Written by Gregory Monte.
If a cop gives you a “break” on your speeding ticket, can you use this leniency against him in court? Sounds like a terrible thing to do, right? Maybe, but it might be worth a try if you are pissed off enough about getting that ticket in the first place. The way I see it, any way to beat the traffic-ticket scam machine is OK by me.
The Possible “Speed Trap” for Cops
A comment on a recent blog post got me thinking about another way to beat a speeding ticket in court. This would only apply to a situation where the police officer wrote down a lower speed on the citation than he actually told you were driving according to his radar reading. In other words, sometimes cops will give motorists a “break” because they realize the fines are more expensive the higher you are travelling over the limit.
I quote directly from the commentary:
“One fellow called the cop to the stand. After he was sworn in, he asked if the cop if he’d given him a break and written a lower speed than he cited at the time of issuing the ticket. The cop, probably thinking it would paint him in a good light, said yes. The defendant, then asked the cop if he wrote the ticket and signed it under penalty of perjury. Of course, he admitted to it. At that point, the defendant asked the case be dismissed, since the cop had just admitted lying in the declaration supporting the ticket. The judge dismissed.”
Sounds too good to be true, right?
A Speeding Case Dismissed
Possibly, but Professor Adam J. MacLeod did something very similar to this back in 2017 and it worked for him. You can read all the details of his ordeal at: That time I turned a routine traffic ticket into the constitutional trial of the century
At trial he asked the police officer who wrote the citation a series of questions and then concluded with this final one:
“So, you signed an affidavit under the pains and penalties of perjury alleging probable cause to believe that Adam MacLeod committed a violation of traffic laws without any evidence that was so?”
When the officer answered yes, he was acknowledging his perjury:
“A police officer had just testified under oath that he perjured himself in service to a city government … The city then rested its case. I renewed my motion to dismiss, which the judge immediately granted.”
Where This Strategy Won’t Work
It is important to note that attempting to use this strategy for other kinds of “breaks” given by cops will not work. For example, back in 2013 when Trooper Zaykowski clocked Stewart Fredericks going 82 in a 65 zone , he …
“… decided to give Appellant ‘a break’ … Instead, he cited Appellant for violating the rules and regulations of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, a lesser fine, and driving while operating privileges are suspended or revoked for a prior DUI conviction.”
In this case, the officer wouldn’t be lying on the citation because the motorist actually did violate those sections and he could testify as such in court with no problem.
The same would be true in the following case of Anthony Bowers who was clocked speeding 75 mph in a 55 zone:
“Trooper Duddy related the aforementioned facts. In addition, he indicated that he gave Appellant a break by issuing the citation at issue [failing to obey a traffic control device] rather than giving him a speeding ticket.”
Again, the officer wouldn’t be lying on the citation because, in fact, Bowers did fail to obey a speed limit sign – a traffic control device.