph

A new Minnesota law makes a speeding conviction for over 100 miles per hour trigger a six-month license revocation.

In these cases, a common goal is to avoid a speeding ticket for over 100 mph.  So, many wish to reduce the proven speed, to avoid that severe penalty.  That can only happen in court. And a good speeding lawyer like Attorney Thomas Gallagher can help you keep your license.

Legal speeding: But remember: there is no speed limit at an off-road track.  Whether a race club or a driving skills class, track days are a fun way to improve safe driving skills.  Sure, they cost money, but less than speeding ticket.  Have fun where there are no traffic laws — on the race track.

How to avoid

The first line of defense is avoiding the police stop in the first place.

Few vehicles today drive below posted limits, except in congested traffic.  And this is a sign that speed limits in Minnesota today are artificially low and have little to do with safety.

Most drivers drive over the posted.

As a result, it makes sense to be thoughtful about it.  And you can make a vehicle more or less easy to read with RADAR and laser speed measuring devices.

Defensive driving skills today include legal self-defense. So exercise situational awareness of law enforcement officer locations and behaviors, to help avoid police contacts.

Defensive driving tips to avoid a speed ticket:

  1. Drive at a safe, and reasonable speed.
  2. Watch those road signs and markings.
  3. Don’t lose your cool.  Don’t be the guy with road rage.
  4. Consider running a dash cam for proof.
  5. Think like a cop.  For example, speed traps by day; and DUI enforcement by night.  At night, the real motive for a speeding stop is a bigger prize.
  6. Study RADAR and laser speed measurement tech and countermeasures.  RADAR detectors for road trips.
  7. Know where the police speed traps are by driving with crowd-sourcing apps like Waze.  And set Waze to warn you if you drift over a set speed.
  8. Learn about classic group defensive driving tactics, like follow-the-leader.
  9. Consider signing up for track days to avoid a speeding ticket.  No speed limits!

Once pulled over, the police officer will seek an admission, like: “Do you know why I pulled you over?”  But remember, a respectful apology need not include an admission.

So don’t let a police officer manipulate you into making admissions.  But on the other hand, be polite.  Rudeness to the police officer will not help you either.  It encourages the LEO to write more notes for use against you later in court. 

And do not tell the officer that you will fight the ticket in court, even nicely.  That will also inspire more officer notes for use in court.

If you don’t get a warning, take your ticket with a smile and begin planning your next move.

To best avoid a speeding ticket, you need to know more about the entire court process, from cop to court.

Should I pay or fight a speeding ticket?

For most people, the goal is to keep it off the Minnesota driver’s license record.  To achieve that goal, you must challenge it within the courts, unless it is a Minnesota “Dimler Amendment” speeding ticket.  If you want to succeed, seek help from a Minnesota speeding lawyer.

Minnesota Dimler Amendment speeding ticket

A speeding ticket lawyer can help you fight a RADAR ticket

Once upon a time in the 1970s, “the energy crisis” was a media sensation.

Politicians reacted with a national “energy conservation” speed limit of 55 mph.  Prior to that, speed limits were based upon safety and engineering studies.  But since then, they have not been; and have become politicized.

In the 1970s we saw significant political opposition to the “national speed limit.” People in rural areas and Western states have far to drive to get to basic amenities.  So they need reasonable speed limits.

The political compromise: These states passed the 55 mph limit to avoid losing federal highway tax-refund dollars.  But, they created exceptions so that drivers could still avoid a speeding ticket going on that state’s driver’s license records.

In Minnesota, a rural legislator named Dimler sponsored an Amendment to the speeding laws.  The Amendment kept a conviction for 65 or less in a 55 zone; off the Minnesota driver’s license record. 

Though the court record still showed a petty speeding conviction; a driver could avoid a speed on their driver’s license record

Remember, these extreme, low speed limits were not about safety, but about “energy conservation.”

The updated Dimler Amendment law

Minnesota voters liked this law so much that the legislature later expanded it to include 60 mph zones.  So now, a speeding ticket for 65 mph or less won’t go on a Minnesota driver’s license record if within a 55 mph or 60 mph zone.

Contrary to popular misconception, Minnesota does not have a “10 mph over” exception.  The Dimler law only applies in 55 mph and 60 mph zones.

The best public policy solution? Increase speed limits so that, once again, 85% of traffic would be driving within them. 

And a half-measure would be to pass a “10 over” law. So, “10 over” wouldn’t go on the drivers license record, similar to the Dimler law.  But for now, the Dimler law only applies in a 55 mph or 60 mph zone.

Commercial drivers beware: The Dimler law wont work for speeding tickets in a commercial motor vehicle or a driver with a commercial drivers license (CDL).  See, Minnesota’s “Anti-masking” statute, Minn. Stat. Sec. 171.163.

Question about the Dimler law and how to avoid a speeding ticket?

Going to court

If you go to court to fight a speeding ticket, you can bring a speeding lawyer. Or, you can go without one.

It’s a good idea to fight every speeding ticket, either way.  Of course, you’ll do better with a speeding lawyer.

But by fighting every speeding ticket you will either win, or learn a lot for the future.  Dress well and be polite to all you meet at the courthouse.

If you have a lawyer, your lawyer will do the talking for you — a great advantage.  If not, you must speak to the prosecuting attorney yourself.  But avoid debating the merits of your case.  Instead, stress your desired outcome and your willingness to pay money as an alternative consequence. If you do, you maybe able to avoid a conviction on the speeding ticket.

Evidence of Speeding at trial

There are two main types of prosecution evidence of speeding, both from the police officer.  The first is speed measuring devices such as RADAR and laser.  The other type is police officer estimate of speed.  Both can vary widely in accuracy and reliability.

There are many books and manuals available about RADAR and laser speed measuring devices.  It’s too big of a topic, technical in nature, to develop here.

But suffice it to say that every speed measuring device can be useful to the prosecution.  And yet every one can also be inadmissible, flawed, inaccurate and unreliable for various reasons.

Your speeding ticket lawyer may show the judge that the RADAR or laser evidence is unreliable. But the judge may then rely upon the police officer’s visual estimate of speed.

Whether the judge views the police officer’s visual estimate of speed as reliable will depend upon several factors.  Those include how much the claimed speed is over the posted, point-of-view, environmental factors, among others. And knowledge can help you avoid a speeding ticket.

Public Policy Problem?

Many view speeding laws and enforcement of them as harmful public policy.  Some falsely blame injury accidents on speed, when it is not a causative factor.

But enforcement of a law is easier with a bright line rule.

After all, with most drivers routinely “speeding;” can anyone seriously argue that driving over the posted is more dangerous than tailgating or following too closely?   One is a safety hazard but the other is easy to enforce.

Expediency vs Public Safety

Police and prosecutors have financial incentives to enforce those easy-to-enforce laws, to get their numbers up. 

And they ignore traffic violations that actually do endanger safety, such as failure to signal lane changes or tailgating.  The public knows and understands this.  And it contributes to cynicism about traffic law enforcement.

Bottom line – Your Speeding Ticket Lawyer

Let’s face it.  A speeding ticket is not only annoying.  It can cost you a lot more money than a speeding lawyer, over time.

Keeping this one off you record can help you get a warning from a police officer next time.  We call it the snowball effect.

So avoid a speeding ticket. And don’t let this one hit your record by paying the ticket. What have you got to lose by trying?

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