Getting pulled over for speeding is a frustrating experience, but it can be even more frustrating when it seems like the ticket is based more on the officer’s opinion than hard facts.
It’s illegal in North Carolina to drive “at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions,” however – but that’s a fairly vague standard that can be open to interpretation.
What exactly does this standard mean?
Every road has its absolute speed limits, such as whatever is posted – but drivers constantly have to make judgment calls about the road, traffic and weather that affect how fast they’re comfortable going.
For example, if there’s freezing rain and ice on the roads, most drivers know that they need to be particularly cautious and slow down. The same goes when traffic is congested, it’s storming, snowing, foggy or there’s a disabled vehicle in the road.
Here’s the thing, though: Your judgment and the judgment of the officer who decides to ticket you can vary greatly, and having a badge doesn’t necessarily make the officer right. You can contest these tickets by arguing that the weather wasn’t as extreme as the officer made it out to be. For example, even if snow was falling, the roads may have been perfectly clear. Or, just because there was a lot of traffic, you were still careful to keep an appropriate distance between your vehicle and other vehicles.
Just paying a ticket leaves you with points on your license that can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars in increased insurance fees – and leave you vulnerable to the loss of your license if you make other traffic errors. If you think a ticket is unfair, it’s time to fight back.