If you recently got a ticket for speeding due to a passenger's life-threatening medical emergency and you are worried about points on your license, you may be able to fight the ticket in court. Too many points on your license could result in the loss of your driving privileges, a requirement to take driving classes and/or to retake your driving test, and an increase in your automobile insurance premiums.
Most people rely on their ability to drive, but for those who have family members with severe medical conditions, a driver's license is a necessity. Here's what you need to know if you are at risk of losing your driving privileges due to speeding to get a loved one to the hospital.
Do not pay the ticket
If you are considering fighting the ticket in court, do not pay the ticket. Paying the ticket means you are pleading guilty to the traffic violation. However, you do want to send in the stub portion of the ticket after checking the box that says you are pleading not guilty. Failure to send either a guilty plea with payment for the fine or a not guilty plea with no payment will result in a bench warrant for your arrest. When the court receives your not guilty plea, they will schedule a court hearing for you to attend and send you a notice of the court date in the mail.
Make sure the state has your correct mailing address
Be absolutely certain the state that issued you your driver's license has the correct mailing address for you. To do this, find your state's Department of Motor Vehicles website and enter your information into the eServices log-in page. Locate your personal identification information and check it to be sure it is correct. If they do not have your correct current mailing address, update it as soon as possible. If you don't, you could risk not receiving the court date information, which could cause you to miss the court date altogether. This would result in a bench warrant for your arrest, which means you could be put in jail.
Hire a lawyer to represent you in court
To fight a ticket for excessive speeding due to a medical emergency, it's in your best interest to hire a traffic lawyer like Walsh Fewkes Sterba. Most lawyers provide initial consultations for a minimal fee or for no fee at all. Therefore, consult with several traffic lawyers in your area to find one that you feel comfortable with hiring to represent you. When you schedule the initial consultations with the lawyers, have a pen and paper ready to jot down some notes regarding what you should take with you to the meetings with the lawyers and any other information the legal receptionist may have for you or ask of you.
Gather medical documents that support the emergency situation
It's not enough to go into court with just a verbal explanation as to why you were speeding. You will need to have tangible proof of the medical emergency, such as medical records and a physician's letter. The key to using a medical emergency as a defense in traffic court is to show proof that you had no choice but to speed in an attempt to get your passenger to the nearest emergency room due to a them being in serious immediate and life-threatening danger, such as a sudden heart attack, the onset of anaphylactic shock, or going into labor. Judges can take these types of situations into consideration during court. Depending on the laws of your state and your situation, the violation may be thrown out and/or the points may be dismissed.