Florida Speeding Tickets: How can the officer "prove" that I was speeding?
In 2010, there were over 300,000 speeding citations issued in the State of Florida. While many people simply elect to pay their citation and take the points (or choose driving school, if eligible), it is important to remember that approximately 28% of all speeding tickets issued in 2010 were dismissed. Many times, drivers feel as though they were issued a speeding citation in error. If you feel as though you were wrongly cited, it is important to know how the police officer "proves" that you were speeding.
Florida law requires that the officer produce a signed and witnessed certificate, showing that the speed measuring device used to detect your speed was tested within the specific time limits and that such device was working properly. Fla. Stat. 316.1905(2)(b). The production of this document establishes a evidentiary presumption of the speed alleged by the officer, unless the contrary is established by competent evidence. Id. An evidentiary presumption is "an assumption of the existence of a fact which is in reality unproven by direct evidence." Charles W. Ehrhardt, Erhardt's Florida Evidence, §301.1, 95 (2010 Ed., West 2010). What does this all mean? If the officer is present and provides a calibration certificate that meets the statutory requirements, the officer has established your speed, unless you can provide competent evidence to the contrary.
In addition to the Calibration Certificate, an officer must establish that:
- the officer has satisfactorily completed the Radar or Laser training course,
- the officer made an independent visual determination that your vehicle was operating above the posted speed limit,
- the conditions present permitted the clear assignment of speed to a single vehicle,
- and several other statutory requirements.
Before you think about fighting your ticket on your own, be aware that:
- Speedometer or any other mechanical malfunction is not a defense,
- Going with the flow of traffic is not a defense,
- You do not have a right to inspect the calibration documents until the officer presents them at trial,
- If you choose to go to trial, without a good-faith defense, you risk being convicted and receiving points, being ordered to complete driving school ( up to 12 hours in person), having to pay a civil penalty of up to $500 (plus court costs / some offenses have a higher max fine), and the Judge has the authority to suspend your license for up to one year .
I handle hundreds of traffic citations (criminal and non-criminal offenses) each year and I have helped over 3,000 drivers since opening my practice in 2010. If you have received a Speeding Ticket in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, Dade City, Sarasota, or any other Tampa Bay city, please call my office for a free consultation regarding your traffic ticket (727) 260-5754.