As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

Fighting a speeding ticket

FlamingPineappleFlamingPineapple Registered User regular
edited August 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello all, I know this forum gets a fair amount of these types of questions, so if this type of thread is archived, you can delete and/or guide me that way.

Back in December I was stopped for going 55 in a 35 zone. I have severe doubts that I was going this fast (They were using VASCAR, it was between lights where I would rarely speed, it was approx. 2AM...drinking and driving time --but I was not), so I decided to fight the ticket because I was mad at the system, etc., etc. However, I had to file a continuance and now I am busy with work so I kind of want to just get this whole thing over with. Ideally, I just want to reduce or not get points on my license so I won't have to pay mucho bucks for insurance. I have a clean record-- I was stopped once in MD 2-3 years ago but it is no longer on my driving record (or so I think.) I paid that one off because I know I was speeding, and there was no way I was going back to MD for traffic court.

I have found a lot of websites that instruct you how to fight your ticket, but like I said, I feel like it all seems like a huge hassle. I am also bad at public speaking and have no attorney. I guess I am wondering what I should say at the hearing that will most likely reduce my chances of getting any points or less points (I think 20 over in PA is 4?). Getting a reduced fine would be nice, but it's not really my goal. I mean, can I really get away with saying "I have a good driving record and I would like to avoid points on my license"?

Basically, I just want help in what to say to the judge. I've pretty much given up on my luck that the officer won't show up. It's a small-ish town, they live for this stuff. Thanks for any advice.

(FYI-- the fine in all cost about 156 bucks)

FlamingPineapple on

Posts

  • Options
    SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I'm not entierly sure, but I think pleading guilty for a lesser fine/points is standard. One of my friends tried to fight a ticket on his own, and had his fine and points reduced in a sort of plea bargain with the judge. Basically, it's cheaper for the courts to let you off a little easier than to go through the process of a mini-trial.

    Do court approved attorneys cover this small stuff?

    Sarcastro on
  • Options
    VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Here, traffic court is you standing in front of the judge and the judge usually says "if you plead guilty or no contest right now, I can lower the fine to $XXX." But once you ask for a continuance, the amount they lower it is less and sometimes nothing at all. But if you go to trial and the officer who pulled you over doesn't show up then the case is dismissed. So you could gamble and just show up completely unprepared and still get away scot free, I wouldn't recomend it but its still possible.

    Veevee on
  • Options
    SpeakeasySpeakeasy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Sarcastro wrote: »
    I'm not entierly sure, but I think pleading guilty for a lesser fine/points is standard. One of my friends tried to fight a ticket on his own, and had his fine and points reduced in a sort of plea bargain with the judge. Basically, it's cheaper for the courts to let you off a little easier than to go through the process of a mini-trial.

    Do court approved attorneys cover this small stuff?

    Some of them do. At least the ones in Santa Barbara, CA.

    My advice would be to just be polite to the judge and hope for the best. I put off a ticket for about a year, and fines came up to be ~$900, all for a fix-it ticket. I went there, and after showing proof of insurance (which was the fix-it part), he knocked the fine down to $110 and it did not go on my record, because I was at least polite/thankful, unlike the room of idiots (my words, not his) that preceded me.

    Speakeasy on
    smokeco3.jpg
  • Options
    TubeTube Registered User admin
    edited August 2007
    The cop will show up. They get overtime for it.

    Tube on
  • Options
    madstork91madstork91 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    A cop one time gave me a ticket saying that I was doing 60 in a 45... oh and that I managed to do so and slow down to 45 all within ~ a 16th of a mile... So I went 0-60-45... all within ~a 16th of a mile.

    I was 17 and in my Vette. The cop was being an ass. The judge was in a bad mood and even with the No contest charged me almost the full fine.

    When I was in OK my freshman year of college a cop wrote me a ticket because my vette when "ert" as I made a right hand turn.

    The charge was "wreckless endangerment"

    Bottom line... because of my age and the Car I was driving... there was no way in hell I was going to get out of either.

    At least the second time around when the judge asked me what I did he laughed and only charged me a court fee. ($30)

    Bottom line... be nice, and dress nice (not like a punk kid) when you go to the court. It really more or less depends on the judge's opinion of you and his mood.

    madstork91 on
    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • Options
    MisanthropicMisanthropic Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Go to court, plead to a lesser charge, pay fine.

    Or, alternatively, you could go the distance and head to a trial. Something that has been getting people off a lot nowadays is requesting the source code of the radar equipment. It is currently a legal conundrum, where you can make the (valid) argument that you can't properly defend yourself without being able to see what the machine being used is actually doing. Without it, for all you know it is just a random number generator. However, the companies that provide these machines to police departments consider that source code protected under copyright, so then they have their lawyers try to protect it.

    So, what ends up happening in every single case I have read about is the case just ends up getting thrown out. The amount of legal proceedings required in order to get you a fair trial would be quite substantial and would set a precedent, something most judges don't want to do - these types of cases are usually handled by courts higher than 'traffic court.' And it really just isn't worth it to all parties involved (excluding yourself, presumably if you have taken it this far) - the amount of money, time and effort spent over what is really just a $200 fine or whatever would be ludicrous.

    But either way, your mileage may vary. This route may also require you to get a lawyer. Not to mention you will presumably have to get quite a few days off from work to appear in court.

    But if I was a rich prick with nothing but time and money to burn, I'd do this. It is a nice little way to stick it back to the illegal form of taxation that we now know as speeding tickets.

    All I'm saying is, sometimes you can have the American legal system work for you.

    Misanthropic on
  • Options
    CoJoeTheLawyerCoJoeTheLawyer Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Or, alternatively, you could go the distance and head to a trial. Something that has been getting people off a lot nowadays is requesting the source code of the radar equipment. It is currently a legal conundrum, where you can make the (valid) argument that you can't properly defend yourself without being able to see what the machine being used is actually doing. Without it, for all you know it is just a random number generator. However, the companies that provide these machines to police departments consider that source code protected under copyright, so then they have their lawyers try to protect it.

    Last time I checked, this doesn't work. There is case law that suggests that defendants are not entitled to the source code of the radar gun itself, just to the certification and maintenance records of the particular radar gun used in the issuance of the traffic citation, and access to it if they choose to hire an expert to examine it for accuracy. If you could point me to something that suggest otherwise, I would be interested.

    (To OP) What you should do all depends on what you want to get out of it.

    If you just want to reduce the fine/points on your license because of the ticket, then go before the magistrate, plead guilty, tell your side of the story, be respectful, and generally he'll reduce the fines and/or the points. There's no absolute guarantee that he'll do that (some magistrates are a pain in the ass to deal with) but most of the ones I've come into contact with are generally good human beings. One continuance should not be held against you, but requesting multiple continuances will only try the magistrate's patience. There is a slight (very slight) chance that the officer that gave you the ticket will not show up, but most states pay officers overtime to appear at hearings.

    If you want to fight the ticket on the grounds you feel you were not speeding, then plead not guilty before the magistrate. There will then be a hearing. The officer will have to give testimony, and you will have the opportunity to question him, including about his training, location, details about the ticket equipment, certification, etc. Then you will get to testify as to your side of the story. 99.99% of the time, the magistrate will find against you and you will have to appeal it to the higher court. In most places (this varies by state), a criminal court judge will have one morning a month set aside for small-time traffic court matters, with a District Attorney handling the matter for the state, and the Judge deciding the issue of guilt from the bench. The officer will have to appear for testimony again (this time the DA will be asking him questions), you will be given the opportunity to cross-examine him, you will have to give testimony, the DA will be allowed to cross-exam you, etc. The judge then makes a decision.

    The longer you fight, however, the more it will cost you in terms of paying for the appeals, and the more time you will have to miss from life to fight the ticket. Additionally, you could be face a higher fine plus court costs. My advice is, unless the points on your license will invalidate it or there is a serious mistake on the citation itself (like you weren't driving the vehicle at the time of the ticket), is to pay the fine at the magastrate level and be done with it.

    Websites that advertise to get you out of speeding tickets are bunk. They'll just re-hash what everyone who just told you, only they'll charge you $20 - $50 for the pleasure.

    CoJoeTheLawyer on

    CoJoe.png
  • Options
    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Around where I live, you can talk to the prosecuting attorney or whatever the term is for the person in that position for traffic court and ask to get the violation mitigated to a non-moving violation (usu. "parking on pavement") and he'll do it if it's your first offense and you take a defensive driving course. Like, he's got a form he xeroxes and hands to people when they ask; he does this so much. The fine will usually be the same amount but you won't get any points, so the insurance companies won't clip you for an extra couple grand.

    Or you could try to actually fight the ticket, which is harder and riskier except in certain circumstances. Example: if a cop pulls you over for speeding and he wasn't using any kind of radar gun or anything, just kind of guessing at it; you could get that thrown out on the first day, easily, as long as you weren't going 140 in a 35 or something similarly retarded. Just bring a quarter, drop it from an arm's height, and ask him how fast it was going when it hit the ground. Do the math yourself before going into the courtroom, of course, and remember that the acceleration of gravity is around 30 mph per second. I guarantee you he won't even be in the same ballpark.

    Daedalus on
  • Options
    fightinfilipinofightinfilipino Angry as Hell #BLMRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    some states have "good driver" statutes on the books where, if you haven't had a moving vehicle violation within a set number of years prior to the issuance of the ticket, the judge in your case will dismiss the ticket, and no points will be given to you. this usually requires that you obtain some documentation of your driving record showing that you have had no prior incidents. you should check your state's motor vehicle statutes and see if this is possible.

    fightinfilipino on
    ffNewSig.png
    steam | Dokkan: 868846562
Sign In or Register to comment.