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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 4479
Experience:  10 years of legal experience, including traffic law
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I just got a speeding ticket in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. I

Customer Question

I just got a speeding ticket in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. I want to contest it. I went to traffic court with a friend about 4 years back and was surprised to find you go before a motor vehicle person instead of a magistrate. To go before a magistrate you had to pay an additional fee of $50 to see him. My friend paid the fee and did go back on his own, but I never found out the outcome. I was wondering if someone could advise me on what to expect when I go into traffic court. I am 61 and I have had a perfect driving history until today. I was going 6 mph over the speed limit on a downhill section. The posted speed limit is 40 mph. He said he estimated me and got me on radar. I think he may have been looking to pull anyone over since it was around 9:30 and no one else was on the road. Any advise on beating this ticket would be appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 1 year ago.

Hello.

Sorry to hear about your ticket. Unfortunately, beating a speeding ticket outright is actually quite difficult. As long as the officer's radar was calibrated properly, and he testifies that he clocked you going over the limit, that is pretty much sufficient to be found guilty. The fact that you were going downhill is not a defense; drivers are expected to control their speed under those types of circumstances.

Given that you have a clean record, however, you still may be able to negotiate a way to keep a speeding conviction off of your record. You can inquire of the hearing officer whether you might be eligible for some type of traffic school program, where you could complete a class in exchange for a dismissal, or some sort of diversion or deferred prosecution program, where your case is put off for a period of time and if you pick up no additional charges, then the ticket would be dropped permanently from your record. It would keep any points off as well. Because you have such a lengthy clean record, the hearing officer may be willing to work with you to reach an alternate resolution in your case if you can't defeat the ticket outright. It is just very hard to that (even if there are sites on the Internet that tell you it is easy, it is not due to the accepted accuracy of radars and lasers for calculating speed, unfortunately).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the info. I maintain this account so I can talk to folks like yourself and not what is on the internet. I have used it before for other legal questions that I asked. And they were very helpful. I have been to traffic court 2 times in my life and got the charges dismissed. I am old enough to remember a time when you did not need car insurance. When you got a ticket, you paid the fine and that was your punishment. Also if you 5 mph above or below the speed limit that was allowed.Today you get a ticket you face fines, surcharges, and now court fees. YIKES! God help us from our greedy government and insurance companies. I believe I can check my driving record with the motor vehicle dept. Is that correct? Or do they also have fees? Also can an officer estimate your speed or should he just be using radar or be trailing you to get an accurate speed. Sorry more questions. Mike L.

Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 1 year ago.

No problem. An estimate alone is not enough to prove that you are going a certain number of MPH over. There are types of speeding charges that you don't need a specific number for, like a charge of say, going too fast for conditions (i.e. where even if the officer doesn't know the person's speed, but the person is driving fast on an icy road and loses control of their car), but being ticketed 6 mph over requires a better calculation of speed. Speed calculations that are accepted by court are generally the radar, the lidar (a laser reading), or pacing (using a certified pace car, and there is a certain distance that the car must pace before speed can be recorded).

You can get a copy of your record, but it is not free. An attested copy is $20 but an unattested copy is only $6. http://www.massrmv.com/rmv/suspend/driving_record.htm

I feel your pain...it definitely feels like the government is nickle and diming us at every opportunity, doesn't it?