What’s in a name? When it comes to speeding tickets, you may get a better shake if you share the name of the ticketing officer. A recent study out of Harvard Medical School looked at roughly four million speeding tickets to uncover potential bias, asking specifically “could something as trivial as having the same first name as the ticketing officer affect a driver’s likelihood of not getting a costly ticket?” The answer is yes.
If you are pulled over for exceeding the speed limit, officers have discretion when noting the speed traveled over the limit when issuing a ticket. Research reveals that something as random as having the same first name as the officer can result in a mercy ticket or one that cites a driver for operating at a lower speed than they were actually traveling and a more lenient fine.
The study also suggests that having the same name also counteracts racial biases. When pulling over a driver of a different race with the same name, negative racial bias disappears. The connection an officer feels with a driver of the same name also appears to overcome bias held toward minority drivers in general, who might otherwise experience disparate treatment.
Unfortunately, the study serves as a reminder of how law enforcement decisions can be highly subjective when something as small as sharing the same name can tilt the outcome of a ticket. The study concludes that ‘justice is anything but blind’ and it follows that if the stakes are higher than a one-time speeding ticket, it is important to seek help.
If you or a family member has been charged with any traffic violation in Waukesha county or any crime, contact the Waukesha county criminal defense and traffic violation Law Offices of Andrew C. Ladd for assistance at 262-542-3900. The attorneys of Andrew C. Ladd, LLC, have more than 50 years of combined legal experience. We provide our clients with a strategic and aggressive criminal defense against a wide range of charges, including traffic violations and drunk driving. Contact our offices for a free consultation today.