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Busted! Do I plead guilty?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Michael_K_Sr

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Posted April 15 2009 - 03:50 PM

Okay...it's not like I killed anyone or broke into someone's house. I got pinched for speeding. Posted Image I got my notice for my initial court hearing in a few weeks. I have the option of pleading guilty and paying the fine ahead of time and not having to go to court. Or I can plead not guilty and a trial date will be set.

I don't deny that I was speeding, so there's a part of me that says just take my medicine, plead guilty and get it over with. However, the out of state town I was stopped in offered me probation at the time if I paid a $200 fine within seven days. If I didn't get stopped again within a year, the violation would be purged from my record. Unfortunately, the only day during that seven day period that I was able to make it to the police station (a Sunday), I was told that I had to pay with a cashier's check. There was was no way for me to get one on a Sunday. So the offer of probation fell by the wayside.

Until now I haven't received a moving violation since I was in college almost 20 years ago. In Illinois as a first time violator I would just be given probation and sent to traffic school. I'm not sure I'll receive the same treatment if I go to court in Indiana. I guess I'm concerned if I plead not guilty and lose, I'll still wind up with the violation on my record, but I'll also be on the hook for hundreds of additional dollars in court costs.

I'm sure plenty of people here have been in the same boat, so what would you do?

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted April 15 2009 - 04:03 PM

This is what you do: You IMMEDIATELY talk to the district attorney and you ask them if they have a program for aversions, since this is your first ticket. You may be asked to pay double or triple the price of the ticket. You do this GLADLY. This is somewhat what they were offering with the $200. Trust me, every county I've ever been in in America offers this if this is a first time offense on your record (or at least if they don't see any others on your record).

Make the call. If it's tricky, you can pay an attorney to call for you, then you're adding some cost onto your ticket. The big factor is that you pay in order to make sure that your insurance doesn't go up for a longer time that unbalances the payment.
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#3 of 17 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted April 15 2009 - 04:54 PM

What state did you get pulled over in? Here in New York, most municipalities will offer you a plea deal for a non-moving violation if you get pulled over by local cops or sheriffs. This is because the municipality gets the money for non-moving violations, but the state would get the money for speeding. However, state troopers are barred from making such deals so if you get pulled over by them you might as well just send in the ticket.

In the future, never admit fault to a police officer. It goes right on the deposition he'll print out for you. You're best bet is usually respectful but vague.

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted April 15 2009 - 05:41 PM

You do realize that this message board thread could be used against you if you go to court? I mean, the odds are against that happening over a traffic ticket, but you never know.

Unless you are worried about your insurance going up, just pay the fine (before the due date). Otherwise, do as others said and see if you can negotiate a way to keep the violation off your record, but don't expect to be successful considering you missed their published deadline to do so.

Don't waste your time going to court. Unless you have a compelling argument (and based on your initial post that seems unlikely), there's no way you'll get the ticket overturned, and you'll end up paying more.

#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted April 15 2009 - 06:25 PM

Joe's right. Why should the government waterboard you when you made a full confession online?
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#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted April 15 2009 - 08:16 PM

Geez, it was just a speeding ticket. Not like the OP broke into someone's house.

Typically, the rule I follow is always go to court and plead guilty. You pay slightly more for the ticket and, where I've lived, it doesn't get reported to your insurance. In my current state (IL) you get a 90 day probationary period.

I've never had my insurance increase, due to a ticket or otherwise.

I just got my first one in a couple of years the other day. I think I can just pay it and the same deal as going to court applies, but I haven't had the chance to study it yet.

Court is not always so bad. Last time I went it was actually entertaining. They mixed traffic court with other minor infringements so I got to watch punk kids face the judge for things like stealing chicken mcnuggets (and the kid got a mouthful from the judge).

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted April 15 2009 - 11:09 PM

A few years back I was pulled over on the Friday ride home before Labor Day weekend. I don't know where my head was, but I went flying by a known cop hiding spot on the interstate. Sure enough I got pulled over. When asked if I knew why, I replied "I think I was driving a Little fast." Posted Image He cut me a break and gave me a ticket for 78 in a 65mph zone. (over 15mph and you loose license and need classes)
I decided to go to court anyway figuring it couldn't hurt. The judge reminded me that I already was cut a break. I told him that I just screwed up and that I hadn't had a ticket in over 20 years. He let me go with a very disgusted look and 1 year probation from getting another ticket. Posted Image No $$$ at all. Like I said, it doesn't hurt to try.

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Bob McLaughlin

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Posted April 16 2009 - 03:44 AM

I contested a ticket many years ago when I was unemployed because I had nothing better to do. I ended up winning on a technicality because it turned out the cop had not used a mechanical means to determine my speed.
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#9 of 17 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted April 16 2009 - 03:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
When asked if I knew why, I replied "I think I was driving a Little fast." Posted Image He cut me a break and gave me a ticket for 78 in a 65mph zone. (over 15mph and you loose license and need classes)
The same happened to me. When asked if I knew why I was pulled over I figured it was best to admit to what I was doing (without being too specific). I've always been afraid to say "I don't know" because what's to stop the cop (if he's in that kind of mood) to say I was doing 15-30 MPH over what I was clocked at? If he did do that, I couldn't argue with him because I just admitted I didn't know how fast I was going.

It's always best to just admit to it and pay.

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Matt Stryker

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Posted April 16 2009 - 04:14 AM

if the state allows pleading no-lo (no lo contendre) I would recommend that, although it may mean you have to appear in person. Otherwise for an out-of-state ticket I would just pay the fine and save yourself the hassle, especially for speeding.

#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Michael Warner

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Posted April 17 2009 - 08:17 AM

I've never received a speeding ticket I didn't deserve and have been given a break on a few occasions as well so I just pay my fine and go on my way.

Learning to drive in lead-foot Michigan sets you up for a world of hurt in most other parts of the country!
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#12 of 17 OFFLINE   Michael_K_Sr

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Posted April 20 2009 - 07:59 AM

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to attend the court hearing and request deferral.

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted April 21 2009 - 08:13 AM

In which state do you lose your license for going 15 MPH over the limit? 'Cause I want to stay away from there!

I hear a lot of stories about people getting tickets canceled over technicalities, but in my (very limited) experience this depends on the mood of the judge.

There are lawyers who specialize in speeding tickets. Generally what happens is you pay them $75 or so and they go to court for you, resulting in a higher fine but no points without having to go yourself.
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#14 of 17 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted April 21 2009 - 12:22 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Silverman
In which state do you lose your license for going 15 MPH over the limit? 'Cause I want to stay away from there!

I hear a lot of stories about people getting tickets canceled over technicalities, but in my (very limited) experience this depends on the mood of the judge.

There are lawyers who specialize in speeding tickets. Generally what happens is you pay them $75 or so and they go to court for you, resulting in a higher fine but no points without having to go yourself.
Well it is not an automatic loss of license - it is a go to court and explain to the judge why he should let you keep it. Kentucky

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted April 21 2009 - 12:37 PM

Michael, was your speed caught on radar? If so, it's 99.9% likely that you'll be found guilty in court. I was a cop for many years, and I don't think I ever lost a conviction in court for a radar speeding ticket. The officer will be asked if he calibrated the radar before and after the stop. If he did, you will be found guilty. If you pay the fine by mail, you will have a moving violation conviction on your record, and your insurance will increase. If you go to court, ask the assistant DA beforehand if you can get court supervision if you plead guilty. Good luck.

#16 of 17 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted April 21 2009 - 05:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
Well it is not an automatic loss of license - it is a go to court and explain to the judge why he should let you keep it. Kentucky
Posted Image Remind me to avoid going south of Ohio. I'm sure the drivers south of Ohio would be grateful.Posted Image

#17 of 17 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted April 22 2009 - 11:36 AM

Funny that you mention Ohio. It is my least favorite state to drive in. It is wide open country and the limit is 65(?) but the trucks limit is 55(?). The result is trucks doing 55 in the slow lane and speed heads wanting to do 70+ in the fast lane. Everyone else switching lanes back and forth while constantly slowing down in groups and then speeding back up in the straightaways. Or someone who wants to do 56 is trying to pass a truck and they have 40 cars backed up behind them all tailgating and vying for position. Posted Image It is also respectively patrolled.





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