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Thread: Looking for advice

  1. #1
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Looking for advice

    I am going into court on Tuesday morning for a speeding ticket.

    Facts:


    • Was going 49 in a 35 on huge downhill grade
    • Hill is less than 1/8 mile
    • Cop was sitting at the bottom (50 feet from where speed goes to 45)
    • A-typical entrapment
    • I have the option of postponing my court date
    • Cop has not been there since
    • I have a perfect driving record of the past 5 years
    • Cop was a effen A-hole and there was no talking my way out
    • He asked me what I did for a living, as if that would have an impact on the ticket

    Questions:


    • Should I postpone it?
    • How should I organize my argument?
    • Anybody have any other suggestions?

    Thanks

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  2. #2
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    Get a lawyer.

  3. #3
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    How much do ya'll reckon a lawyer would cost for a situation like this.

    I know the ticket isn't but $110, but I really don't want to deal with that on my license, or the aftermath of my insurance being screwed.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  4. #4
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    On your court date, meet with the DA or Magistrate (they usually set up a table outside the courtroom) and see if you can get the ticket dismissed or reduced. Explain all of the above (leaving out the part about the cop being a jerk -- not relevant to the case).

    The idea is to get the speed reduced to where the insurance company is not involved, or minimally involved. $112 for the ticket (plus court costs, which will probably take it up to the $300 range) versus paying the insurance company $500 extra each year for the next three years?? Easy answer.

    Points on the license don't matter unless you regularly get tickets, which it sounds like you don't.

    One other tip - the DA is used to dealing with scumbags every day -- so dress nicely, speak nicely, and they may let you off because you're obviously not one of their repeat customers.

    Chip H.

  5. #5
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Cool.. So you think there may be a table out front of the court room. And if there isn't, how should I represent myself to the judge? Same deal?

    Yeah, the money on the insurance per year is what I am trying to avoid.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  6. #6
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    The lawyer will cost more than the ticket, and less than the first year's insurance increment.

  7. #7
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Cool.. Thank you both for the information.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Hey Dom,

    In my experience (and I have plenty - believe me!) given the facts as you've relayed them, the following options are available:

    * Ask the judge if you can agree to go to the day-long DMV "driving school" in exchange for him dropping the ticket. In VA, this is almost always granted as a matter of course for a minor ticket where the defendant has a clean record. It sucks ass to waste a day at the idiot "school" - but you will avoid any DMV points/record of a moving violation on your rap sheet. Remember, all they want is your money. This is, however, the cheapest option. The school cost is around $100 - which is what you pay in lieu of the fine for speeding.

    * Hire a traffic attorney to contest the ticket. Whether he can beat it depends hugely on the judge, as much as the actual facts of the case. Some judges are as bad as cops, frankly - and are out to fuck you hard if you try to fight the system. Also, a decent lawyer is going to cost you probably $750-$1,000 or more. This is a lot of dough to spend on a 50-50 shot at beating the ticket. Remember, if you lose, you not only get the "points" and record of the moving violation, you also pay a fine and costs - plus the lawyer fees.


    I would go with the first option. It's a virtual sure thing, I promise - and much less expensive.
    Last edited by Eric; 02-23-2009 at 07:46 AM.

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Cool.. So you think there may be a table out front of the court room. And if there isn't, how should I represent myself to the judge? Same deal?

    Yeah, the money on the insurance per year is what I am trying to avoid.

    In VA traffic court, it is usually not possible for the defendant to approach the Commonwealth's Attorney. They will almost never speak with anyone other than a lawyer. What will happen is you'll get called before the judge (along with the cop, who is the witness against you) and the judge will first ask you to plead guilty or not guilty. At this point, I recommend you follow my earlier advice and plead "guilty with explanation" and proceed to explain to the judge - politely - the facts of the case (by which he will know it was a complete BS charge, even though he won't say that) and also (very important!) that you have a perfect record and want to avoid a conviction for a moving violation - and can you attend DMV traffic school in exchange for having the ticket dropped?

    As I mentioned, this is almost a pro forma deal in VA. In other words, it's a virtual given the judge will agree to drop the charge in exchange for your attending the driving school, which takes up an entire Saturday, by the way. Eight long hours of listening to absolute bullshit and watching ludicrous "safety" movies. Etc. But it's time well-spent since the ticket goes away forever.

    One caveat: VA has changed the law a bit and there's a catch to this deal. The judge may tell you that dropping the charge is conditional on attending the school and not getting another ticket during the next 6 months. If you do have the bad luck to get pinched again, the first ticket then goes back on your record.

    PS: No need for a suit and tie; so long as you look clean and are respectfully attired. Slacks and a nice shirt/sweater are perfectly acceptable. The idea is to convey to the judge that you are a "mature and solid citizen." It's a stupid game, I know - but that's the lay of the land...
    Last edited by Eric; 02-23-2009 at 07:45 AM.

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    One other thing:

    I can't overemphasize the importance of getting and using (every time you drive) a high-end radar detector. I recommend the Valentine V1. (See: http://www.valentine1.com/) Yes, they are illegal in Va. So what. Fuck the law. You are not likely to get caught with one provided you use it discreetly. I do the following with mine: Rather than use the suction cup/rearview mirror mounting system that comes with the unit (and which makes it much more visible to a passing cop) I bought some Velcro. This allows me to stick the unit on the dash, where it's less visible (blends in with dashboard and no hanging cord showing) and I can very quickly snatch if off and stash it, if a cop is rolling at me the other way, etc.

    You might also use camouflage - for example, a hollowed out box of tissues.


    The point is, you've gotta take some defensive, pre-emptive measures. In today's environment, most people are technically guilty of "speeding" every time they drive and at constant risk of getting a ticket. Cops are becoming ever more aggressive, especially as local and state governments get desperate and need more money. (Insurance companies are also looking for any and every pretext to jack up your rates.)

    A V1 costs $400, which may seem steep. But if it saves you from even one major speeding ticket, it has just paid for itself in terms of fines, insurance surcharges and/or lawyer fees. Plus, you get the satisfaction of beating the god-damned system, which is priceless!

  11. #11
    DonTom
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    "He asked me what I did for a living, as if that would have an impact on the ticket"

    If you worked for law enforcement, it most likely would have an impact.

    -Don-

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    "He asked me what I did for a living, as if that would have an impact on the ticket"

    If you worked for law enforcement, it most likely would have an impact.

    -Don-
    I used to think it was worthwhile to try to engage the cop in conversation on a civil, human level - on the theory that he might be reasonable, on the assumption that he wasn't looking to hassle people but rather trying to sort the genuine problem drivers from people who really did nothing wrong but just happened to run afoul of some legal technicality.

    While this may still be true when dealing with an older cop, the younger ones (in my experience) are uniformly rule-spouting robotic dickheads whose sole purpose is to write up as many tickets as possible.

    Therefore, it serves no purpose (and may do you some harm) to engage in any conversation whatsoever with the cop beyond the absolute minimum required by the law. Your are not obligated to chit chat; you do not have to tell him what you do for a living, where you are headed, etc. He is just fishing for info. Fuck him. You simply give the bastard your license and registration, and respond noncommittally to everything he asks. "I'd rather not discuss it" is perfect. Remember, he is not your buddy; he's a a sack of shit looking to entrap you. He will make note of every thing you say that can be then used in court to convict you.

    Silence - or as close as possible to it - is golden.

  13. #13
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Eric,

    thanks for all the insight. Should I bring up in court the fact that dick-head was 50 feet from the end of 35 zone and sitting at the bottom of a effen hill like an azzhole?

    What exactly do you think I should say?

    I don't want to go overboard, ya know!

    Really, I think I will just have the read the judge to determine what I will say.

    P.S. Just talked to lawyer too. $500 bills if I go that route.

    I am going to test my own luck.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Eric,

    thanks for all the insight. Should I bring up in court the fact that dick-head was 50 feet from the end of 35 zone and sitting at the bottom of a effen hill like an azzhole?

    What exactly do you think I should say?

    I don't want to go overboard, ya know!

    Really, I think I will just have the read the judge to determine what I will say.

    P.S. Just talked to lawyer too. $500 bills if I go that route.

    I am going to test my own luck.
    Remember that if you request a continuance, you should have some sort of written record of the request.

    I would try and get one if you are going to go that route.

    My rule of thumb is that if the lawyer is less than 300 bucks, go that route.
    Otherwise, its worth trying your luck.

  15. #15
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Eric,

    thanks for all the insight. Should I bring up in court the fact that dick-head was 50 feet from the end of 35 zone and sitting at the bottom of a effen hill like an azzhole?

    What exactly do you think I should say?

    I don't want to go overboard, ya know!

    Really, I think I will just have the read the judge to determine what I will say.

    P.S. Just talked to lawyer too. $500 bills if I go that route.

    I am going to test my own luck.
    Hm, I would play it carefully if it was over here. You were doing 49 in a 35 - your mitigation could be that the road was clear and, inadvisedly you just let the car run down the steep grade as you were approaching a higher speed limit area. The chances are 'Your Honour' might point out that you were exceeding the speed limit posted for the stretch you were approaching. If it were me I would plead guilty with mitigating circumstances, say I just let the car run downhill and would have adjusted the speed at the bottom as necessary.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  16. #16
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Eric,

    thanks for all the insight. Should I bring up in court the fact that dick-head was 50 feet from the end of 35 zone and sitting at the bottom of a effen hill like an azzhole?

    What exactly do you think I should say?

    I don't want to go overboard, ya know!

    Really, I think I will just have the read the judge to determine what I will say.

    P.S. Just talked to lawyer too. $500 bills if I go that route.

    I am going to test my own luck.
    Based on having "been there/done this" many,many times - and in full realization of the fact that the cop is a dick - I think you have two main possible ways to go.

    First is to plead not guilty - and hope the judge more or less is going to side with you. Be aware, however, that most of the time it's the letter of the law that matters, regardless of how unfair/stupid/outrageous it may be. Yes, you were going downhill and the cop was waiting at a point just before the limit changed. Yes, the limit is absurdly low to begin with - and everyone's going faster. And it is perfectly safe. Etc. Etc.

    Still, if the law says 35 mph and he has you on radar at 40-something, you're busted - as a matter of law. Your only legal basis for challenging this is stuff like whether the radar detector was accurate, whether the cop was using it correctly - and also (if you wanted to try it) whether the speed limit itself conforms to VDOT/state law, etc. A big PITAS to do this (I have).

    Unfortunately, it's not likely you will have much luck. The system is set up to find you guilty - and get your money. So, we get to option two:

    Plead guilty - with explanation. Then, politely, in an even voice, without directly implying the cop was an asshole, you relate all the facts about the event and specifically, that you were on a downhill grade just before a point where the limit changes, etc. Tell the judge you didn't mean to violate the law (I know, gag me) but that you are a careful driver with a clean record and would very much like to avoid a conviction for a moving violation and DMV points. Ask if you can attend driving school in return for having the judge drop the conviction (or have it reduced to a non-moving violation, such as "defective equipment" that won't affect your driving record or insurance).

    I'd give this a better than 90 percent chance of success. Good luck... and keep us posted!
    Last edited by Eric; 02-23-2009 at 02:45 PM.

  17. #17
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Very useful information everyone. I am going to use it an beat this effen ticket.

    P.S. Talked to a lawyer for the hell of it this morning. 500 bills and a 50:50 shot plus court cost is not a path I am willing to take.

    Court Date: Feb. 25, at 10am.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  18. #18
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    Dom,

    Lawyers tend to be ultra cautious. If one says there's a 50/50 chance of beating it, it's probably greater.

    I would personally fight the ticket with a lawyer.

    But if you decide to fight it without a lawyer here's one book that I read that had some excellent advice on how to beat speeding tickets in court with no lawyer, the author has beaten tickets for years, you can find it at most book stores and at Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Beat-Cops-Figh...MVMCA20S4HSZ5Y



    .....

  19. #19
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Thanks for book link Pete, but I have court on Wednesday morning. LOL.. I waited till the last minute to think about this. I could get it pushed back though. I talked to the court house a couple weeks ago about it. They said all I have to do is send a fax saying why I can't make it and they will contact me back with my next court date.

    This is for first time offenders only, which I am.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  20. #20
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Thanks for book link Pete, but I have court on Wednesday morning. LOL.. I waited till the last minute to think about this. I could get it pushed back though. I talked to the court house a couple weeks ago about it. They said all I have to do is send a fax saying why I can't make it and they will contact me back with my next court date.

    This is for first time offenders only, which I am.
    In VA, you get an automatic continuance - but it may be an issue that your court date is so close. If you show up on the date of trial to ask, they'll want to know why you're not ready to proceed. In which case, you'll need to tell them something along the lines of you intend to contest the charge and you're not prepared to present your case because of some legally plausible reason, such as your lawyer could not make the court date.

    If you want to continue the case to a later date, call the court clerk today. Tell the clerk you just realized you have to be out of town on the court date due to work and need to have the case continued.

    This is usually sufficient. But git 'er done before the actual court date on your summons!

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