Formerly a traffic court judge in New York City, Attorney Martin Kron now helps speed limit violators get their day in court as a defense lawyer specializing in traffic cases.
Q: What is the most ridiculous excuse you've ever heard?
A: The defendant told the judge he was carrying fine china in his vehicle and that had he been speeding, the china would have broken.
Q: What's a common mistake accused drivers make when they go to court?
A: They are unprepared. They don't bring relevant evidence or witnesses to court. If there was a true emergency, bring documents to support it, such as hospital records.
Q: Will a judge take into account if you appear to be an upstanding member of the community? For example if you active in your church or a charity, or if you're a student with excellent grades?
A: Generally not. The issue is whether the defendant was speeding. The factors you mentioned may be considered by the judge in determining the fine or license suspension.
Q: What's the most common excuse you've heard?
A: "My speedometer was broken." This is not a defense to speeding. A driver is responsible to have a working speedometer.
Q: When pulled over by the police, what should or shouldn't a driver say?
A: Don't admit to speeding. Unless you are 100% certain, don't respond if the officer asks you, "Do you know what the speed limit is?" If there is a legitimate justification, be sure to tell the officer. You should tell the officer if another driver is threatening you, if you are sick or if you are taking a passenger to the hospital.
Q: What's your best piece of advice to save people from speeding tickets?
A: Expect a speed trap on an open road or upon entering a small town immediately after the speed limit has gone down. Also, states have laws regulating speed limits in unposted zones. Hence, you can be charged with speeding where there are no speed signs present.
You can be charged with speeding without going over the limit! States have laws concerning "speed not reasonable and prudent." Therefore, the officer can write you an unreasonable speed summons for driving 40 mph in a 50 mph zone during an ice storm.
Q: How often do the officers who wrote the ticket fail to appear in court?
A: My estimate is 15%. However, the judge has the right to adjourn the case if the officer's absence is legitimate or if the speed charged is excessive.
What's the craziest story that you've ever heard about a driver who's been pulled over?
A: An officer stopped a car at the foot of the Whitestone Bridge in New York. Before the officer approached the driver, the driver threw an object into the river. The cop asked the driver to identify the object he tossed. The motorist told him that it was a radar detector that obviously didn't work. The officer responded that he hadn't used radar; he'd clocked the driver's speed by pacing behind him.