Monday, 14 May 2007

Avoiding The Speeding Ticket

Alrighty There People!

Slightly off topic again, but here goes... what happens when you get pulled for speeding? Try this...

What Must the Officer Do, and What Should You Do?
When you are being reported for speeding, the Police Officer must tell you that "you will be reported for consideration of the question of prosecuting you for exceeding the speed limit." It must either be given verbally or in writing at the time,or in writing within fourteen days or a summons be issued within fourteen days.Following this Notice of Intended Prosecution, he should then caution you by saying, "You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned, something you later rely on in Court. Anything youdo say may be given in evidence."Under Section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act, 1988, section 1, it states, "A person shall not be convicted of an offence to which this section applies,(speeding, dangerous driving, careless driving, failing to conform to traffic lights,failing to conform to stop signs, continuous white lines in the middle of the road and other mandatory road signs) unless the Notice of Intended Prosecution was given."When being booked for speeding or any other offence, if possible switch on a tape recorder or Dictaphone so that you have a record of what the officer says. Be careful, some Police Forces do have the N.I.P. printed on the HO/RT/1 producer form or on specially printed forms for speeding offences.

How to Avoid Being NICKED When You Are Stopped
In a word: Act. However much you want to tell the police how crap his last manoeuvres were, you actually do this... Dependent on how bad the offence is, because remember, by the time he gets to your car he has pretty well made uphis or her mind what they will be doing. Try your utmost to make the officer truly believe that he has really got to your soul. He will always have a cautionary tale of something gruesome that just happens to have occurred right next to where you are. They make these lectures often. They want to feel that by telling you they can 'make a difference'. Make sureyou stop the very instant you know you are going to be stopped, be on the pavement looking seriously glum. If your licence has already has points on it, you are going to need talent.Go with the super-miserable, "Oh god, I of all blokes should know better by now..." If you can raise a Hollywood tear you are Oscar material. No matter how base, low and stupid it makes you feel, exult in the aftermath when you get a good tickingoff - but no ticket.
What To Do If Caught
Firstly, not enough people who are caught fight it in court, they simply accept it, get the points and pay the fine. If more than 10% fought the ticket the judicial system dealing with this would be overwhelmed and brought down on its knees. If in doubt, fight it. The worst thing that can happen is that you will be convicted of your original offence. You can get a heftier fine and more points in court, but unless you were doing silly speeds, it’s unlikely. Make the systems life HELL when fighting it. Remember it is going to cost the system a huge amount of money to prosecute you, in the officer's time, court'stime, prosecutor's time etc. The best thing you can do is make it worse. Here are some steps you can take.

What To Do At The Scene
It is critical that you start contesting your ticket at the scene of the alleged offence. You must judge the officer’s temperament and situation and decide for yourself. You are more likely to get let off by a normal officer (black hat, black uniform) than by a traffic officer (white hat, green overcoat). Remember, its a traffic cop's job to catch you, the normal cop probably does not want the added paperwork. If the officer asks you how fast you think you were going you can take one of three approaches:
1. You can deny it outright and tell him you weren't speeding, that you checked the speedometer. DO NOT get into an argument, but do not admit guilt. This is unlikely to prevent him from giving you a ticket, but you can tell judge at a trial that you were not speeding and you checked the speedometer, you can have the officer confirm that in your cross examination of him. This will serve to make your case stronger.

2. You can say that you are not sure, your mind was elsewhere. If he insists you were speeding, then sidestep by saying something like, "I guess I must have been otherwise you would not have stopped me." DO NOT admit guilt, this approach simply reiterates the officers accusation. This is difficult to use as evidence in court on both sides.

3. Be honest and admit guilt. If you are stopped by a traffic officer, then you are going to get a ticket anyway so this is a stupid approach. If it is a normal officer, you may get off for being honest. This approach relies on luck. Forget fighting it in court if you admit guilt.

NEVER admit guilt, even if you do not intend fighting it, none of the "I have aplane to catch", "I'm late for work", "My house is on fire," etc.All speed-pacing police cars have to have their Speedo's measured and certified. Only traffic police cars are done, and the Speedo will have increments of 1 mph's. If you are stopped by a non-traffic officer, and told that he/she followed you andyou were speeding, simply ask as a matter of course when his Speedo was last calibrated. It is likely he will let you go since normal police (Beat) cars do not have certified Speedo’s; theirs is the same as yours and mine.

NEVER surrender your licence at the roadside; you will get a chance to take it to a police station. Surrendering your licence at the roadside is an admission of guilt. Surrendering it at a police station later is just abiding by the law.
If you are given a ticket, study it carefully before leaving the scene. The officer will ask if you have questions about the ticket.

DO NOT get cocky at the scene, you have nothing against the police officer, he/she is only doing his/her job. It is the system that you want to fight.

TOMORROW...If You Were Caught on a Radar Gun

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