Author Topic: Should I fight a speeding ticket?  (Read 18625 times)

CheapskateWife

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1392
  • Location: Central TX...but getting ready to hit the road
  • Countdown to fire in 3-2-1
Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« on: May 22, 2014, 05:04:36 PM »
Hello out there...I got pulled over for doing 46 in a 30 MPH area.  The problem is that the speed limit wasn't actually posted on that road until 100 yds after the point at which I was pulled over (hence my speed...using my own judgement in absence of posted signage). 

I really want to fight it, because the cop set up circumstances that constituted a system of distractions to keep a driver from seeing the speed limit sign, based on where he was posted, in a blind corner, foliage obscuring the only sign, etc...

However, I really don't want this to impact my license or insurance.  Wondering if fighting it and running the risk of being found guilty anyway won't be more expensive in the end than paying the $110 admin fee in order to get permission to take the DD course.

DH feels like the case could go either way, and we don't know if the municipality is starving for $.

What say you MMM forum?

beltim

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2834
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 05:13:53 PM »
The first posting of the speed limit on the whole road was 100 yards ahead of you?  How long was the road behind you?

Exflyboy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6258
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Corvallis, Oregon
  • Expat Brit living in the New World..:)
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2014, 05:15:58 PM »
If you can get clear photographic evidence the obscured road sign, no way to know the speed limit change etc then yes I would fight it.

Simply plead not guilty and tour evidence to court.. print out a Google map zoomed in to show the relevant factors (location of signs, the cop etc) adn tkae it in.

If you have a reasonable case the judge's job is to give you a fair shake.

Frank

CheapskateWife

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1392
  • Location: Central TX...but getting ready to hit the road
  • Countdown to fire in 3-2-1
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2014, 05:20:33 PM »
The first posting of the speed limit on the whole road was 100 yards ahead of you?  How long was the road behind you?

easily 3/4 of a mile

zataks

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 350
  • Location: Silicon Valley
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2014, 05:22:20 PM »
Any time I've ever made the effort to show up in court, the penalty has been reduced.

beltim

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2834
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2014, 05:22:44 PM »
The first posting of the speed limit on the whole road was 100 yards ahead of you?  How long was the road behind you?

easily 3/4 of a mile

And there were no postings in the 3/4 of a mile?

CheapskateWife

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1392
  • Location: Central TX...but getting ready to hit the road
  • Countdown to fire in 3-2-1
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 05:28:26 PM »
The first posting of the speed limit on the whole road was 100 yards ahead of you?  How long was the road behind you?

easily 3/4 of a mile

And there were no postings in the 3/4 of a mile?

That's correct...I've gone back and taken photographs to prove my case, but DH is concerned its just going to make it worse on us financially to fight it.  We are in a tiny town, and don't know if we can trust the court system to be fair.

Emg03063

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 458
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 05:29:28 PM »
What's the default limit for unposted roads in the area?

beltim

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2834
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 05:42:46 PM »
Then EMG's question is the relevant one.  If the default limit is higher than 46mph, you have a great case and should go to court.  If the default limit is lower than 46 mph, then I don't think you have a case and shouldn't bother.

CheapskateWife

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1392
  • Location: Central TX...but getting ready to hit the road
  • Countdown to fire in 3-2-1
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 05:45:53 PM »
I need to review the city code, and find the applicable default speed.  If it is under 45, sounds like I just need to suck it up...

Might file a complaint though...this whole thing is just dirty.

Latwell

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 137
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2014, 05:51:43 PM »
Fight the ticket. Changes are they'll reduce the ticket or replace it with a less costly fine. A lot of times you won't even go into the court room, you'll just have a chat with the prosecutor who lowers the price for you or drops it completely and just tells you to pay the court cost (which usually isn't much at all).

rusty

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
  • Location: North Carolina
    • My Medigap Consultant
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2014, 06:06:41 PM »
See if your state allows driving school for first offense.  Depending on the severity of the ticket, you could get out with a 4 hours class.
 
In NC, you should ask for this below in order to get yourself the best deal:
 1- ask for driving school. It will be reduced to improper equipment. You get one every 3 years per person. I know, I had one, then 2 years later, my wife got a ticket. I had a 4 hour driving school class (kinda of interesting). My wife's ticket was a higher speed, therefore she had an 8 hr driving school class. Contact the DA before court to see if he/she can transfer you over to driving school without having to go to court. You still pay the court fine and school costs, but it only shows up as "improper equipment." You are allowed "driving school" per person per 3 years.

 2 - If you have had driving school, ask for PJC. You only get 1 per household per 3 years.

 3 - Contact a lawyer if you have exhausted 1 and 2. Also learn to slow down, because you have received 2 tickets in 3 years by this time.

Good luck.
Former Auto Insurance Agent

gimp

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2348
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2014, 06:15:13 PM »
Fight the ticket.

With that said, most places I've been have a default speed limit of 25, 30, 35. The only times that has been different has been on very major roads (posted sign saying something like default speed limit is 45), or in absolute bumfuck nowhere (Alaska Highway) where it's ~55 or ~60 or whatever, depending on the last sign that was 20 or 50 miles ago.

Greg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1449
  • Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2014, 06:54:46 PM »
Definitely worth fighting it.  The speed limit is only enforceable where it's posted. 

Don't agree to argue circumstances, but instead request a hearing because it was not committed.

Likely your local jurisdiction uses the Infraction Rules for courts of Limited Jurisdiction so you need to research the rules for evidence etc. for your specific locality.  The IRLJ are different in different states.  Request via certified mail any and all reports and officer filings long before your hearing date.  There are often rules about how far in advance they have to provide them before the hearing.  If they fail, the hearing may be continued or dismissed.  The officer's affidavit has a lot more information than the ticket you're given, and usually contains an officer's sworn statement, which is the only evidence against you.  The idea is to see if there are enough errors or other problems with the statement to get it dismissed as inadmissible, among other strategies.

Also, they may be issues with how the Speed Measuring Device was calibrated, certified and used. 

The lesser monetary penalty and classes options are always available if you fail, but they often try to discourage you fighting the citation by saying that you lose that option if you fight the infraction.

mikecorayer

  • Guest
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2014, 07:57:07 PM »
You might find some useful info here on how to go about requesting information on calibration tests, officer certification, etc. as well as some success stories (go to "State Chapters" for more specific details based on your state).

http://www.motorists.org/

Echonomical

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2014, 08:11:59 PM »
Hello out there...I got pulled over for doing 46 in a 30 MPH area.  The problem is that the speed limit wasn't actually posted on that road until 100 yds after the point at which I was pulled over (hence my speed...using my own judgement in absence of posted signage). 

I really want to fight it, because the cop set up circumstances that constituted a system of distractions to keep a driver from seeing the speed limit sign, based on where he was posted, in a blind corner, foliage obscuring the only sign, etc...

However, I really don't want this to impact my license or insurance.  Wondering if fighting it and running the risk of being found guilty anyway won't be more expensive in the end than paying the $110 admin fee in order to get permission to take the DD course.

DH feels like the case could go either way, and we don't know if the municipality is starving for $.

What say you MMM forum?

Without reading the rest of this thread, I highly suggest you fight it no matter what the circumstances. The officer probably won't even show up. As long as it's worth it for you to miss a day of work/errands/whatever, it's worth it.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27911
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2014, 09:00:07 PM »
Here in Vegas there's a ton of companies you can use to fight it for you.

Google "fight traffic ticket" with your city name.  They basically go appear for you in court and negotiate the ticket down from a moving violation to a parking violation, which has a small fine, and doesn't go on your driving record, and won't affect any insurance.

The amount you pay them is more than covered by the difference between the tickets (e.g. you're given a $200 ticket, you pay them $75 and get the ticket reduced to $75, and you've saved $50 plus taken none of your own time besides contacting the company, and have no repercussions).  It's a racket, but sometimes you have to play the game.

(I've done it once, for a bogus "failed to fully stop when turning right on a red," and I know others who do it all the time for speeding tickets.)

Check if something like that is available in your area.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8654
  • Registered member
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2014, 09:05:36 PM »
Good advice here.  My anecdotal evidence in CA is that anytime I've ever fought a ticket here, the officer never showed up (highway patrol... Local cop probably more likely to care)

oldtoyota

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3142
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2014, 09:16:01 PM »
If you live in a small town, I can see why you'd be worried. I think if you remain nice and friendly that it'll go okay as long as the officer is not an evil person.

If the judge is related to/friends with the officer, then the worst they'll do is say you have the pay the whole fine...right? How much would you have to pay for court?

I'm sorry this happened to you. Where I live, there are speed cameras and cameras for everything and they catch you anyway they can.


Primm

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1325
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Australia
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2014, 09:28:48 PM »
If you live in a small town my question would be, how did you not know what the speed limit was on that road? Or was it a route you hadn't driven before?

bikebum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Location: Nor Cal
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2014, 09:41:31 PM »
Here is something you may want to look into, at least this is how it is in CA: Lower speed limits (below 55 mph, I think) need to be justified with a recent (in the past 3 years, I think) traffic speed study. In my city, an attorney argued his way out of a speeding ticket by challenging the validity of the speed limit because the city had not done a traffic study on that road in the past 3 years.

Most speed limits are set by measuring the speed of cars during a certain period of time and setting the speed limit at the 85th percentile speed, rounded down to the nearest 5 mph increment.

SDREMNGR

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 324
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2014, 11:16:54 PM »
Fight the ticket. Make sure you take it all the way to court session.  Plead innocent and explain your case.  If the judge still sentences you, plead a lighter sentence.  I have always gotten lighter fines or gotten traffic school if I showed up (three times).  And the most recent time, the CHP dropped their case on a $469 ticket because they messed up the paperwork on their side. So it always pays to fight the ticket.

bikebum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Location: Nor Cal
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2014, 11:27:02 PM »
Plead innocent and explain your case.

Sorry to be a stickler, but don't plead "innocent," plead "not guilty." That's the legal term and the mindset you want. The burden is on the police to prove you're guilty, you don't have to prove that you're innocent.

Jags4186

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 596
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2014, 01:50:40 AM »
Ignorance of the law isn't a defense. Just because you don't see the speed posted doesn't mean you're not supposed to know what the speed limit is.

That said you should fight it...paying more than the ticket is if necessary to avoid points on your license and increased car insurance premiums.

former player

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4433
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2014, 02:11:01 AM »
I thought the purpose of these set-ups was to catch strangers, not locals; as a local, you should know what the limits are in any case.  That way the fines come from people passing through and are applied to the town/police budget, thus limiting local taxes.

But yes, fight the ticket provided you weren't in breach of an overall limit you should have known about.  You need a good map of the road you were coming in on,  with pointers to where you were, where all the relevant road signs were, and where the cop was.  You need photographs, with the dates on them, showing the part of the road without signs, the road where the signs were and the sign obscured by overgrowth.  Have a record of what the whether and road conditions were when you were stopped (clear skies, daylight, visibility dry road, etc.)

You need to practice explaining your case before the day, so that you have a clear and logical explanation for the judge.  This is a technical case, so you probably don't need the abject apologies and personal justifications, but keep an eye on the judge's attitude just in case.

If this is set up to make cash-cows out of passing strangers, the police might cave when they see you are a local who is fighting it - they won't want a court ruling that will stop their cash-cow working in the future.

I would hope no-one is likely to take fighting a ticket against you, even in a small town.  They might be amused you fell for the trap in the first place.  If you make a habit of falling for it, you will certainly become known as the idiot who keeps falling for it.

SnackDog

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • Location: Latin America
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2014, 04:08:19 AM »
In most jurisdictions the speed limit begins exactly at the sign, not in sight of the sign.  If going 30 by the time you reached the sign, you did not break the law.

chasesfish

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3084
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Texas
    • Years in the making, I created a journal!
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2014, 04:48:09 AM »
I would recommend you show up and politely argue your case.  Pictures of the sign, proof there's no earlier speed limit sign, and be completely respectful.  I wouldn't go the route of hiring one of those fighting traffic ticket lawyers if option 1 fails.  I've only ever gotten one ticket under similar circumstances, but I didn't have the time to bother with it and just paid the ransom and moved on.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

wtjbatman

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1313
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Missouri
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2014, 05:53:18 AM »
You exceeded the speed limit by more than 15 miles an hour, and now you're trying to figure out some way to get out of it? You made a mistake, but you still broke the law. Pay the fine and move on. And don't assume that when you're leaving a town with a speed limit of 30mph that the speed limit suddenly jumps to 45mph, even without a posted speed limit sign.

I also have a small problem with this part of your post...
Quote
I really want to fight it, because the cop set up circumstances that constituted a system of distractions to keep a driver from seeing the speed limit sign, based on where he was posted, in a blind corner, foliage obscuring the only sign, etc...

If you mean he took advantage of a blind corner so that speeding motorists (such as yourself) wouldn't see him until it was too late for them to slow down, yes, I'm sure he did. But he didn't set up the circumstances and create a system of distractions. He didn't hide the speed limit sign, he didn't get out of his squad car and move foliage so it would obscure the sign, etc.

Cpa Cat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2014, 06:24:42 AM »
In my state, there are default limits that are set and disclosed in the driver's handbook. All drivers pass a written test before getting their license. It is the driver's responsibility to know what the default speed limit is, regardless of whether or not there's a sign.

I'm willing to bet that your state is the same. If you go into court with this argument (assuming the officer shows up) you will probably be told that the absence of a sign does not give you the right to drive whatever speed you like.

You are right (and I am sympathetic) - this officer intentionally chose this location because he knew that the lack of signage causes confusion and people habitually break the limit. It's the end of the month, he probably has a quota and he knows this is a good spot. Doubtless he sits there during the last week of every month. It does seem unethical to intentionally "trap" motorists instead of taking actions to report the lack of clarity.

It never feels good to be caught in a speed trap in circumstances like that. It is, however, common place.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 08:32:35 AM by Cpa Cat »

unpolloloco

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 185
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2014, 08:14:18 AM »
You exceeded the speed limit by more than 15 miles an hour, and now you're trying to figure out some way to get out of it? You made a mistake, but you still broke the law. Pay the fine and move on. And don't assume that when you're leaving a town with a speed limit of 30mph that the speed limit suddenly jumps to 45mph, even without a posted speed limit sign.

I also have a small problem with this part of your post...
Quote
I really want to fight it, because the cop set up circumstances that constituted a system of distractions to keep a driver from seeing the speed limit sign, based on where he was posted, in a blind corner, foliage obscuring the only sign, etc...

If you mean he took advantage of a blind corner so that speeding motorists (such as yourself) wouldn't see him until it was too late for them to slow down, yes, I'm sure he did. But he didn't set up the circumstances and create a system of distractions. He didn't hide the speed limit sign, he didn't get out of his squad car and move foliage so it would obscure the sign, etc.

The issue here is that OP could reasonably surmise that the speed limit was higher than it was (i.e. no posted speed limit).  IF the default speed is >=45 (which I believe it's 55 is in most states?), OP was under the speed limit (and almost going too SLOW).

That said, where the cop was is irrelevant (other than the fact that he was BEFORE the sign), and mentioning that he was obscured in court will only harm the OP's case.

OP - Prove that there was no signage between where you got on the road and where the cop clocked you before the speed limit sign and show that you were at/under the default speed.  These are the only points that are relevant to the case.  If you can't prove either, it still may be worth showing up and making the case (based on the fact that you were going a speed reasonable for the conditions and that you didn't see the sign), but it's a crapshoot.  If you can prove those two points. the balance swings in your favor greatly.

nordlead

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 146
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2014, 08:47:32 AM »
In my area, just ask for a written deposition. The cop will be too lazy to provide it and the case will get dropped without ever going to court. At worse, you show up, show your photos, and the ticket gets reduced to a non-point ticket (more likely dropped).

If you think about the expected value outcome of doing nothing, vs doing something, it will be in your favor to do something. If you are worried about points, get a lawyer and you'll pretty much be set. If you are only worried about costs, then no lawyer, and if you end up with points you can probably reduce them with a driving course (in NY they take 3 points off if you take a defensive driving class).

CarDude

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 611
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Beep Beep!
    • The CCD
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2014, 08:54:56 AM »
Lots of good advice in this thread already. I'll just chip in for future notice to encourage you to drive more slowly in the future. Speed kills!

PindyStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 241
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2014, 09:00:44 AM »
I would recommend you show up and politely argue your case.  Pictures of the sign, proof there's no earlier speed limit sign, and be completely respectful.  I wouldn't go the route of hiring one of those fighting traffic ticket lawyers if option 1 fails.  I've only ever gotten one ticket under similar circumstances, but I didn't have the time to bother with it and just paid the ransom and moved on.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

+1 to this. My wife had a stint prosecuting minor traffic offenses like speeding (though in a large jurisdiction), so I have some insight.

The basic question will be: is it worth your time? It will suck a fair amount of time for you to just show up in court and prepare what you need to make a compelling presentation.

Don't be out to "stick it to the man"--this isn't the right forum for that. Plus, as you say, you're in a small town and this isn't the right way to raise a ruckus. If it still bothers you 6 months from now go to a town hall meeting or write a letter to your city council member [or similar local official].

If you do decide to contest the ticket you will almost certainly get some degree of reduction, as the prosecutor will want to just quickly settle the case. There is a chance that the system (prosecutor or cop or something else) won't be organized enough to show up/be intelligible/etc and the whole thing may be dropped. I'd recommend taking an early offer in the proceedings, because yes if it really turns into a s/he-said-s/he-said between you and the cop, the cop will have the benefit of bias.

SJS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2014, 11:23:05 AM »
I say no, just pay it and SLOW DOWN!!  Actions have consequences, you were speeding, pay the fine. 

thepokercab

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 486
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2014, 12:18:13 PM »
You exceeded the speed limit by more than 15 miles an hour, and now you're trying to figure out some way to get out of it? You made a mistake, but you still broke the law. Pay the fine and move on. And don't assume that when you're leaving a town with a speed limit of 30mph that the speed limit suddenly jumps to 45mph, even without a posted speed limit sign.

I also have a small problem with this part of your post...
Quote
I really want to fight it, because the cop set up circumstances that constituted a system of distractions to keep a driver from seeing the speed limit sign, based on where he was posted, in a blind corner, foliage obscuring the only sign, etc...

If you mean he took advantage of a blind corner so that speeding motorists (such as yourself) wouldn't see him until it was too late for them to slow down, yes, I'm sure he did. But he didn't set up the circumstances and create a system of distractions. He didn't hide the speed limit sign, he didn't get out of his squad car and move foliage so it would obscure the sign, etc.

Agreed.  You were speeding.  Pay the fine, and move on. 

Although, i'm enjoying the contrast of this thread, vs other threads where the face punches fly (especially onto poor people) for not taking responsibility for their actions.  Here are some greatest hits from another ongoing thread:

Quote
Wah, wah, wah.

Quote
For this I generally believe the 'blame' lies squarely on the individual's shoulders.  You have to own up to all decisions you make and use the lessons learned going forward

Quote
There are people who take responsibility for their actions and people who don't. The former can spot the latter from a mile away and will instantly write them off as not worth their time.

Maybe some people can empathize more with speeding tickets.   

mikefixac

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
  • Location: Brea
    • Uncommonly Brilliant
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2014, 01:34:45 PM »
The best part of fighting the ticket is seeing our judicial system at work. So even if you lose, you will still gain by the experience.

Be respectful, ask questions related to the facts, and dress properly.

I've won more than I've lost, (mainly because the cop didn't show up), but even if guilty it doesn't hurt to fight. The judge is going to side with the police officer more than not, that seems like a given.

mrsggrowsveg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 542
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2014, 01:55:18 PM »
I would definitely try to fight it.  I have a friend who said that if you change the court date it is likely the officer won't show up and you will win your case.  I haven't tried that.  I fought one ticket, but did not have a valid argument and lost.  I was able to ask for a diversion.  Now my record is clean and my auto insurance costs did not increase.

Greg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1449
  • Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2014, 02:03:52 PM »
Although, i'm enjoying the contrast of this thread, vs other threads where the face punches fly (especially onto poor people) for not taking responsibility for their actions.

The way I read it was that she got a ticket for a speed that she had not yet been able to read the sign for.  To me, that's an unjust infraction and worth fighting.

Maybe some people can empathize more with speeding tickets.

There's a lot of truth to this.  Part of the problem is that speed enforcement is so subjective.  5 or 10 over might be fine during much of the time, but watch out at the end of the month.  Or, 10 over is typical on the freeway but watch out if you go 2 over in a school zone.  Too much discretion.

I think one day cars will have governors that automatically limit the speed to the posted limit on a given road.  Totally doable today given technology.  Another part of the problem is cities rely on fine income for many things.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 04:07:44 PM by Greg »

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27911
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2014, 02:06:38 PM »
Although, i'm enjoying the contrast of this thread, vs other threads where the face punches fly (especially onto poor people) for not taking responsibility for their actions.

That's a good point. 

Many are saying fight it because you can win (for example, if the officer doesn't show up), but is that the sole determinant?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

mboulder

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2014, 02:35:02 PM »
See if your state allows driving school for first offense.  Depending on the severity of the ticket, you could get out with a 4 hours class.
 
In NC, you should ask for this below in order to get yourself the best deal:
 1- ask for driving school. It will be reduced to improper equipment. You get one every 3 years per person. I know, I had one, then 2 years later, my wife got a ticket. I had a 4 hour driving school class (kinda of interesting). My wife's ticket was a higher speed, therefore she had an 8 hr driving school class. Contact the DA before court to see if he/she can transfer you over to driving school without having to go to court. You still pay the court fine and school costs, but it only shows up as "improper equipment." You are allowed "driving school" per person per 3 years.

 2 - If you have had driving school, ask for PJC. You only get 1 per household per 3 years.

 3 - Contact a lawyer if you have exhausted 1 and 2. Also learn to slow down, because you have received 2 tickets in 3 years by this time.

Good luck.
Former Auto Insurance Agent

This is the best advice in this thread. Claiming ignorance of the speed limit because you pulled onto the street in the middle of the speed zone isn't really a good defense. Most jurisdictions have a default speed limit if you don't see one posted. I've never seen one over 35 mph, and I'd be surprised if your 46mph fell under that default (if it does, you *may* have a case, but I wouldn't be too hopeful).

A lot of the advice in this thread, like "the cop won't show up" and "get a copy of the radar calibration" etc won't get you very far. In many/most jurisdictions, officers are paid overtime to show up to court, so they are motivated to do so, and if they don't show up they can call and have the court date moved (I've seen it happen). Officers are allowed to amend their paperwork to fix mistakes in court (so the common cliche advice "the officer put the wrong date on the ticket, so it will be thrown out!" is wrong). Judges have seen every trick in the book to get out of tickets on a technicality, and they've seen them dozens, hundreds of times. They can smell BS. Sure, sometimes cops are lazy and don't bother, or they don't bother fixing paperwork and just give up, or the judge is sympathetic and lenient, but it's a gamble - if they show up, or fix it, or the judge is having a bad day, or whatever, you're sunk.

Unless you have iron-clad evidence that the charges are BS, the best advice is to negotiate with the prosecutor ahead of time (either directly or have your lawyer do it) and try to work out a deal that lessens the penalty. Otherwise you risk the full penalty and all of its ramifications.

The best advice of all is to slow down!

CheapskateWife

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1392
  • Location: Central TX...but getting ready to hit the road
  • Countdown to fire in 3-2-1
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2014, 02:53:14 PM »
Wow, lots of great advice here, and I think I am going to go see if I can't have a chat with the prosecutor in advance, and bring my pictures showing that there was no posted speed limit.  There have been some other interesting details surrounding my not guilty plea that have resulted in a new citation being issued (which isn't signed by anybody).  It has gotten so convoluted that at this point, I don't want to go talk to the judge without doing some more research into the new citation.  Gotta love a small town

So to answer some of the other questions out there, I am new in town, and this was a route I had not taken before.  Now that I know the limit, of course I am observing it.  I do have a rather clean record, with no accidents and my last speeding ticket was easily 5 years ago, so honestly I was expecting just a warning.  It was such a surprise to be handed an actual citation with fines.

Next step, heading to the courthouse to talk to the prosecutor and see if I can't get this reduced.  On thing is for sure, I will be asking the municipality to put up a darn speed limit sign!

mcneally

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #41 on: May 23, 2014, 02:59:27 PM »
You decide whether this is relevant, but I was once issued two speeding tickets by the same camera 5 minutes apart from each other (I was lost and therefore running late). I went to court to try to get them to only charge me for one offense. I lost my case after a sub-60 second conversation with the judge. It didn't cost my any more $ but they made me wait about 3 hours plus an hour driving round trip. I regretting wasting my time on what would have saved me only $100 if I had successfully gotten one dropped. Depending how long you think it will take and the percentage confidence that you will prevail, the expected hourly return may be low.

bikebum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Location: Nor Cal
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2014, 06:12:37 PM »
You decide whether this is relevant, but I was once issued two speeding tickets by the same camera 5 minutes apart from each other (I was lost and therefore running late). I went to court to try to get them to only charge me for one offense. I lost my case after a sub-60 second conversation with the judge. It didn't cost my any more $ but they made me wait about 3 hours plus an hour driving round trip. I regretting wasting my time on what would have saved me only $100 if I had successfully gotten one dropped. Depending how long you think it will take and the percentage confidence that you will prevail, the expected hourly return may be low.

You should also factor in an increase in your insurance. This seems to be the biggest hit based on my conversations with people who have gotten traffic violations.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4835
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #43 on: May 24, 2014, 03:21:16 AM »
Wow, lots of great advice here, and I think I am going to go see if I can't have a chat with the prosecutor in advance, and bring my pictures showing that there was no posted speed limit.  There have been some other interesting details surrounding my not guilty plea that have resulted in a new citation being issued (which isn't signed by anybody).  It has gotten so convoluted that at this point, I don't want to go talk to the judge without doing some more research into the new citation.  Gotta love a small town

So to answer some of the other questions out there, I am new in town, and this was a route I had not taken before.  Now that I know the limit, of course I am observing it.  I do have a rather clean record, with no accidents and my last speeding ticket was easily 5 years ago, so honestly I was expecting just a warning.  It was such a surprise to be handed an actual citation with fines.

Next step, heading to the courthouse to talk to the prosecutor and see if I can't get this reduced.  On thing is for sure, I will be asking the municipality to put up a darn speed limit sign!


If pleading not guilty triggered them charging you with something else, then there's something crooked going on. Yes, talk to the prosecutor first. But if that doesnt get you somewhere, you may need a lawyer yourself, especially if the new vindictive charge is serious or has a serious fine. On the other hand, if it's also minor, and you plan to live in the small town, then consider just paying both if the talk with the prosecutor doesn't get you anywhere. Depends how you want to get along in your new home. And how strongly you feel about righting a crooked system.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8654
  • Registered member
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2014, 01:33:08 PM »
Although, i'm enjoying the contrast of this thread, vs other threads where the face punches fly (especially onto poor people) for not taking responsibility for their actions.

That's a good point. 

Many are saying fight it because you can win (for example, if the officer doesn't show up), but is that the sole determinant?

Maybe not the sole determinant, but I am a strong believer in our right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  This presumption is often perverted, especially at the "traffic infraction" level.  I think citizens have a general duty to make the state prove their case.  This guy may not be the only one who is "guilty" only due to the fact of poor signage.  If enough people fight the case, maybe they will install correct signage, which will be safer for ALL.

edit:  I also gave OP the benefit of the doubt that he was driving at a safe speed given the circumstances.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27911
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2014, 01:39:06 PM »
Although, i'm enjoying the contrast of this thread, vs other threads where the face punches fly (especially onto poor people) for not taking responsibility for their actions.

That's a good point. 

Many are saying fight it because you can win (for example, if the officer doesn't show up), but is that the sole determinant?

Maybe not the sole determinant, but I am a strong believer in our right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  This presumption is often perverted, especially at the "traffic infraction" level.  I think citizens have a general duty to make the state prove their case.  This guy may not be the only one who is "guilty" only due to the fact of poor signage.  If enough people fight the case, maybe they will install correct signage, which will be safer for ALL.

edit:  I also gave OP the benefit of the doubt that he was driving at a safe speed given the circumstances.

I completely agree, and always make cops get warrants, even though I don't do anything wrong, out of principal, because I believe in due process.

But many seemed to imply one should fight it, even if guilty.  That's not presumption of innocence, when they're admitting guilt.  That's just saying "try to get away with breaking the law, because you probably can."
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8654
  • Registered member
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2014, 01:44:42 PM »
Although, i'm enjoying the contrast of this thread, vs other threads where the face punches fly (especially onto poor people) for not taking responsibility for their actions.

That's a good point. 

Many are saying fight it because you can win (for example, if the officer doesn't show up), but is that the sole determinant?

Maybe not the sole determinant, but I am a strong believer in our right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  This presumption is often perverted, especially at the "traffic infraction" level.  I think citizens have a general duty to make the state prove their case.  This guy may not be the only one who is "guilty" only due to the fact of poor signage.  If enough people fight the case, maybe they will install correct signage, which will be safer for ALL.

edit:  I also gave OP the benefit of the doubt that he was driving at a safe speed given the circumstances.

I completely agree, and always make cops get warrants, even though I don't do anything wrong, out of principal, because I believe in due process.

But many seemed to imply one should fight it, even if guilty.  That's not presumption of innocence, when they're admitting guilt.  That's just saying "try to get away with breaking the law, because you probably can."

A lot of things in law aren't so cut-and-dried.  Many laypeople can't accurately determine if they are guilty.  Admitting guilt isn't something I'd advise even to those with a "guilty" conscience -- without a full inquiry, you can't uncover the full circumstances of your "crime" (although this is more applicable to larger types of crimes, which is also why a lot of people just pay their tickets without complaint and the police departments get their cash cow with little incentive to improve the system).

lithy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Mount Oliver, PA
  • Drink Indigenous
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2014, 02:18:51 PM »
Although, i'm enjoying the contrast of this thread, vs other threads where the face punches fly (especially onto poor people) for not taking responsibility for their actions.

That's a good point. 

Many are saying fight it because you can win (for example, if the officer doesn't show up), but is that the sole determinant?

Maybe not the sole determinant, but I am a strong believer in our right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  This presumption is often perverted, especially at the "traffic infraction" level.  I think citizens have a general duty to make the state prove their case.  This guy may not be the only one who is "guilty" only due to the fact of poor signage.  If enough people fight the case, maybe they will install correct signage, which will be safer for ALL.

edit:  I also gave OP the benefit of the doubt that he was driving at a safe speed given the circumstances.

Yep, you aren't fighting it because you might get off or a reduced fine and avoid taking responsibility.

You fight it because traffic citations are only tangentially related to safety and are overall a very poor use of police resources. 

You fight it because you ARE innocent until proven guilty.  The people telling OP that they DEFINITELY WERE speeding and should just suck it up and pay the fine need a healthy dose of skepticism for law enforcement.  OP has been charged with speeding but no case has been presented and no legal decision given. 

If the road was indeed not marked until beyond the point when you were pulled over and you were travelling below the state or local maximum speed (usually 55), it sounds like you have a decent case to make.  I would take it to court.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 02:20:42 PM by lithy »

bikebum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Location: Nor Cal
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2014, 07:23:54 PM »
Although, i'm enjoying the contrast of this thread, vs other threads where the face punches fly (especially onto poor people) for not taking responsibility for their actions.

That's a good point. 

Many are saying fight it because you can win (for example, if the officer doesn't show up), but is that the sole determinant?

Maybe not the sole determinant, but I am a strong believer in our right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  This presumption is often perverted, especially at the "traffic infraction" level.  I think citizens have a general duty to make the state prove their case.  This guy may not be the only one who is "guilty" only due to the fact of poor signage.  If enough people fight the case, maybe they will install correct signage, which will be safer for ALL.

edit:  I also gave OP the benefit of the doubt that he was driving at a safe speed given the circumstances.

Yep, you aren't fighting it because you might get off or a reduced fine and avoid taking responsibility.

You fight it because traffic citations are only tangentially related to safety and are overall a very poor use of police resources. 

You fight it because you ARE innocent until proven guilty.  The people telling OP that they DEFINITELY WERE speeding and should just suck it up and pay the fine need a healthy dose of skepticism for law enforcement.  OP has been charged with speeding but no case has been presented and no legal decision given. 

If the road was indeed not marked until beyond the point when you were pulled over and you were travelling below the state or local maximum speed (usually 55), it sounds like you have a decent case to make.  I would take it to court.

I agree. I think cops focus too much on traffic violations because they are an easy way to show they are doing something and they bring in a lot of money.

CheapskateWife

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1392
  • Location: Central TX...but getting ready to hit the road
  • Countdown to fire in 3-2-1
Re: Should I fight a speeding ticket?
« Reply #49 on: May 30, 2014, 12:10:59 PM »
This has been a fantastic discussion, and really helped me do some digging into why I thought I needed to fight the ticket.  When I was pulled, the police officer asked me a funny question "Why didn't you slow down when you saw me?"  Seemed like a strange question to ask me (and I didn't get into a debate because my 5 year old was in the car) and I stumbled on that.  My response was just to say,  "I guess I must have been speeding, sir, so I'll take that ticket." 

That being said, I have reviewed the applicable state code cited in the ticket, and feel very strongly that:
1) I didn't slow down because I was not driving in an unsafe manner
2) the speed limit was not posted and thus I was left to use my best judgement about safety
3) the code dictates a default speed limit in a non-urban area (this area meets the criteria) as 55 MPH...I was going 46
4) my very clean driving record shows that I am an excellent judge of how to be a safe driver.

I will see the judge, and cite the State code, show him my pictures, and hope that the truth prevails.  Thank you all for the spirited debate!

Thank you all!