If you have been charged with a speeding ticket in Illinois you have the right to have a trial in front of a judge or in front of a jury. If you have been charged with speeding 1-25 mph over the speed limit, then you will be charged with a petty speeding offense.
Under Illinois law, in order for you to be found guilty of a petty offense, the prosecutor must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you were traveling over the speed limit. If you are traveling 26mph or more over the speed limit, then you will be charged with misdemeanor speeding or commonly referred to as aggravated speeding.
If you are charged with aggravated speeding, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were traveling at least 26 mph over the speed limit. You may be wondering; Can I get my speeding ticket dismissed? Check out the six best ways to beat a speeding ticket!
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1. The police officer doesn’t show up to trial
This may seem very obvious but this is likely the best way to beat a speeding ticket trial. Generally, if a speeding ticket is set for trial and the police officer does not show up to court, the ticket will get thrown out.
If you have a speeding ticket in Cook county and the officer does not show to court on the first day, then the ticket will get thrown out. If you are in any other county, you will need to set the ticket for trial and come back a second day.
2. The police officer’s method for catching your speed is unreliable
Can you get a speeding ticket without radar? Most police officers have the proper technology equipped in their vehicles. The vast majority of speeding ticket violations will be used with a radar gun. However, sometimes police officers will pace your car to determine your speed.
If the police officer paced your vehicle and wrote you a ticket for speeding, then the police officer needs to show that his vehicle maintained a consistent pace with your vehicle for a certain amount of time and that when he viewed his speedometer that his speedometer was calibrated and in working order.
A police officer needs to be traveling at the same speed as you and needs to travel in the same direction as you in order for him to properly pace your vehicle.
3. The posted speed limit sign was obstructed
If you are charged with speeding and you did not see the change in speed sign because the sign was obstructed by a tree or possibly by snow then you can argue that since the sign was obstructed you were not aware of the decrease in speed.
The standard speed limit is 70 mph for rural freeways, 65 mph for other 4 lane divided highways, 55 mph for all other highways, and 30 mph for all other urban areas unless there are signs stating otherwise. If you are on a highway and the speed limit drops from 70 mph to 55 mph and the sign is obstructed by snow, you can argue that you were traveling the standard speed limit because you did not see a sign.
However, if you are traveling 85 mph in a 70 mph zone that will not work because Illinois has a set standard limit of 70 mph for freeways.
4. Defect in the ticket
What happens if the cop puts the wrong name on a ticket? Officers are human and sometimes they will make mistakes on the ticket. Can a ticket for a moving violation get dismissed for wrong information? Before you take your speeding ticket to trial, take a look at the ticket and make sure that the police officer has the correct information on the ticket.
Is your name correct? Is the intersection correct? Is the day of the incident correct? In my years in practice, I have had several tickets where the officer wrote the wrong name on the ticket or wrote the wrong vehicle, or even the wrong date on the ticket.
Generally, the prosecutor can amend and fix the ticket before trial, however, if the prosecutor does not catch the mistake and the trial begins, it will be too late for the prosecutor to amend the ticket.
Sometimes (rarely) you can argue necessity to the judge in order to beat a speeding ticket. With the necessity defense, you are telling the judge that you were speeding, but you needed to speed in order to prevent something bad from happening or to help someone out.
The best example of necessity is when you are speeding to the hospital with your pregnant wife in the car or speeding to the emergency room because you are a doctor and you needed to save a patient’s life.
6. Get the results of the radar gun thrown out
How to prove that the radar gun is inaccurate
If a police officer wrote you a ticket for speeding and he determined that you were speeding due to a radar gun, then he will need to lay the foundation to prove that the radar gun was working.
In order to prove that the radar gun was working, the police officer needs to testify that he calibrated his radar gun using tuning forks before and after the issuance of the ticket and that in his opinion the radar gun was working. If he cannot testify to this, then they will not be able to introduce evidence of the radar gun and the prosecutor cannot prove what your speed was.
How to beat a speed trap in Illinois
A second way to get the results of the radar gun thrown out is if you can show that the police officer used the radar gun within 500 feet beyond the change of speed limit. For example, if the speed goes from 40 to 25 mph, the officer cannot radar your vehicle until the vehicle has passed beyond 500 feet of the 25mph zone speed limit sign.
If the officer radars your vehicle within 500 feet of a change of speed limit, then the judge will throw the ticket out.
It is important to remember that there can be significant ramifications for being found guilty of a speeding ticket. If you are found guilty of a speeding ticket, you can face a significant fine, a permanent mark on your record, an insurance premium increase, or even jail time.
If you have been charged with speeding in Cook county and you need a Chicago Traffic Lawyer then give us a call. Our law firm is well versed in Illinois traffic laws and we have handled thousands of speeding tickets. Call today for a free consultation!