SPEEDING – “Do you know how fast you were going?”


Police commonly ask this question to obtain an admission.  The fact of the matter is that no-one actually knows the exact speed of the car -- speedometers and radar guns alike have margins of error.  Of course once you admit to going a certain speed, that is a legal admission that can be used as proof that you were actually going a certain speed.

Over the years, the driving population became quite savvy to this not-so-nice little trick.  Driver's would commonly answer this question with a curt "No."

The latest twist in this rather childish and 1984-esque battle of words involves Police using the drivers answer that he does not know how fast he was going to add another charge in addition to speeding: careless driving.  It does, in a way, make sense, the driver was not only speeding, but didn't even know how fast he was going.

Our advice is to answer the question, but not admit a number.  

One commentator has suggested that "Somehow, I have a feeling that you are about to tell me," delivered with a sheepish grin might break the ice and end the "battle of words."

From a straight legal perspective, our advice is to say, "Yes."  This will usually be followed up a more direct attempt to obtain an admission, something along the lines of "How fast were you going?"  A direct answer might be called for at this point - you could try the above idea, or simply inform that officer that you aren't answering.  

"With respect Officer, I'm not answering that."  is a perfectly reasonable response to the police trying to get you to hang yourself with an admission.   You know it, and they know it too.

--JMF Traffic.

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