FIGHTING YOUR SPEEDING TICKET GUIDE
On your court date
Try not to treat the day as exceptionally different. Remember that this is all routine to the prosecutor and the Justice; they will be calm and composed, so you should be too. Dress in formal attire and make yourself presentable. If you normally eat breakfast, make sure you do so this day as well. Changing your routine will make you nervous. Remember that you prepared for this and you have a good case.
Arrive at least half an hour before your speeding ticket's trial time, or an hour before if you are meeting your witnesses. Setting the time an hour ahead will mean that if someone is half an hour late, you still have another half hour to be prepared for your speeding ticket trial.
When your name is called for your speeding ticket, approach the bench and politely inform the court of your name and your intention to fight your speeding ticket. Have everything you need prepared ahead of time and your witnesses (if any) ready to come forward as you call them.
You will be given the opportunity to make your opening statement, in which you should lay out how you are going to defend yourself. You will then have a chance to call your witnesses and to take the stand yourself, as you will likely need to in order to properly make your speeding ticket case. The prosecutor will be given a chance to examine you and your witnesses as well, and you should be prepared to answer his or her questions.
Try not to get caught off guard by the prosecutor’s questions, and do not allow them to lead you to the answer they want. Also avoid yes or no answers; instead, take the opportunity to explain things in your own words if you can. You want to remain in control of your own testimony, so don’t let the prosecutor push you around. That being said, don’t get angry or belligerent in response to a pushy prosecutor; always remain calm and explain yourself. The more you can stay in control of yourself and your statements, the better you will look to the court.
Cross-examining the prosecutor’s witnesses
You have the right to ask questions of the witnesses the prosecutor calls, which will likely include the officer who gave you the speeding ticket. It can certainly be intimidating to ask questions of the officer that pulled you over for your speeding ticket, but remain calm. Ask the questions you prepared ahead of time and try to lead the witness into saying something that will help your speeding ticket case instead of hinder it. If the officer’s notes did not match your own, this is the time to call their reliability into question. If they did not properly test their speed measuring equipment, specifically ask them if they checked their equipment as they were supposed to before pulling you over. You want to create a situation in which they can only answer very simply that they did not do what they were supposed to do.
Always avoid open-ended questions with the prosecution’s witnesses. You do not want to give them the chance to explain things in more detail if you don’t have to. Remember that the prosecutor will already have done as much as possible to let them pull your speeding ticket case apart; it is up to you to use them to put it back together.
It is useful to think of the cross-examination as a script. You may not know exactly what the witnesses will say, but if you have prepared by making your questions ahead of time and examining the evidence, you should have a good idea of what they will say, and you can anticipate that and craft follow-up questions accordingly. If you stay prepared, you will have a good chance to control the flow of the examination and make your speeding ticket case come across stronger.
Presenting your evidence
You will have a chance to present any evidence you have prepared for your speeding ticket. Keep in mind that you do not have to explain the rationale for including a piece of evidence unless the Justice asks, so do not go into too much explanation as to why you’re bringing something up unless you have to. Briefly explain each piece as you submit it and let it go from there.
Your closing statement
Your closing statement for your speeding ticket needs to ultimately do only one thing: demonstrate that there is reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s evidence. That may sound easy to say it like that, but reasonable doubt means that it must be obvious to the court that something is missing or incorrect in what the prosecutor has offered against you, so you must do your homework and be prepared.
Your statement should tie together all the elements of your speeding ticket defence to make a solid point that you are not guilty of what you are being charged with, or that your case was handled incorrectly by the officer. Make sure you know what the point of your speeding ticket defence is and drive that home. Stay focused on that point and do not deviate from it; if you appear wishy-washy to the court, your evidence will not appear compelling.
Don’t get dramatic, but also try to connect with the court. Eye contact with the people you are speaking with will help you appear confident. Take your time and try not to be stressed out.