Written by Gregory Monte.
“What the heck is an “unfair” speeding ticket? A ticket is a ticket. You either went over the limit or you didn’t – case closed, judgement rendered. It can’t possibly be considered a legal term, right? I mean, you can’t actually show up in court and tell the judge that you don’t deserve a ticket because it was unfair, right? Are you just using the word “unfair” to describe how an unlucky motorist suffering from a case of the sour grapes feels?”
Unfair = Unenforceable
- Not conforming to approved standards…
- Disproportionate, beyond what is fitting or proper.
When I use the term “unfair,” I am not merely expressing an opinion about whether the speeding sign ticket was “fitting or proper” as per definition #2, above. Although I do have a very strong opinion on the “properness” of cops issuing these tickets (especially when a driver is only travelling 5-10 mph over the limit), I also fully understand this will get me absolutely no where in a court of law. The judge doesn’t care what I think about the ticket.
Let’s face it. We can all get together and bitch and moan about how cops are dicks and about how traffic tickets are a scam, but that will not get our charges dismissed. It may help us all blow off a bit of steam, but if we have nothing else to go on, we will just end up like all of the other citizen-sheep out there who meekly hand over their hard-earned money to the state.
When I use the term “unfair” to describe a speeding ticket, I am referring to the meaning of the word indicated in definition #1. I am literally talking about a speed limit that is not legally enforceable because it was either never properly “approved” or the signs posted to inform motorists are non-conforming in some way.
The easiest way to beat a speeding ticket charge is to prove either that the limit was not properly approved or the signs are non-conforming.
Challenging a Speeding Ticket
I am in the process of writing an entire book on how to beat a speeding ticket, but there is one “trick” I will share with you right now which you can try out. This is not something that guarantees your victory in court, but if you are pissed off enough about getting that ticket, you might be willing to give it a shot.
I discovered this “trick” while researching ways to beat my son’s stop sign ticket. After it worked for him (he was found not guilty) I did some more research and realized that it also applied to speeding tickets. If you are interested in how my son won his case, check out my 23-page eBook How My Son Beat an Unfair Stop Sign Ticket in Pennsylvania.
Using the MUTCD to Beat a Speeding Ticket
To my knowledge, all states have adopted the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). This document sets forth certain requirements that every state must follow or else the speed limit cannot be enforced.
Because a speed limit sign is a traffic control device, it has to be properly authorized. Federal MUTCD Section 1A.08 Authority for Placement of Traffic Control Devices states:
“Traffic control devices … shall be placed only as authorized by a public body.”
This is about as straightforward as it gets, and the “shall be” makes it mandatory. This short sentence forbids the placement of a speed limit sign unless it has been properly authorized. While you can be pretty sure that a speed limit sign on a state highway was properly authorized and installed, you might be surprised to find out how many small towns, townships, villages, etc. don’t realize that this is necessary.
As I indicated before, my son won his case precisely because our town never authorized the traffic control device he was accused of violating. All he had to do was file an open public records request to the town to get the paperwork proving that the sign was never properly authorized or installed. Again, you can read all about this process in my 23-page eBook How My Son Beat an Unfair Stop Sign Ticket in Pennsylvania.
And if you have some time on your hands, spend an hour or so reading through the rest of the MUTCD to get other ideas. This blog post just scratches the surface of the issue.