Reasons a Speeding Ticket Can Be Dismissed

A speeding ticket can be dismissed for many reasons, including faulty radar guns, incorrect ticket info, or simply because it’s your first offense.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
There are several reasons that a judge might dismiss a speeding ticket. Whether it was your first infraction, a faulty radar gun, or an absent police officer on your court date, there’s a chance you may be off the hook.
  • Especially if it’s a first offense, a speeding ticket may be dismissed for things like faulty equipment and incorrect ticket information.
  • Hiring a lawyer could increase your chances of speeding ticket dismissal.
  • If you’re ultimately found guilty, you could be looking at hefty fines, as well as increases in your
    car insurance

5 reasons for speeding ticket dismissals 

Normally, if a law enforcement officer writes you a ticket for speeding, you’ll be instructed to mail the ticket to your local courthouse with a plea. 
Then, you’ll have to show up for an assigned court date, where a judge will review your violation and dole out the appropriate amount of
driver's license points
and fees per your state’s driving laws.
There are several instances, however, where a speeding violation may be reduced—changed to a less severe non-moving violation—or even dismissed entirely. Here are some of the most common reasons for speeding ticket dismissals:

It’s your first offense 

Depending on what state you live in, a kind judge may issue a traffic ticket dismissal if it is your first time getting pulled over. If you have an otherwise
clean driving record
, the judge may be more inclined to do you a favor. 
Keep in mind: There is no hard-and-fast rule for dismissing a first offender’s speeding ticket—so, really, it’s just a matter of luck. Hiring a lawyer who can make a believable case that you are in fact a cautious driver may increase your chances. 

The police officer makes a mistake

Traffic laws apply to both you and the officer pulling you over. A law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion for pulling you over, as well as lawfully obtained evidence before writing you a speeding ticket.
If you have reason to believe that the officer made a mistake (whether intentionally or unintentionally), this can be brought up in court. 
Keep in mind: that it often takes an experienced traffic lawyer to accurately identify these mistakes and make a case strong enough to lead to the dismissal of all charges. 

Faulty equipment 

The most common way that a cop will identify that you’re speeding is with the use of a radar gun. Similar technology is used on red light cameras, school zone speed signs, and more.
If you have a clear reason to believe that the radar gun or traffic camera used to estimate your vehicle’s speed was faulty, you may be able to successfully advocate for your traffic citation’s dismissal. 

The police officer doesn’t show up

After you are issued a speeding ticket by a police officer, you’ll be instructed to mail in a plea of either “guilty” or “not guilty.” Obviously, you’re responsible for attending said traffic court date—and so is the police officer who issued you a ticket! 
If they are unable to make the court date for whatever reason, the judge may allow them to reschedule. However, if they simply fail to show up, most judges will dismiss the case.

Your ticket includes incorrect information 

When you receive a traffic ticket, always double-check that the correct vehicle make, model, and year is listed, as well as the license plate number or any other identifying evidence. If the missing or incorrect data are crucial to the case, it could result in your ticket being dismissed. 

How to fight a speeding ticket 

If you receive a traffic violation and merely wish to accept your fate, you should plead “guilty” and pay any required fees. However, if you wish to fight your traffic ticket, you should plead “not guilty” and plan to attend your assigned court date.
When you arrive at court on your scheduled date, you’ll first meet with the town or city’s prosecutor. Prosecutors are given a fair amount of discretion, so they may offer you a plea bargain (typically in the form of a ticket reduction) right off the bat.
You’re more likely to be offered a reduction if you have a clean driving record or if your offense was relatively minor. (For example, you were going 15 mph over the speed limit, rather than 30 mph over the speed limit.) 
Possible reductions may include the option to attend an in-person or online defensive driving course or traffic school or to pay multiple
parking tickets
in place of a speeding ticket. You may also be offered a less severe moving violation, such as failure to yield at a stop sign. 
Of course, if you have a legitimate reason to believe that your speeding ticket should be dismissed, you may politely and respectfully make your case when meeting with the prosecutor. 
You must be incredibly careful when doing this, however—without ample knowledge of the law and the negotiation process, you could end up making things worse. Your best bet is to get legal advice from a knowledgeable traffic ticket attorney from a respectable law firm. 
MORE: How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record?

The cost of a speeding ticket

It’s entirely free to attempt to fight your traffic ticket by yourself. However, it’s pretty difficult to predict whether you’ll be successful, and you could end up paying hefty fines and court fees anyway.
Hiring a reliable lawyer is the best way to increase your odds of a judge reducing your charges or dismissing your ticket. How much an attorney will cost depends on several factors, including
  • Your geographic location
  • The lawyer’s experience level
  • The complexity of your case
As such, traffic ticket lawyer fees vary from a couple of hundred dollars to as much as $3,000 or higher.
Despite your best efforts, you may end up being found guilty of speeding in the end. This often means you’ll see some points added to your license and you’ll be stuck paying some pretty hefty fees.
But the bad luck doesn’t stop there—even a single traffic ticket added to your driving record could cause your insurance company to raise your auto insurance premiums.
“My speeding ticket raised my insurance to $310/month.
got me full comprehensive coverage on two vehicles for $144/month through Progressive. I definitely recommend giving them a try.” —Brandon D.
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The amount of points that a speeding ticket will add to your license depends on a few factors, including what state you live in and how much you were speeding. Keep in mind that severe infractions can even result in license suspension.
Every state follows its own unique
points system
, so it’s essential to understand your local laws. Check with your DMV’s website for complete details.
The price of a speeding ticket varies from state to state. Generally, a speeding ticket’s price will increase as your rate of speed increases. 
For example, speeding 10-15 mph over the legal limit may cost you $100, while speeding 16-20 mph over the legal limit may cost you $175.
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