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How can a mistake of fact act as a ticket defense?

The Law Office of Mindy Paget Brill

Many people do not consider fighting a speeding ticket, thinking it is not worth the trouble. However, accumulating too many tickets can lead to the suspension of your driver’s license. There are valid defenses that could convince a judge to dismiss your ticket. For example, an honest mistake on your part may have contributed to your speeding.

According to FindLaw, some drivers make a “mistake of fact.” This means that they made a mistake about the situation that resulted in an officer citing them for a traffic offense.

Examples of mistakes of fact

There are many ways you can make mistakes on the road. You might drive in two lanes at once because the lane markers are old. They have worn away so much that you cannot see them. To take another example, you may turn in a prohibited direction because a recent storm tore away a traffic sign that would have alerted you not to turn.

The same principle applies to speeding tickets. You may have been driving on a road you are familiar with. The road has, up until now, always been set at 45 miles per hour. However, the road now has a 40 mile per hour sign. Since you did not have advanced notice of the change, you might not have expected it. As a result, you did not know to slow down.

Arguing against mistakes of fact

It is important to have your facts correct when arguing for a mistake of fact. The police may argue that the sign was there long enough for you to have seen it. Also, a judge might not accept your claim of an honest mistake if you were driving recklessly when the officer caught you.

Other forms of evidence may help bolster your case. You might take photographs of the scene where the police pulled you over. If an obstruction blocked a speed limit sign, you could photograph it to show the judge why you could not have known the proper speed limit. You may also bring witnesses that support your arguments.

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