Motorist Represents Himself and Loses Speeding Ticket Appeal

In the case of Police Department of Groveland v. William J. Gallant, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the finding of two lower courts that Mr. Gallant should have been found responsible for speeding, even where the police radar unit was not properly calibrated. Gallant lost the case because he failed to properly object to the admissibility of the speed readings. He was legally required to put the court on notice by filing a motion in limine, motion to strike the police officer’s testimony, or motion to strike the officer’s testimony of the radar readings. If he had done this, the radar evidence would have been excluded and he would likely have been found “not responsible.”

This case demonstrates the benefits of hiring skilled legal counsel to handle speeding tickets, especially in cases where a responsible finding may result in a license suspension for 7 surchargable events, habitual traffic offender, or for accumulating 3 speeding tickets in a year. It may also make sense to hire counsel to avoid the expensive insurance surcharge associated with a responsible finding.
In the case of Commonwealth v. Whynaught, 377 Mass. 14, 20-21 (1979), the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court ruled “”that, in any speeding case tried after the date of this opinion, where radar readings from untested equipment are admitted over objection and without independent corroborative evidence, we shall undoubtedly reverse any judgment of guilt and order that a judgment of not guilty be entered.” A Massachusetts Traffic Violation Lawyer would have been aware of this and he or she could have prevented the responsible finding that entered. Mr. Gallant’s case shows that, in most cases, you cannot try it yourself, lose, and then try to hire a lawyer to fix the situation.