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How to Fight a Speeding Ticket in Missouri

Missouri, like all fifty states, has three types of speed limits- absolute limits, presumed limits and basic limits. Absolute speed limits are the easiest to understand.

An absolute speed limit gives a number that is the fastest you can go. If you go faster than that then you can get a speeding ticket. For example, if the speed limit is 60 miles per hour and you drive 61 miles per hour, you may get a speeding ticket. A presumed speed limit works differently.

In Missouri, a violation of the presumed speed limit is known as "careless and imprudent driving." This means that the driver is driving too fast for the road conditions, or driving at an unsafe speed, regardless of the posted speed limit. Finally, a speeding ticket for violating the basic speed limit means that you were actually driving below the minimum required speed for a specific road. For example, on most highways in Missouri the basic speed limit is 45 miles per hour. If you drive below 45 miles per hour, you may receive a speeding ticket for driving too slowly. Read the Full article below

Missouri, like all fifty states, has three types of speed limits- absolute limits, presumed limits and basic limits. Absolute speed limits are the easiest to understand. An absolute speed limit gives a number that is the fastest you can go. If you go faster than that then you can get a speeding ticket. For example, if the speed limit is 60 miles per hour and you drive 61 miles per hour, you may get a speeding ticket. A presumed speed limit works differently. In Missouri, a violation of the presumed speed limit is known as "careless and imprudent driving." This means that the driver is driving too fast for the road conditions, or driving at an unsafe speed, regardless of the posted speed limit. Finally, a speeding ticket for violating the basic speed limit means that you were actually driving below the minimum required speed for a specific road. For example, on most highways in Missouri the basic speed limit is 45 miles per hour. If you drive below 45 miles per hour, you may receive a speeding ticket for driving too slowly. Most speeding tickets are for violation of the absolute speeding limit, meaning you were driving faster than the posted speed limit. These are the tickets this article focuses on. One of the most important things to find out when you receive a speeding ticket is how the officer determined your driving speed. There are three main ways that police officers determine speed: pacing, radar and laser. Pacing means that the officer drives behind you and accelerates until his speed matches yours and the gap between the cars is no longer widening or narrowing. The officer then determines that your speed and his are the same. Radar can be either stationary or moving. Stationary uses one antenna and the officer remains parked in one spot. Moving uses two antennae and the officer can be driving at the same time. Your speed is determined by the frequency at which the radar waves bounce off of your car and is calibrated by the radar gun based on this frequency. Laser works much the same way as radar, but must be stationary. It uses a burst of light that bounces off of your vehicle and times the outgoing and return bursts to determine speed. The most common types of speed determination in Missouri are pacing and radar. Laser is used infrequently.

The most effective way to fight a speeding ticket is to attack the method of speed determination that the officer used. The hardest type of ticket to fight is one based on pacing. There are basically three ways to fight this type of speeding ticket- hope the officer doesn't show up for court, finding a technicality like a problem with the car's speedometer or having some type of extenuating circumstance, which is known as the defense of necessity. A defense of necessity may only be used when you are trying to avoid harm to yourself or others, such as if your wife is in labor in the car with you.

If the officer uses radar or laser, there are several avenues to explore. The first thing to do is check into the officer's training. Missouri has specific training requirements for any officer that uses radar or laser to determine speed. You can find out how much training your officer has had by writing a letter and requesting your officer's training records under Missouri's Government in the Sunshine law. You can also find out the maintenance information for the radar or laser equipment used by writing a letter to the department the officer works for. Request the product manual from the manufacturer of the device to make sure the maintenance meets the standard recommended. The manual will also tell you the range that the product works at. Compare this to how far the officer says he was away when he used the device. This can affect how accurate the speed reading is.

Finally, if you do not have a defense based on the officer's method of determining your speed, you may argue that the officer was mistaken and gave the speeding ticket to the wrong driver. Many late model cars look alike and if the highway is busy, the officer may legitimately mistake your car for another. This is most likely if the officer is using moving radar. The officer may actually be driving the other way on the highway and have to turn around and come back to pull you over. If there are several similar cars on the road, it is not unheard of for the wrong car to be pulled over.

Last but not least- if you do not think you can successfully contest the speeding ticket, ask for traffic school. Missouri law allows for driver's to take a driver improvement program to allow them to keep the points from a speeding ticket off of their driving record. There are online programs available that take little time and allow you to work at your own pace. Remember, all of these options require you to either hire a lawyer or attend the court date on your ticket yourself.



Published by Rose Singleton

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