Can I appeal a traffic court decision?

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Question:

I have recently contested a speeding ticket and was found guilty. Here's what happened: I was pulling out of a gas station in the median of the Florida Turnpike, when a state trooper pulled in front of me and wrote me a ticket. I did not examine the ticket closely until I arrived to my destination and that's when I learned the ticket was for 100 mph. I sent an affidavit of defense to the court because I'm a student and couldn't get out of school to go there myself. The key point I made on the affidavit is that the officer could not be sure that he pulled over the right car otherwise he would have followed me into the gas station and that he must have lost sight of the car that was actually speeding.

My questions are: Did I have a good point? Was it a bad idea to send the affidavit instead of going in person? Is it possible for me to appeal this to other judges or a higher court? One additional point: I have several previous speeding tickets on my driving record.

Answer:

It is often a good argument that a police officer lost sight of you and might have stopped a similar-looking car that was speeding. Of course, if you were driving a particularly unique-looking car, that argument would be a little hard to make.

But an argument is just an argument that a judge must consider along with all the other evidence in the case. In your case, your extensive history with the state police on speeding matters probably influenced the judge more than your "he stopped the wrong guy" argument.

In Florida, you have the right to appeal your case to the Circuit Court, but only to argue that the judge might have misapplied the law. You cannot reargue the facts of your case. So this time, you are probably stuck in traffic school.

If you're stopped in the future, there are other ways to attack the ticket. For example, if you ask what method was used to nab you -- radar, laser, VASCAR --  you can attempt to cast doubt on the validity of that method in court. 

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