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Thread: So you got a speeding ticket....

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    So you got a speeding ticket....

    Traffic court's a lot like buying a car - because there's lots of haggling involved.

    Or should be - if you're smart.

    Most people either just send in the fine - or go to court and make no real attempt to bob and weave their way out of the ticket. Cattle do the same thing on their way to McDonalds, too.

    Even if you have a perfect driving driving record, each and every ticket is worth fighting with everything you've got. Reason? The presence of a single "moving violation" on your driving record - no matter how minor (or bogus) can end up costing you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars over the 3-5 year period it will be visible on your DMV rap sheet.

    Your insurance company is all about maximizing the revenue stream - just like the cop who gave you the ticket - and even though your piddling 66 mph in a 55 zone "speeding" ticket doesn't in any fair-minded way mean you're an unsafe driver, the insurance company will use it as a pretext for claiming that you are - and will jack your rates up accordingly. If they hit you with a 10 percent surcharge annually for the three years most DMVs will keep a moving violation "active" on your record, the dollars add up fast - and can end up being several times the cost of the actual fine itself. Perhaps more than the cost of hiring a good traffic attorney, even.

    And the real catch is what happens if, during that htree-year period when the first ticket is active, you have the bad luck to get pinched a second time. Now you have two moving violations on your record - and the "points" that go along with them. While some insurance companies will not mug you over a single moving violation, few leave you alone after number two.

    Which is why it's crucial to fight that first one - no matter how small it may seem.

    So, what can you do?

    Basically, your options come down to dealing with it yourself or hiring a traffic lawyer to do it do for you. The first option is obviously cheaper - and can work, too. But the second is more likely to succeed, simply because an experienced lawyer knows how the game is played.

    If you want to go it on your own, you can do the following:

    * Continuances -

    Many states allow any person charged with a moving violation an automatic "continuance" - which means you can get the court to change your original court date to a later date, often simply by asking that it do so. Why do this? Several possible reasons:

    One, let's say you got a ticket in fall and the original court date is in November. By getting a continuance that pushes the court date into the new year, you might avoid losing the "plus" point that some states give drivers for going a calendar year free of convictions for any moving violations.

    Two, you might throw a monkey wrench into the bureaucracy. Paperwork does get lost; the cop might not show to your second, "continued" court date. If either happens, the charge against you might get dropped entirely.

    Three, you have absolutely nothing to lose by doing this. It's free - and it's a way to game the system, just as the system is trying to game you.

    * Ask the judge - or the prosecuting/commonwealth's attorney - about the possibility of agreeing to attend driving school and/or pay a fine in return for dropping the charge against you -

    The critical thing is to avoid being convicted of a moving violation, for the reasons explained earlier. Many judges will "give you a break" (ha!) by allowing you to plead guilty to something like "defective equipment" or some other non-moving violation, pay a beefy fine or waste a Saturday at the DMV "driving school" - where you'll spend eight hours listening to (and pretending to agree with) claptrap about the perfect virtue of all speed limits, etc.

    Any of these options is preferable to being convicted for the original moving violation because your insurance company won't have a pretext for a rate hike. In some counties/states, certain charges aren't reported to the DMV at all - especially if it's an out-of-state ticket. Mostly, these include non-moving violations such as "defective equipment" - a common "lesser charge" that's often assigned in lieu of the original moving violation.

    Even the beefy fine's not so bad - because it's a one-time hit vs. the ongoing screwing you'll get for having even one moving violation on your driving record.

    In some states, it's even possible to take the DMV-authorized "driving school" online - which lets you avoid the hassle of spending an entire Saturday re-living high school detention. See http://www.trafficschoolonline.com for more information.)

    * Hire a traffic lawyer -

    The cost to rent a legal eagle to handle a minor traffic case (normal speeding, not "reckless driving," DUI or a major charge that has a mandatory court appearance and the possibility you might get thrown in the clink) is typically between $300 and $700. Again this is money well-spent, especially if you get another ticket at some point during the next three years.

    It's pretty easy to find a traffic lawyer in most areas; just Google the county/state in which your case will be tried and add the keywords "ticket" and "lawyer." Look for one who has been doing this for awhile and who regularly appears in the court where you'll be appearing. The best defense lawyers are former prosectors. Interview your prospect, ask him how he will handle your case - and what his success rate is in getting charges like yours reduced or dropped.

    A good traffic lawyer is worth every penny - even if it doesn't seem like it right now.

    END

  2. #2
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    Re: So you got a speeding ticket....

    Great article.

    That's the advice I give many a member who calls about a speeding ticket.

    I would also add that many data bases keep your violations on file even if they resulted in something other than a conviction. Your best objective should be to get a dismissal.

    I had first hand experience when changing car insurance companies about 8 years ago from USAA toProgressive to Allstate. I got my agent to show me all the screens.




  3. #3
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Re: So you got a speeding ticket....



    Indiana has a program called "infraction deferral". If you haven't have a ticket in the last 2 years, you don't have a CDL and don't get another ticket in 6 months, you pay an extra fee and then after 6 months, the ticket goes away. HOWEVER, if you DO get another ticket in the 6 month period, not only does that one go on your record but the first one does too.
    Honk if you love Jesus.

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  4. #4
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    Re: So you got a speeding ticket....

    In the Carolinas, that's called a PJC -- Prayer for Judgement Continuance. If the judge grants it, the first ticket is held in reserve in case you get another one later, upon which both take effect.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  5. #5
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    Re: So you got a speeding ticket....

    In Florida, its a patchwork, county by county quilt on whether you get what is known as a "adjudication witheld." The AW is part of your record, however it does not go towards your drivers license points. State law prevents insurance companies from using that information against you in setting rates. The disadvantage of the AW plea is that if you get popped again in a short period (say a year), it is entirely up to the cop or the judge on whether you get another.

    The good news here is that on the interstates, you are pretty much safe to 80 mph in a 70 and 78 in a 65.

    On secondary roads, you are at the mercy of the hick judge and the hick county cops.

    The good news is that 4 lane rurals are posted at 65 and two lane rurals can have a 60 mph limit. The same speed rules apply. You are probably save to about 69 in a 60.

    I would say that Florida has moderate to moderate-light enforcement compared with heavy enforcement states like Georgia, South Carolina, and VA (which is a Nazi pig state).

    North Carolina had a moderate to moderate heavy enforcement profile while Alabama, I suspect has gone from light to moderately heavy in the last 8 years or so since I lived there.


  6. #6
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    Re: So you got a speeding ticket....

    This article has been posted on the main site:




    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...3&Itemid=10923

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