What to Say in Court for a Speeding Ticket

traffic offender
21st Feb,2024

People get a speeding ticket when they cross the speed limit. But many people choose to go to court instead of paying the money without a fight.
This might happen if you genuinely think you’re not guilty of speeding, think the traffic ticket isn’t fair, or want to avoid losing your license.

Knowing what to say for a speeding ticket can actually save you a lot of hassle. Nevertheless, if you’re unsure about how this works, you might end up in a lot of trouble.

Don’t worry because you’ve found this article just in time. I’ll explain in detail what to say and how to avoid getting into legal trouble.

What to Say in Court for a Speeding Ticket

Receiving a traffic ticket is a financial burden and can be extremely inconvenient if it involves the possibility of losing your driver’s license. 

But there’s a chance to avoid all this trouble by showing up to court and saying the right things the right way at the right time. 

Different states have unique traffic rules regarding waiving tickets, but following these steps can help you avoid paying your fine in most cases, especially in California.

Be Honest

Unless you’re 100% sure you didn’t cross the limit, you shouldn’t lie to the judge. Lying won’t help you avoid paying the fine and might result in a higher legal liability. But that’s not all. You’ll also have to pay court costs. 

Sounds depressing, right?

If you start to claim that you didn’t actually commit the offense of exceeding the speed, you’ll have to provide details to confirm your claim. This becomes increasingly difficult when you’re lying and making things up. Now you’re dealing with two issues: speeding and lying in court. 

As a result, we highly recommend that you stay as honest as possible. If you think you can’t avoid paying the speeding ticket, you can hire a traffic ticket attorney and they will help.

Be honest with your lawyer, and don’t worry about sharing confidential information. Remember that everything is protected according to the regulations that govern attorney-client relationships. 

If you tell the truth, you might end up avoiding paying for your traffic violation or at least having it reduced. 

Keep Calm

No, this isn’t the famous 2000s meme, but you should keep calm while talking to the traffic court judge. You don’t want to look and sound like an irresponsible person when you’re at the courthouse.

Stay cool and calm, as this will help you express why you think the traffic officer made a mistake by saying that you broke the law.

Don’t get too emotional because it will only make you look worse. By staying calm, you’ll be able to articulate yourself and might eventually be allowed to walk free without paying a single dollar after having your case dismissed. 

Plead Not Guilty

Remember why you went to the traffic court? You want to convince the judge that you didn’t deserve a ticket and, accordingly, won’t be asked to pay the fine and associated court costs. This is why you should always plead not guilty when you appear in court. 

If you admit that you’re guilty of whatever you’re accused of, that would be the end of it. You’ll have to pay the full fine for not stopping at the traffic stop sign or exceeding the speed. But that’s not the worst part; you’ll also get points on your license that bring you closer to losing it with repeated offenses. 

You can also learn more tips on fighting your ticket here: aside from learning what to say in court.

After you plead not guilty, you’ll probably have another court date set. This will be your court hearing when you’ll have the opportunity to explain your case and present your evidence.

A later hearing gives you time to get prepared, and it’s mostly set later on the same day. This might actually be better for you because, in this case, there won’t be a chance to bring a witness to testify against you.

Nevertheless, there’s a still slight chance that an officer will be present at your hearing. They might prove you’re guilty, so be ready to present your evidence if you want your ticket dismissed. 

Explain the Situation

It’s time to explain the situation that led to receiving the ticket. This is your only chance to dodge the fine and all the legal consequences that come with it. 

The more you get into the details of what happened and why you think you received a ticket you didn’t deserve, the more likely you’ll be able to walk a free person. The judge will take you seriously when you don’t get too emotional and can actually focus on the facts. 

Court judges are logical people who don’t benefit from making you suffer for no reason. A vague story with no actual base won’t help you save money. 

We don’t recommend that you act like you’re the victim of a conspiracy theory. Just focus on your story and tell the truth. 

Talk About the Weather

No, this isn’t a desperate small-talk attempt. You can actually avoid paying the fine by mentioning the weather on the day you received your ticket. 

If the weather was clear when the officer gave you the ticket, don’t forget to mention this act. We’re not saying this is an excuse for speeding, but it’s certainly not as bad as driving in bad weather. 

The judge knows that visibility is better in clear weather, so although you’ve been speeding, you could have stopped at the first sign of danger. 

You’ve Just Missed the Speed Limit

Legally speaking, nothing justifies going past a stop sign or exceeding the speed limit. However, traffic court judges know that people don’t drive with their eyes fixated on the meter. 

In most cases, people have their speeding tickets dismissed if they’ve missed the speed limit by a few miles per hour. If you’ve missed the speed limit by up to five miles per hour, you’ll probably have your ticket waived. 

Cops don’t want to give countless tickets to everyone who has crossed the limit by one mph. This way, they’ll spend most of their time in court, with people trying to avoid paying these fines. 

If this is the case, your case will be over in no time. People rarely have to pay for traffic tickets if they miss the speeding limit by a few miles per hour. You can see our speeding ticket calculator if you are not sure how much you should have been fined for going 5 over.

There Was No Traffic

If relevant, mention the traffic conditions at the time you were given the ticket. Speeding when there are no cars around you isn’t OK, but it proves you weren’t endangering any nearby cars or pedestrians. 

The main goal of issuing tickets is to protect people on the road. So, if you can establish that there was no danger, there’s a big chance that you can walk away without paying for your ticket. 

You Have a Clean Record

Is this your first traffic ticket? If this is the case, you should use this fact to your advantage. 

Most judges will be willing to waive a ticket for someone who has never committed an offense in the past. As a matter of fact, your clean driving record can be your best bet, as you prove that you’re not someone who breaks the law regularly. 

If this is your first ticket, you show that you always abide by the rules, and got the ticket because you made a mistake. Even if you got a ticket a long time ago, you can still prove that you didn’t cross the speeding limit out of habit. 

If you’re not sure that your driving record is pristine, you can see here how long a speeding ticket stays on your record.

There Were No Posted Limit Signs

This one takes a little bit of research on your behalf. If you recall exactly where you’ve been issued the traffic ticket, you can prove to the judge that no sign showed the speed limit at that time. 

In the US, there are several stretches of road with no speed limit signs. This means that you can claim that you exceeded the speed limit because you didn’t know what it was. 

While this might not always be a valid excuse, you can convince the judge that you honestly didn’t know the limit on the road. If you prove to be right, there’s a good chance you won’t pay your fine or end up with points on your license. 


Fighting to get your speeding ticket waived is your chance to avoid paying money and having your license jeopardized. This is why you should be prepared before the court date, ready to prove to the judge that you always abide by the law. 

Prepare what you’ll say beforehand, and make sure that you stay as honest as possible while listing all the necessary details. Take time to practice and remember that contrary to what you might think, the court system doesn’t benefit from making you pay for an offense you didn’t commit. 

Here are a few more articles that we wrote he help you fight speeding tickets.

William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of RatedRadarDetector.org. He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.