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Is “Lack of Visibility” a Defense to a Traffic Ticket in New York?

driving in fog

Roads aren’t always well cared for, with branches or other debris obscuring important road signs, including speed limit signs. If you can’t see the speed limit sign, can you still receive a speeding ticket? When given a ticket, a lot of people try to use this defense, often referred to as “lack of visibility.” The good news is that this defense could help you avoid paying your ticket fees. The bad news is that it can be difficult due to two existing state laws.

Default speed limits

In the state of New York, all roads and highways have default speed limits unless they are posted otherwise. This means that if someone can’t find a speed limit sign or are unable to read it, these are speeds that they should default to. Therefore, if you receive a speeding ticket and claim that it’s because you couldn’t see the speed limit sign, you can still be expected to know what the default speed was. 

However, if you couldn’t see a speed limit sign and therefore followed the default speed limit, but the posted speed limit was lower, you may be able to get out of your ticket. 

New York’s default speed limits are the following:

  • Within city limits: 30-45 mph
  • Highways outside cities: 55 mph
  • Interstates: 55-65 mph

Posting requirements

At a state level, there are no requirements that foliage around speed limit signs be maintained. However, individual cities and counties may have requirements for such. Therefore, this may help you in jurisdictions in which these requirements exist. 

Lack of Visibility Defense

If you believe that you were driving safely and following the law to the best of your ability, you may have a chance of defending against a speeding ticket. There are a couple of things you’ll want to do to improve your odds of being successful.  

Take Pictures and Video

You’ll want to take pictures and video of the obstructed sign and where you were driving. Since the obstruction can easily be remedied or may change, it’s important that you take pictures and video as soon as possible to accurately reflect what occurred.

Hire a Traffic Ticket Attorney

Once you have photo and video evidence, you should consult with a qualified traffic ticket attorney. Since it can be really difficult to win your case, you’ll want someone who has experience with your situation and knows how best to prove you were not responsible. He or she can pull the local ordinance proving that maintaining the foliage around the sign was required. Additionally, a qualified attorney will know the best way to communicate with the judge. Hiring an attorney generally gives your case more credibility. 

AutoTrafficTickets.com Helps Those in New York Who Have Been Issued a Traffic Ticket

If you have received a traffic ticket in New York, it can have very serious consequences on your life and your livelihood. That’s why it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced New York traffic ticket attorney. A knowledgeable and experienced traffic ticket attorney understands the pertinent laws and can help you to establish the best argument. AutoTrafficTickets.com can help. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Traffic Tickets