Is it worth getting a lawyer for a speeding ticket?
The long term cost of a speeding ticket on your record 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.
Could I keep my record clean without a speeding lawyer?
For some people, maybe. If you’ve had no traffic violations for three to five years, though risky, you may be able to go to court, talk to the prosecutor, and get a clean-record outcome. Or, perhaps you received a “Dimler Amendment” speeding ticket. More on that below.
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 if found guilty is a “conviction.” Both become part of the person’s public court record.
Any driving-related offense or violation will go on your driver’s license record if convicted. Many vehicle-related offenses or violations will as well. This includes speeding tickets, and any kind of traffic ticket.
In today’s world, most people are mainly concerned about speeding tickets appearing on their driver’s license record. Why? Three big reasons.
First, too many within certain time periods can result in license revocation or suspension. Second, insurance rates can go up. Third, and most important, law enforcement officers will see the violation on the driver’s license record the next time.
An experienced speeding lawyer, like Attorney Thomas Gallagher can help you keep your driver’s license record clean.
Over 100 mph
A relatively recent 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 reduce the speed to less than that, to avoid that severe penalty. A good speeding lawyer like Attorney Thomas Gallagher can help you keep your license.
Remember: there is no speed limit at an off-road track. Track days are a fun way to improve safe driving skills. They cost money, but less than speeding ticket.
How to avoid a speeding ticket
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. This is a sign that speed limits in Minnesota today are artificially low and have little to do with safety.
Most drivers are driving over the posted.
As a result, it makes sense to be thoughtful about it. You can make a vehicle more or less easy to read with RADAR and laser speed measuring devices. Defensive driving skills today include awareness of law enforcement officer locations and behaviors, to help avoid contacts.
Once pulled over, the police officer will seek an admission, like: “Do you know why I pulled you over?” A respectful apology need not include an admission.
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 encourage 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. One of those moves should be calling a speeding ticket lawyer for a consultation.
Should I pay or fight a speeding ticket?
For most people, the goal is to keep it off the Minnesota drivers license record. To achieve that goal, you must challenge with 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
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. Since then, they have not been but have become politicized.
In the 1970s we saw significant political opposition to the “national speed limit.” People in rural areas and Western states have to drive far to get to basic amenities. They need reasonable speed limits.
These states passed the 55 mph limit to avoid losing federal highway tax rebates dollars. But, they created exceptions so that some speeding tickets would not go on that state’s driver’s license records.
In Minnesota, a rural legislator named Dimler sponsored an Amendment to the speeding laws. The Amendment prevented a speeding conviction for 65 or less in a 55 mph zone from going on the drivers license record.
The updated Dimler Amendment law
Minnesota voters liked this law was so much that the legislature later expanded it to include 60 mph zones. So now, a speeding ticket for 65 mph or less will not go on a Minnesota driver’s license record if within a 55 mph or 60 mph zone.
Contrary to common misconception, Minnesota does not have a “10 mph over” exception. The Dimler law only applies in 55 mph and 60 mph zones.
The best solution would be to increase speed limits so that 85% of traffic would be driving within them. A half-measure would be to pass a “10 over” doesn’t go on the drivers license record law, similar to the Dimler law. But for now, it only applies in a 55 mph or 60 mph zone.
The Dimler law will not work for speeding ticket in a commercial motor vehicle or a driver with a commercial drivers license. Question about the Dimler law? Call Minneapolis speeding lawyer Thomas Gallagher.
Going to court
If you are going to court, you can retain a speeding ticket lawyer or go without one.
It’s a good idea to fight every speeding ticket, one way or another. 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. Avoid debating the merits of your case. Stress your desired outcome and your willingness to pay money as an alternative consequence.
Evidence of Speeding
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.
Suffice it to say that every speed measuring device can be useful to the prosecution. And yet every one can also be flawed, inaccurate and unreliable for various reasons in any given case.
If your speeding ticket lawyer shows the judge that the RADAR or laser evidence is unreliable, then the judge may 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.
Public Policy Problem?
Many view speeding laws and enforcement of them as an example of harmful public policy. Some blame injury accidents on speed when really that is not a causative factor.
But enforcement of a law is easier with a bright line rule.
After all, with almost all drivers routinely exceeding the posted “speed limit” can anyone argue with a straight face 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. They mostly 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. Don’t let this one hit your record by paying the ticket. Hire an speeding ticket lawyer like Thomas Gallagher to protect and fight for you!
Question about your speeding ticket? You can call Minneapolis Speeding Lawyer Thomas Gallagher at 612 333-1500.