In a not guilty plea for speeding citation, would I be better off selecting trial by judge or by jury?

Asked about 3 years ago - Garland, TX

The citation was issued for 71 in 60. I had cruise control on 60; came up on slower vehicle; went to pass vehicle and it sped up. I slowed down to get back behind vehicle and vehicle slowed below speed limit AGAIN. I went to pass and vehicle again sped up to match my speed, keeping us neck and neck. I sped up to attempt to pass as I didn't know if driver of vehicle was drunk or messing with me. At this point radar clocked me at 71 (the other vehicle almost even with me). Officer additionally charged me with failure to report address change even though my drivers license HAS current address. Town involved and officer involved known to issue tickets for as little as 3 miles over limit - huge source of small town income. Opinion as seem better off with judge or jury??? THANKS

Additional information

I'm pretty sure I'd be better off with jury - but if there's a reason that it wouldn't be a good idea, I'd appreciate input.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Charles Elwood Soechting Jr.

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . To properly answer your question, I would want to know if you're in Garland municipal court or a local JP court. Also the officer involved and other related issues. For simplicity, hire a traffic ticket attorney that practices in the community you are in (be it Garland or wherever) that knows the courts, and the prosecutors and can take steps to beat this. The fee is generally minimal and well worth it if your ticket is dismissed.

    Good luck

    Although my intent in answering this question is to aid you in the legal process, my answer does not establish an... more
  2. Cynthia Russell Henley

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . If you are not, or cannot, hire a traffic lawyer (which is a very good investment - I wouldn't go to traffic court without one), then generally you should choose a jury trial. The judges are there every day and see the same cops every day. They develop a relationship and commraderie. The judge sees them testify and work and develops respect (or no respect) for them. A jury is not going to be the cop's buddy and will not have a reason to already believe in his credibility. Moreover, they are more likely to relate to you (if you are reasonable with a reasonable story and act calmly and like you know what you are talking about.) That said, it is much harder for a lay person to handle a jury trial than a bench trial.

    Although I have answered the question to try to help you, you should consult with a lawyer in your area in person... more
  3. Jill Christine Schaefer

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Honestly, the best plan of action for you really is to hire a good traffic attorney in your area and let he or she handle your case.

    Nevertheless, if you insist on handling the case yourself, try to work things out with the prosecutor first. Maybe he or she will see things your way and agree to dismiss the case or amend your case to "littering" with a small fine. It happens, particularly when known speed traps are involved.

    If you must resort to a trial, a bench trial is the way to go. A bench trial is a quick trial decided by the judge. Frequently, a jury trial may provide a Defendant the best opportunity to show evidence of reasonable doubt... however not in a case like this. Jury trials take time. Most jurors are not gonna have much patience for a simple speeding case that could have been explained (by both sides) to a judge in 10 minutes or less. Further, if you're convicted, you might be responsible for court costs...which would be pricey with a jury trial. Good Luck.

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