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Some speeders think they found a creative way out of th... Some speeders think they found a creative way out of their tickets (nateOne, Flickr).
Six speeders in Charlottesville, Va. claim their due-process rights were violated because the city did not provide a copy of the traffic and engineering study that set the 35-mph speed limit.

According to Virginia law, the study is required to lower the speed limit on limited access highways, which is where the drivers were pulled over. Generally, limited access highways have a 55-mph speed limit, according to The Daily Progress.

The speeders believe they have a case because the best the city has merely provided the minutes from a July 3, 1967 Charlottesville City Council meeting that references the study being completed. The study itself, however, does not seem to exist.

Because of this, the defendants argued that the study must be provided to show that the 35 MPH speed limit is, in fact, legitimate.

So do they really have a case?

According to Judge Edward L. Hogshire, not really.

"Due process requires the prosecution to prove every element necessary to establish the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt," Hogshire wrote. "... In this case, due process requires the commonwealth to prove certain facts beyond a reasonable doubt such as the speed and location of the car. But due process does not require the commonwealth to prove that the ordinance was itself properly established."

Unfortunately for the speeders, they must provide clear evidence the speed limit was not established with the traffic study. Apparently, the fact the study cannot be provided simply isn't good enough.

"The city's speed limit ordinance is not invalidated simply because a 45-year-old traffic survey cannot be produced," Judge Hogshire wrote.

While you may not be able to claim a due-process rights violation when pulled over, you do have some options. Here are some tips on what to do if you're given a traffic ticket.

On the Road

Be polite

It may be a routine traffic stop to you, but the cop doesn't know how dangerous the situation might be. So, when he pulls you over, keep in mind that he's looking at it as a tense situation. If you're rude, you'll only make it worse and lessen your chances of escaping the ticket. Be polite; roll down your window and turn off your radio. If you smoke, put out the cigarette. All of these things are common courtesy and they all communicate something to the officer: You care enough to give him your undivided attention. Talking on your cell phone or insisting that he hurry up is a surefire way to land yourself a ticket.

Don't talk too much

The more you talk, the more he can use against you in court. That doesn't mean you have to be a mute, but sometimes cops will let you think you're talking your way out of it when they're really just giving you enough rope to hang yourself. Don't let yourself get into a conversation in which you confess to breaking the law so that you may get off with a warning. Once the patrolman has a confession, he or she has what's needed to beat you in court should you contest the ticket.

Don't argue or plead ignorance

The side of the road is no place to argue. Sometimes a cop might try to bait you into an argument (they're human and we all have bad days). But, usually, an argument can be avoided. If you can't get the officer to see things your way by calmly and clearly stating your case, don't keep going. If you do, you will only antagonize him.

As for ignorance, think again. It might work if you're a cute girl, but for most guys, it's just a lame excuse. When you get your license, you agree to abide by the rules of the road, so ignorance just isn't going to fly. Plus, it's a common excuse, which means cops hear it all the time and are less likely to let you off with just a warning.

Ask for a warning

It never hurts to ask for a warning. But don't beg -- that's a sign of weakness. It's also very annoying. When an officer gives you a warning, he's doing you a favor, so try to approach asking for a warning the same way you might ask a friend to help you move. It's a big favor on his part, and you've got to make him want to help you.

In Court

Present a strong case

Presenting a strong case is about knowing the law. While it will help to review the relevant portion of the driver's handbook, the judge doesn't need you to tell him about the law; trust me, he knows it. Instead, focus on making yourself an effective advocate: Be organized, be on time, speak clearly and dress appropriately. All of these things will set you apart from most of the people the judge sees every day, and he'll be more inclined to rule in your favor if you make his job easier.

Accept a plea

If you're looking at multiple charges, ask to plead guilty to the lesser charge in exchange for dismissing the others. You can do this before your proceeding begins. Often, judges will do this to save time. The benefit to you is that you can save money and points against your insurance. But remember: The plea bargain only benefits you when you're facing many charges.

Use an attorney

If you're facing serious charges that may result in you losing your license, getting heavy fines or jail time, it's worth bringing a lawyer. That should go without saying, but a lot people think they can fly solo because it's traffic court. Wrong: When your license and your freedom are on the line, you need a lawyer. Ask a friend or consult online listings and reviews to find a lawyer who specializes in traffic offenses.

Request a trial by mail

Most jurisdictions let you make your case by mail. The advantages are twofold: First, you can sit down and think out your case without the pressure of being on the spot and facing the arresting officer and the judge. Second, if you lose, you can request a trial in person, which means you get a second bite at the apple.

Getting ticketed

If there is a common denominator to these tips, it's that you need to know how to handle yourself in a difficult situation. While many know how to handle a tough day at work or a fight with their spouses, an encounter with the law can be a bit scary. The best advice is to relax and fall back on what you've learned.


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  • 342 Comments
      flyingfortresb17
      • 3 Years Ago
      One of the biggest no-nos in the book when an officer approaches is "why aren't you out looking for real criminals?" The other are your picking on me because I'm Mexican, Black, indian, pretty?(in whose eyes?) I've got long hair. I am late for an appointment (when asked where you can't tell the officer). My (name your relative) mother is in the hospital and I need to get there now! All you really have to do is hand over your license or identification, insurance and proof of ownership and Ask why you were stopped. Don't argue. That will get you nowhere.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cops are super Pricks in Cali your best bet is Use an attorney.
      saratborat
      • 3 Years Ago
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgnDFyQb_CE
      jmg62
      • 3 Years Ago
      "due process does not require the commonwealth to prove that the ordinance was itself properly established." How does one challenge due process in the commonwealth courts on commonwealth streets and roads and highways if not in their courts? Aren't they the one's who check the requirments of laws made/passed by the legislature or adminstration against the commonwealth's own constitution? Maybe I'm thinking of something else - but if challenged - who takes up for the commonwealth then? I'm sure it's not arbitrary - but where would the ordinance be scrutinized for such a thing?
      John
      • 3 Years Ago
      got out of a speeding ticket by ensuring cop was in court (on his day off) and then had witnesses there to say cop was using their driveway to sit and catch speeders.. The witnesses, the Judges own mother and the cops, Aunt. The admitted he did it all the time without express permission
        billv0164
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John
        I do NOT see where any of these people said that any of those places were PRIVATE property
      pm0501
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a bunch of crybabies! If you get caught speeding, you probably deserve a ticket. With 80% of American drivers thinking the speed laws don't apply tot them, the cops have their work cut out for them. Only one in 40,000 speeders ever get caught so your odds of getting a ticket are pretty slim.
      LL
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wasn't even aware of the existence of penny auctions until about 6 weeks ago. Now I can't imagine buying anything other than food or clothing anyplace else. My favorite is at ( http://tinyurl.com/TopBargains ) It took me a few days to figure out how to bid but now I am savings big bucks there. How they can sell iPads, Macbooks, HDTVs, Digital Cameras, Gaming Consoles, and more for steep discounts of 75%, 80%, or even 85% off retail price, I don't know. I do know that I bought my son an iPad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250 Lowe's gift card for $48. Why would I shop anyplace else?
      • 3 Years Ago
      A speeding fine isn't even that much money. Think about the money you'd spend on a lawyer in court? yeah so don't fight the fine, pay it and learn your lesson. The cops are always right, and we have speeding limits for a reason!
      wlccx52
      • 3 Years Ago
      IN many places I feel that the municipalities have given the police another duty. That one being a revenue generator. I dont think the officers want this job but the times being what they are they just do it. They dont want to be replaced by cameras.
      Eric
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've had my fair share of traffic stops, and a little common sense can go a long way to making it easier. Perhaps no ticket, or maybe a reduction of the actual offense. Pull over as soon as you know, even if the cop hasn't hit his/her lights. If you know you've been seen, don't play games and hope for the best...he/she is coming for you, make it easy for them. Pull over someplace safe for the cop, again...make it easy for them. This means as far off the highway as safely possible or into a parking lot. Turn on your hazards to indicate your going to comply with the stop. Turn off the car, roll down the window, including rear windows if they are tinted....they want to see inside, let them. If at night turn on overhead lights. Keep your seatbelt on. Keep your hands on the wheel. They are looking for bad moves that indicate a weapon, do nothing that causes them to wonder. When asked to produce your paperwork, inform them of where it is and ask permission to get them from that spot. Oh, and have it together and easily available. Fumbling around causes some stress and it makes you look stupid. Be polite. You and they both know what you did most of the time, don't act stupid or insulted for being stopped, fess up and offer an excuse they can live with. It's better to say "I was distracted, today just hasn't been a good day" than "No I didn't, I stopped completely" when both of you know you indeed rolled the stop sign. One day, just for fun, I'm going to say "These are not the droids your looking for." and see if I can get a laugh from a cop. Humor works with these people. They get arrogant people and liars all day, someone making a little joke...and then getting on with the business at hand can go a long way to making the stop less painful.
        Jeff
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Eric
        You are quite right, Eric. I was a policeman for 30 years.
      Christopher
      • 3 Years Ago
      "You know you might be a redneck if,...your momma doesn't take the Marlboro out of her mouth, when she tells the cop to kiss her @$$!" -- Jeff Foxworthy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Remember you can only get a ticket if you can't outrun them :D
        lasercop
        • 3 Years Ago
        Lets see, Officers drive 40 hrs a week...and your going to out drive them and their radios. Oh please try. i want to see it on the news.
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