While you will experience repercussions for any speeding ticket—even if you were only going six miles above the posted speed limit—if you were going thirty miles or more above the speed limit, your penalties will be much more severe. Many times a Florida police officer may give you a break when you are going five, ten, or even fifteen miles above the speed limit, but if you are going thirty miles above the posted speed limit, there are likely to be no breaks given. If you already have points on your driver’s license, such an offense can push your level of points to the point where you could lose your license. If you are like most Americans, you use your vehicle every single day. You may drive back and forth to work, to school, to take your children to school and after-school activities and to run the countless errands we all run. Without a driver’s license, getting all those things done can become practically impossible. If you have received a speeding ticket for going thirty miles above the speed limit, it is crucial that you contact an experienced Florida traffic ticket attorney as soon as possible in order to minimize the potential repercussions.
Florida Statutory Penalties for Speeding Thirty Miles Over the Speed Limit and How You Can Handle Your Citation
Unlike other speeding tickets you might receive for going less than thirty miles per hour above the posted speed limit, you have fewer options for handling your speeding ticket when you are driving this fast. In fact, in the state of Florida, your penalties for speeding thirty miles above the speed limit can be as severe as for the offense of reckless driving. Your fines (if this is your first offense for driving this fast) can be from $400 and up. If you have a motorcycle endorsement, it can be revoked, and you may even be subjected to a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license. You will not have the option to simply pay your speeding ticket, nor will you have the option to take traffic school and avoid the points on your license. At this level, you will have a mandatory court appearance, four points on your driving record and a potential license suspension.
If you receive a speeding ticket for going thirty miles over the speed limit in a school zone or construction zone, your fines will automatically be doubled, you could receive civil penalties and you may be mandated to complete traffic school (without having your points dismissed). While you could appear in court on your own, this is not an option which is likely to garner you positive results. The likelihood that the judge will listen to any excuse you offer for going thirty miles over the posted speed limit is extremely slim. On the other hand, appearing before a judge with a skilled Florida traffic attorney by your side actually gives you a fighting chance to have your penalties minimized, or even have your ticket dismissed altogether. A knowledgeable Florida traffic attorney has a solid understanding of the rules and laws which apply to your case, knows how to question the police officer in order to determine if all procedures were properly followed, and can challenge statements made by the officer. A recent study showed that those who hire an attorney who specializes in traffic tickets have a 60% win rate for speeding ticket offenses, giving you a huge positive boost in how your charges will play out.
How Your Speed May Have Been Measured
There are a variety of ways the police officer may have measured your speed, including the following:
- Pacing is not a method that is used extensively across the country, however there are times a police officer will use the pacing method. When a police officer observes a suspected speeder, he must first “catch up” to the speeder, then maintain a specific distance between the two vehicles for a specific amount of time—at least for 2/10ths of a mile. Pacing can be less-than-accurate when hills, curves, traffic lights and stop signs are present, possibly allowing your attorney to prove the officer did not pace you for a sufficient length of time. If you were ticketed within 500 feet of starting up from a stop sign or stop light using the pacing method, the officer may not be able to adequately prove the distance rules were followed. Another issue with pacing is that the officer must be fairly close to your vehicle in order to obtain accurate results, yet many police officers prefer to pace from a fair distance back in order to avoid having you look in the rearview mirror, see the officer and slow down. Keeping a constant distance between the patrol car’s front bumper and your rear bumper requires training and good depth perception; if you happened to have seen the patrol car some distance back in your mirror, then saw it bear down on you quickly, then the officer’s assessment of your speed may not be accurate. If you were paced in heavy traffic, or at dusk or nighttime, then this poor pacing environment may leave the officer open for challenges by your attorney.
- Aircraft speed detection is used less frequently, and generally only in wide-open spaces. The aircraft officer may calculate your speed by timing how long it takes you to pass between two pre-measured highway markings, or may calculate your speed using a type of aircraft pacing method. For either method, both the ground patrol car which independently verifies your speed and the aircraft officer must show up to court. Your attorney may be able to show that the stopwatch timing from the aircraft was not properly performed—your speed was calculated by dividing distance by time, therefore the shorter the distance your speed was measured, the more likely an error occurred. Further, assuming your car was going 85 mph between the two fixed points: it can be difficult for the aircraft officer to stare continuously at your car from an airplane during that time. Aircraft speed control officers usually keep an observation log which records time, speed, vehicle color and type of vehicle; your attorney may request a copy of this log, in order to determine whether there are discrepancies such as short marker distances, long distance markers, hard-to-believe identical speeds for multiple vehicles or references to multiple vehicles (which raises identity issues).
- VASCAR (Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder) is a method of speed detection which is essentially an electronic stopwatch combined with a calculator. The VASCAR unit is much more dependent on human input than a radar or laser gun, increasing the likelihood of mistakes and errors. The police officer will measure the distance between two fixed points; when your car passes the first point, the officer will push a button to start the electronic stopwatch, then push it a second time when your vehicle passes the second point. VASCAR can be used as a stationary device, can be used connected to the police officer’s odometer as the officer follows you, can be used by an officer driving in the opposite direction or can be used when the officer is ahead of you, using his rearview or side-view mirrors. The officer is required to manipulate the time and distance switches consistently and correctly, all the while observing when your vehicle and the patrol car pass over the same two points—not a particularly easy task. Your attorney may be able to challenge whether the officer was able to accurately see when your car passed each point, the officer’s reaction times, and the accuracy of the police car’s odometer.
- Radar speed detection is a method most of us are at least somewhat familiar with, as it has been used since the early 1950’s. Radar is an acronym for “Radio Detection and Ranging,” and uses radio waves reflected off your car in order to determine your speed. When the radio waves bounce back from your vehicle, those waves are picked up and amplified by a receiver to be analyzed in a speed-readout device. The higher the frequency, the straighter the beam, meaning a more accurate speed readout. Radar guns require that your vehicle be in the officer’s line of sight, however certification and licensing are not a requirement for radar guns. Nevertheless, officers must have a certain amount of skill and practice associated with using a radar gun, and should the officer admit in court that he or she has had no formal instruction, your attorney may be able to use this to your advantage. Radar detectors put out a wide beam, meaning there is always the potential for the reading to actually be a car other than yours, particularly in heavy traffic. Wind, rain and storms can also result in false signals in a radar detector. In one radar trial, a hand-held radar gun was pointed at a windblown tree—the tree was clocked at 70 mph.
- Laser detectors are also used across the country; these devices look and act like a hand-held radar gun, however use a low-powered laser light which bounces off your vehicle, returning to a receiver in the laser gun or detector. Laser detectors use the speed of light and the time it takes the light to return to the laser gun; about forty distance measurements are taken over a third of a second, then the light’s round-trip distance is divided in order to obtain the speed of a vehicle. If the officer uses a hand-held device, he or she must hold it steadily on the same area of the car.
Consequences Other Than Statutory Penalties for Speeding Thirty Miles Over the Limit
Perhaps the most serious consequence you will fact for driving thirty miles over the posted speed limit—aside from statutory penalties—will be the huge increase you will see to your insurance premiums. In many cases, insurance companies will refuse to insure those who receive a speeding ticket of thirty miles over the speed limit, and since vehicle insurance is mandatory, you could be left unable to drive. This is yet another reason to have a qualified Florida traffic attorney by your side, protecting your rights from start to finish.
How You Can Help Your Florida Traffic Ticket Attorney
There are a number of ways you can help your Florida traffic ticket attorney prepare a winning case on your behalf. As soon as you receive your speeding ticket, note your exact location and try to determine how far it was between where you were stopped and where your alleged violation occurred. Make a note of basic weather conditions as well as the unit number of the police officer’s car, as well as his or her name and badge number if possible. If you have passengers with you, write down their names and addresses in case you require a witness during your court appearance. Make notes of everything the officer did and said during your traffic stop, as well as the level of traffic at the time of your stop. After you sign your citation, you can ask the officer to see the laser or radar readout. While the officer is not required to do so, he or she may allow you to see the readout if there is no danger of you being injured by a passing motorist as you head to the patrol car to look at the readout. Any detail you can provide your attorney can help build a winning case.
Possible Defenses for Your Florida Speeding Ticket
The defense your Florida traffic ticket attorney will depend on the circumstances of your stop, however the following may be considered:
- You simply weren’t going the speed the police officer claims
- You were driving over the speed limit, however road and weather conditions supported your speed (unlikely to work in a thirty-miles over the speed limit case)
- You had an emergency situation—will only work if true
- The radar detection unit picked up another vehicle, not yours
- Metal traffic signs, utility signs or nearby power stations interfered with the speed readout
- The radar or laser unit was not properly maintained
- The radar or laser unit was not properly used by the officer
- The officer was not properly trained or qualified to use the unit
How a The Law Place Attorney Can Help
The attorneys of The Law Place specialize in traffic ticket dismissals; if we are unable to obtain an outright dismissal, we will attempt to negotiate a continuance or arrange for some type of probation sentence in order to avoid having those four points placed on your driving record, or having your driver’s license revoked. Our attorneys bring their extensive knowledge of Florida traffic laws and the legal system, trial experience, and a familiarity with the judge and court personnel. The Law Place attorneys are always on your side, always looking out for your best interests and your future.