Many drivers, no matter their amount of experience, have been caught for speeding by a law enforcement team. No matter the excuse, usually one doesn’t get off without getting a costly ticket. However, it is sometimes possible to avoid a ticket and therefore a stamp on one’s permanent driving record.
Before we start the this discussion, it should first be emphasized that the laws for speeding vary by state and territory. What’s legal in one jurisdiction may very well not be in another. But what this article will share is that in many states in the United States, there are valid legal reasons for going over the posted speed limit and if you are aware of these, you may be able to get away with being issued a traffic ticket.
Legal justification for going over the speed limit usually falls into one of five categories:
- A driver’s speeding was caused by the actions of the police or other law enforcement officers
- Self-defense and the defense of others
- Necessity, and
Speeding Caused by the Actions of the Police
As an example of the first justification,
- Speeding away from a police car that is driving out of control in order to get into another lane, may constitute as a legal defense.
- In fact, speeding in order to get away from any driver maneuvering haphazardly can be a valid defense.
This would squarely fit into the second category mentioned.
Self-Defense and the Safety of Others
This mentioned case would be considered an “emergency.”
- If the emergency could have been avoided without speeding, trying to use this “sudden emergency doctrine” would be considered invalid.
- A driver can also be exculpated should it not be able to be proven that the driver was actually involved in the speeding incident. For example, there is a difference between being caught for an accident via speeding directly, and being seen, say, two hours later.
- If it can’t be proved that a given person was the driver, they may have a valid legal defense.
This kind of defense is commonly used for other traffic violations, as well.
Some Situational Excuses
- Of course, some states recognize the driver of a car as being a constant thing– driving it at one minute is sufficient evidence that you were driving it at another minute. This is why it is important to know what is legal and not in any given jurisdiction.
- Sometimes speedometers misread whether the right driver has been speeding, which is another point that can be argued in court. Another car in front of one might be the guilty party and one can use this as a legal defense.
- Although the reason for an actual officer pulling you over is usually not impugned, it can be called into question should there be evidence that there was discrimination in the officer’s choosing. For example, a police officer pulling someone over because they are African American, female, etc. is totally out of bounds. Of course, it is very difficult to prove such claims, making it a somewhat less realistic excuse.
- A lack of authority in a specific jurisdiction can also sometimes be used as an excuse. For example, if an officer is from Marysville, they might not have the right to stop someone driving in Jonesville. *This only applies in certain jurisdictions; and all rules usually go out of the window during a “hot pursuit.”
Coercion, Necessity, and Entrapment
To go back to the aforementioned list, coercion, necessity, and entrapment could mean a variety of things. For one, it could mean that one was being threatened– such as with a gun to their head– or that the speed of traffic was going faster than the posted limit, and thus, it was necessary to drive faster. (Such as traffic going 70 MPH on a 55 MPH road).
These are many of the excuses out there but you should use these sparingly and when you have not caused any damage to your or somebody else’s car or have not been involved in a life threatening situation.. Don’t try textbook excuses, such as not knowing the speed limit; they won’t work. When in doubt, always consult an experienced traffic ticket attorney for advice in relation to legal matters.