Just got my first TICKET! ...suggestions?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike_Ped, Dec 12, 2001.

  1. Mike_Ped

    Mike_Ped Second Unit

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    It was bound to happen I guess. I've been driving for 3 years now, and for the last year I've been driving from Oxnard,CA(home) to San Luis Obispo,CA to see my g/f (she's a student there). Welp, this last Saturday, on my way home I got a ticket in Solvang on the 101 freeway... (sigh)

    I was trying to pass another car and change lanes to get away from a guy behind me whose headlights were blinding me (I have a small car, he had a large truck). Right when I finished my pass, there were those beautiful blue lights... The HP said he clocked me at 80mph in a 65 zone. I really don't know how fast I was going...just trying to get past.

    So, what are my options? It sux having to look forward to a ticket this close to christmas. I once read somewhere that instead of actually showing up in court to contest a ticket or ask for a reduction, it can be done through the mail. Is that true? Can I fight this thing through a letter? If I did chose to fight it, and I lose, can I still pay it AND take traffic school? Should I just pay it? How much are they usually?

    Any help would be great!

    --Mike

    P.S. One thing that makes me think...I have a POS of a car, and when I hit 80, it usually shakes and the engine gets really loud....this didn't happen, so I don't think I was going that fast....hmm...just something to think about I guess.
     
  2. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

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    So you were passing on a lane where traffic is coming toward you? So two single lanes side by side, with traffic going one way on one side and the opposite direction on the other side?

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    OK if that's the case, I thought it was legal to speed up and pass if the other person is going the speed limit. That's as long as it's a passing zone. Can anyone clarify this?
     
  3. Mike_Ped

    Mike_Ped Second Unit

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    Lemme clarify...

    There were 2 lanes in one direction

    A dirt gap...

    Then 2 lanes in the opposite direction...

    I was in the left lane, then speed up to pass another car that was in the right lane so that I could go into the right lane to get away from a guy who was blinding me behind me.

    Mike
     
  4. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

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    I see. How bad is the ticket? I've heard good things about traffic school (especially if you don't want it to go on your record)
     
  5. Mike_Ped

    Mike_Ped Second Unit

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    No word on the fine yet. The cop said they would send me a notice in 3 weeks at which time I can pay it or fight it.

    Mike
     
  6. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    I've gotten off on my last two tickets by going to court and praying that the cop doesn't show up. Never mail your payment, that is the equivilant of pleading guilty. If the cop does show then you can tell your story to the judge but the odds that he will let you off are closer to none than slim.
     
  7. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Ask for a court appearance. Wear a suit. Be early. Treat the judge with respect.

    This ALWAYS works for me, my tickets are dismissed.

    Jim
     
  8. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    When you do get the ticket, really check the handwriting on it, the last parking ticket I got (hell it was in a university which I don't think had town juridiction on me anyway but just for a matter of principal) had my license plate written down so slopily that I couldn't tell whether it was an 'A' or an 'R' and I mentioned this in my letter. it also simply listed as my car as a "4-door BMW". I wrote them a letter saying that my license plate was wrong and the BMW makes alot of different models with 4 doors. Granted, the ticket was worthless as I wasn't a student there and was there just to play some tennis but I wrote them a letter anyway and it was ripped up. So one thing you can do immediately is check the handwriting, check the VIN and make sure they match.. If they don't, it's like instant dismissal...

    Jay
     
  9. Mike_Ped

    Mike_Ped Second Unit

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    Thanx for all the suggestions

    Jay,

    so you can do this through a letter?

    Mike
     
  10. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I got a ticket the other night as well. I wouldn't mind so much, but I think it was unwarranted. I was driving home in the left-hand lane down our main street here in Troy (there are four lanes, two going in each direction) when the driver in front of me flipped on his left turn signal. I didn't particularly want to stop and wait for him to turn so I glanced over my shoulder to see if any cars were in the right-hand lane. There was a car there (didn't know it was a police car at the time) but it wasn't so close that I couldn't get over. So I flip on my right turn signal, wait a few seconds, and pull over into the right-hand lane. No big deal, right? Well, about a mile down the road, I see that a cop has pulled someone over. The next thing I know, I see lights flashing in my rearview mirror. Wondering what the hell I did, I pull over. The officer walks up to my truck and informs me that I had made an "improper lane change" and that I'd almost hit her. Yeah, right. I'm thinking that if I had almost hit her, she would have pulled me over right then and there instead of following me for so long! The reason she pulled me over is that her cop buddy across the street had someone pulled over so she had to do the same. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for cops because I know they have difficult jobs. BUT, I don't appreciate being hassled like that. I work hard, pay my taxes, and stay out of trouble. And what to I get for that? A friggin' ninety-dollar ticket for some bullshit infraction. Sure, I could go to court, but even if the ticket were dismissed, I'd have to pay court costs of sixty to seventy dollars. Either way, I'm screwed...
     
  11. MatthewH

    MatthewH Agent

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    Mike I am a police officer in Indiana. My suggestion is that if you feel that the speeding ticket was not fair, go to court and tell the judge your side of the story. You might be able to strike a plea with the prosecutor to drop your speed and the fine down a little bit due to the circumstances (bright lights behind you). For me attitude is one of the most important factors during a traffic stop. If you are respectful that goes a long way. Another good reason to go to court is one that is mentioned earlier, if the police officer doesn't show up the charge is oftened dismissed. People do this all the time where I live. I dont mind though because I get paid for three hours of work wheather I am there 3 minutes or three hours. Often after people see me in court they just plea out. In regards to your speed when passing the other vehicle. In my state you are not allowed to go above the posted speed limit even if you are passing another vehicle. Hope this helps.
     
  12. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Mike, This wasn't a speeding ticket, this was a parking ticket at a college near me at work from one of those "campus security" police. I'm not entirely sure if they have "jurisdiction" as say a town cop, i.e. someplaces the campus security has the authority to make arrests and stuff without any assistance from the town. Anyway, I'm sure different states have different policies but I am not aware of any that let you contest tickets by mail...
    I've gotten one speeding ticket in Binghamton NY in a rental car going to an interview right out of college.. those damm NY State troopers all over I-81 [​IMG]
    Jay
     
  13. Kevin Hill

    Kevin Hill Auditioning

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    i've had my fair share of tickets in my driving career (what can i say, i like driving fast). Anyways, first thing is set up a court appointment to plead you case. The court will then send you a letter telling you when your court date is. When the date is about a week away, call the court and tell them you will not be able to make it because of work or something like that. The reason behind this is - your first court date is set based on the police officer's scheduled day in court. So the cop sits in the court all day taking all of these cases. When you call for the new court date, the court will either set up the appointment with you on the phone or they will send you another letter stating your new date (which is fine). By this time, usually three to four months have passed so you don't have to pay the ticket until then. So your new date finally arrives, if the cop is not there, you're free to go. If the cop shows up, try to plead for a warning and no points, but you still pay the ticket. A warning states that if you don't get a ticket within 6 months, the ticket goes away, but if you receive another ticket, both go on your record. This option is fine because the court gets your money and your insurance doesn't find out about it.

    Other things to check out are:

    1)Make sure all the info on the ticket is correct (ie. time, date, vehicle, address). My buddy got off because the officer wrote down the wrond date so check the ticket out.

    2)make sure his equipment was properly calibrated and it should be documented after or the beginning of each shift.

    hope some of this helps you out.

    Kevin
     
  14. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  15. Jeffrey Noel

    Jeffrey Noel Screenwriter

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    Sorry as this is WAY off topic, but wouldn't it be cool if Mike named his kid Moe? [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Sorry, couldn't resist! [​IMG]
     
  16. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Man! My last ticket was in NY state doing 81 in a 65 zone. Had I been doing that in Toronto, the cops wouldn't even bother coming after me for doing that. I can understand 90 and up. Anyway, it cost me about US$110 for that. Douggh!!
     
  17. Janna S

    Janna S Second Unit

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    You've gotten some good advice here, but some of what's been said may not apply in your court.

    Hoping the police officer doesn't show is always possible. If you want to try to BS your way to a second court date to increase your chances of the officer not showing, that's your call. That can have other implications - some jurisdictions have gotten so fed up with BS excuses and blatent manipulations that they have cracked down on requests for continuances, requests for new calendar dates, etc. If you are comfortable with lying, it's your business.

    As several here have said, take the time to scrutinize the ticket carefully. If it was a radar ticket, there are specific documents that probably have to be presented to the court to prove calibration and maybe the officer's training. If there is some way you can find that out, and make a motion (that's just asking, in formal language) to exclude the radar evidence, it can help. It may not be a slam dunk, however - an experienced officer may be able to testify credibly and adequately about external indicators of speeding. The officer may not be able to prove an exact speed, so the ticket maybe reduced to a lower speed, but it's really case and court specific.

    If you have the time, it would be worth it to check out traffic court for an hour or two before your trial - or a day or two. Watch the proceedings, watch how people comport themselves, watch what seems to work and what doesn't. If you know which judge you are going to appear in front of, try to watch that judge's proceedings.

    There is no way for me to know what your jurisdiction's practices are regarding getting probation or a suspended imposition of sentence (instead of having the ticket go on your record), by excusing the ticket by going to traffic school, by bargaining it down to a lesser offense (perhaps less expensive and fewer points), by making requests by mail. Call the court, or check the court system's web page if there is one. Or go check it out yourself.

    Be respectful to the officer. You are not there to prove that he (or she) was a jerk - you are there to try to get yourself off. Alienating anyone in the system is not likely to help. The judge will have seen, and will see, the officer far more than he or she will see you, and the judge will have his or her own knowledge of the officer's credibility, demeanor, etc.

    Be respectful to the judge. Don't underdress, but don't overdress either. Sucking up may not help. Be truthful as much as you can (you never know what lie you might get caught in). Don't admit anything. You probably don't have to answer any questions from the officer (that may depend on the rules of the court) but you should answer questions if the judge asks.

    Testimony that your car usually/always shimmies and shakes at 80, and it didn't this time, can backfire. It's totally self-serving, not particularly objective, and it indicates that you do, in fact, go 80 at times. I don't recall that "but my car can't do 80" or some variation thereof was ever very compelling when I was on the bench.

    Don't get carried away if you do testify. I presided over more than one traffic trial where the defendant went chatty cathy and hung himself (they were usually men).

    Also, here there are almost as many female judges as there are male judges, so don't assume your judge will be male. If the judge is female, don't be cute about it - call her your honor, and don't make any remarks about gender. Don't ask to see a "real" judge, for example. (I got asked that many times, I am sorry to say.)

    Don't argue anything that is contradicted by your traffic record. That's not a problem if this is your first moving violation, but you'd be amazed at how many people make an argument that is completely ludicrous given their driving record. If you have a clean record, it can help to ask for leniency with the sentence (if the judge has any latitude regarding sentencing in your jurisdiction) rather than trying to beat the conviction totally.

    It can sometimes help to plead "guilty with an excuse" - the lights of the vehicle behind you creating a dangerous situation. The problem with that is that there may have been a safer option to get away from the irritant, and the judge may determine that you made a bad situation worse by breaking the law.

    The most important point of all this is that you should take an active part in the experience - think for yourself, do some research, prepare your presentation, be on your best behavior, etc. It is better to tackle a situation head on, and honestly, and fairly, than to gripe and complain and blow it off. Clean up after yourself, and accept the consequences once you have done your best.

    In many courts you have the option to ask, one time, for a different judge. If you watch the judge and get a really bad feeling, check out that option.

    Just one or two responses to some of the other comments - speeding tickets are lousy revenue sources, but they certainly do hit the problem and the dangers of speeding head on. I bet you watch your speed just a little more now than you did before. After more than fifteen years of dealing with criminal law, traffic court, and coroner's cases, I believe that the two realistic things we could do in this country to save lives, prevent injuries, and avoid grief and heartache and economic loss would be to get people to slow down, and to stop excessive alcohol consumption (and I don't mean just while driving).

    Thie third and ultimate solution universal testerone reduction
    will just get me flamed off the board.
     
  18. Mike_Ped

    Mike_Ped Second Unit

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    Thanks for all the suggestions...

    I know I was probably going above the 65 limit, but it just pisses me off that I got a ticket. Deep down I know I should just pay the damn thing and suck it up, but then another part of me is mad for the following reasons (which made me think of fighting it):

    1) I don't usually speed (maybe 5mph, but nothing over)

    2) I'm almost certain I wasn't going 80mph, like the officer said he clocked me at (BTW, the ticket says "approx speed: 80." Does that help my case any?).

    2) I know that the ticket will be WAAYY more money than it should be.

    3) I WAS trying to get away from the headlights. Sure the court/cop may not agree with that choice of action, but that's the one I choose because at the time, that's the one that was the easiest and most logical.

    4) (a spiteful reason, but thought I'd include it because it's on my mind) - I see cops speed past me all the damn time (I work late a lot and drive home at like 12:00A.M. sometimes). Before, it made me laugh at their "above the law" attitude (not all cops, but many....especially at that hour) Seeing that is just going to piss me off now.

    I have another question though that I don't think was answered...

    If I were to fight this ticket (either in court in person or through the mail); if I lose, can I still pay the ticket AND take traffic school to get it taken off the DMV record? Or, is the traffic school option eliminated?

    Thanx again,

    Mike
     
  19. John Besse

    John Besse Supporting Actor

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    Lol, I've been driving 5 years and only have 7 tickets. One of my good friends has me beat with 16 tickets and a suspended licence for 3 months. I think only 8 or 9 of those were moving violations.
     
  20. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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