Getting a speeding ticket can be annoying, but what is really surprising is that it is considered a criminal offense. You might not think that, given that when something has a light punishment, the punishment is often compared to getting a traffic ticket. Run-of-the-mill speeding isn't treated that severely—you often have a choice of traffic school instead of making a payment—but if you decide to fight the ticket in court, you need to be aware of some issues.

Yes, It Is

Yes, speeding is a criminal offense, and you're not going to be able to defend yourself by saying it was just speeding and nothing big. You did break the law (assuming you really were speeding), and you'll have to work from that vantage point as you try to get the ticket dismissed. You can look at defenses like proving you were going the same speed as everyone else or that you had an emergency to deal with, but the court might not accept those. If you're planning to challenge the ticket, you really need to consult with a criminal law attorney who has handled traffic cases before. You want to be sure your defense is something that will be taken seriously.

Absolute vs. Presumed

One potential defense that you can ask the lawyer about is the presumed speed limit. The signs you see on the road are absolute speed limits; go faster than those, and you're a potential ticket case right there. But if the conditions on the roadway are such that you are able to drive at the faster speed safely, then you may be able to argue that you were following the presumed speed limit. You'd need to spell out the exact conditions in which you were driving, though, and a lawyer can help you determine what to include.

When Obeying the Limit Is Breaking the Law

Keep in mind that the speed limit is not the only law regarding how fast you go. Even if you go the speed limit, you can still wind up with a ticket. For example, if you drive in the left lane doing the speed limit, but everyone else on the road tends to go several miles per hour faster than that, you could be violating laws that prohibit blocking traffic. Note that this is not a case where you were in the slow lane, but the fast lane. So you might argue you were doing the speed limit, while the police officer argues that you were blocking traffic and not following the presumed speed limit.

You'll really need to talk to a lawyer about how to present your defense, and you may even benefit from having the lawyer accompany you to court. Fighting a speeding ticket isn't the easiest job, and having a lawyer with you can make your case more solid.