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Speeding ticket defenses: Disputing an officer's presentation

Most Tennessee drivers will simply take a traffic ticket on the chin, pay the fine, pay the increased insurance premiums and accept the other negative effects of the citation. However, some motorists don't have this luxury, and they choose to fight the ticket in court.

Perhaps you already have too many points on your license and getting another ticket could cause you to lose your driving privileges. Or, maybe you can't afford the insurance rate increases that will come as a result of your ticket. Whatever the reason for fighting your traffic ticket, you may be able to dispute the police officer's presentation in court.

How to dispute the judgment of a police officer

In many cases, it's difficult to question the judgment of the officer who issued you a ticket. For example, if you made an illegal U-turn, ran a red light or failed to stop at a stop sign, the facts are clear cut and they're not really subject to interpretation -- especially if there are witnesses or video footage that backs up the officer's claims.

Moreover, if it boils down to a strictly he-said-she-said debate, traffic court judges tend to side with the officer. That said, a judge will accept additional evidence from the driver if he or she wishes to challenge the officer's judgment and recitation of the facts.

Here are a few types of evidence that can help a driver in this regard:

Passenger statements that refute what the officer said. Friends and family who were present in the vehicle as passengers are likely to support the driver's perspective: Their additional testimony under oath can be of great benefit to the driver's case.

Eyewitness statements from people who saw what happened. Third-party witnesses who do not know the driver can be valuable tools to refute the officer's perspective.

Create diagrams of what happened. Drivers may be able to draw a map of exactly what happened, where the vehicle was, why the officer thought what he or she thought and why that officer was wrong.

Photographs from the scene. Photographs can help illuminate the driver's perspective so that the court can understand why he or she is right and why the officer is wrong. Perhaps, for example, the photo reveals that a stop sign or speed limit sign was obscured by vegetation.

Don't give up until you've exhausted all means of defense

If you've received a serious traffic ticket or traffic citation, you may not have to accept a guilty verdict. Especially if you believe you are innocent, do not give up until you've exhausted all practical means of traffic ticket defense.

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Jack P. Sherman, Attorney at Law
200 Jefferson Ave.
Suite 700
Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: 901-646-4270
Phone: 901-233-3474
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