Are you a physicist? No? Then you probably can't fight a traffic ticket with physics. But Dmirti Krioukov, a physicist at the University of California, San Diego successfully managed to accomplish this task.
Krioukov was busted for failing to completely stop at a stop sign -- what we here in California know as the original California roll. Instead of paying up, he got busy. He wrote a 4-page paper explaining that what the officer thought he saw wasn't what he saw at all. According to the laws of physics, that is.
Confused? This is how Dmirti Krioukov explained it to NBC San Diego:
"Therefore my argument in the court went as follows: that what he saw would be easily confused by the angle of speed of this hypothetical object that failed to stop at the stop sign. And therefore, what he saw did not properly reflect reality, which was completely different."
Wired has a better, more comprehensible explanation for the curious amongst you.
Krioukov warns that not everyone can fight a traffic ticket with physics. It requires "the perfect combination of events," reports the station. However, you can still fight a traffic ticket with less scientific options. These include:
- Showing up. Prosecutors will often downgrade a ticket if you show up. You'll have to pay a fine, but it'll cost less.
- Ask to have the court date moved. This is sneaky, but with understaffed police departments, officers may not be able to testify. The court will ordinarily toss the ticket.
- Argue your case. Collect evidence and question the officer about the events. Was it really your car or one just like it? And didn't the weather and traffic conditions make it impossible for you to stop safely?
If all else fails, you can make a last-ditch attempt to fight your traffic ticket with physics. Dmirti Krioukov published his argument under the title The Proof of Innocence, reports Wired. The abstract reads, "A way to fight your traffic tickets. The paper was awarded a special prize of $400 that the author did not have to pay to the state of California."
- How to escape a $400 traffic ticket with the power of physics (Fox News)
- Deciding if Fighting Traffic Tickets Is a Good Idea (FindLaw)
- Top 3 Strategies to Fight a Traffic Ticket (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)