So i got a ticket this morn :( .....

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Chris Hovanic, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    for running a yellow light....

    Now when i see a yellow light i make a quick decision on what to do... stop! or if it is not safe to stop I roll on through. Well according to the unmarked state trooper that pulled me over you are "required by law" to stop at yellow lights.

    So I looked up the ORS that he wrote down on my ticket. (link to it here )

    If you scroll down to Section 6 (3) it statse that "If a driver cannot stop in safety, the driver may drive cautiously through the intersection."

    Now before anyone flames me about running yellow lights puts people in danger ect ect I understand that and I dont go outa my way to run yellow lights.

    So Im thinking of pleading not guilty on this one and seeing where it gets me.

    Any advice? Comments?
     
  2. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    you can try to take it to court. worst thing that'll happen is you'll end up paying the fine anyway.

    here's the only thing i've seen in this circumstance.

    one time i was in court and i saw a bunch of folks trying to plead not guilty on their tickets. the judge would ask the plaintiff (?) what his/her story was. then the judge would ask the officer what happened. iirc, in all but one case, the judge sided with the officer. i guess the judge is gonna believe the officer before he believes the person.

    but it's certainly worth a try. the problem will be trying to *prove* that you had no choice but to roll through.
     
  3. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    I am not familar with Oregon law, but I would say that if you honestly felt that you could not safely stop your vehicle in the distance remaining when the light turned yellow (and not just saying so because you don't want the ticket, or want off on a technicality), you would have a good reason to fight the ticket.

    Here is what you would want to specify:

    Where were you in relation to the intersection when the light changed from green?
    What was your speed at the time the light turned yellow?
    How long after the light turned yellow did you enter the intersection?
    How long is that yellow light? (Need to time it)
    Were you out of the intersection by the time the light turned red?
    What were the traffic conditions at the time?

    Once you have that information, you defense can be made. In court, the officer will testify first. He will give his observations. You will then have a chance to question him about his observations. I would ask him the above questions. This isn't the time for you to testify. Just ask questions about his observations.

    Then, if it were me, my testimony would be that I observed the light change to yellow. I determined very quickly, knowing my vehicle, that I would be unable to safely stop in the distance remaining before the intersection. If I had tried, I would have probably had to excessively brake, which could have resulted in my loss of traction and therefore, control of the vehicle. I checked oncoming traffic, to ensure that I would not be putting other drivers at risk. I then made a conscious decision to continue through the intersection on the yellow light, as this was the safest alternative. I entered the intersection on the yellow light, and crossed safely.

    As a former cop, that would be my defense. Good luck!
     
  4. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Go to court. Many times the officer cannot attend. This will be to your advantage. Don't take anyone with you. Be very respectful.
    I always dress for court, I mean a real suit and tie.
    For some reason my tickets are always dismissed. [​IMG]
     
  5. shaniceMW

    shaniceMW Stunt Coordinator

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    well what happened to me and a friend one time, we ran a yellow light in virginia and the officer said we could not safely stop because we were going to fast. the lights are timed so it turns yellow in time for you to stop before it turns red. so we had to pay the ticket.
     
  6. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, it's almost always worth going to court. If you plead "not guilty" the judge will let the cop testify about anything he observed. That's rarely a good thing. If it's just your word against the cop, unless he's a real known arse, you're going to be found guilty and the judge will slam you for pleading not guilty. If you plead guilty he may allow you to describe your 'extenuating' circumstances. Usually, not always, even if he does find you guilty (which he almost certainly will if you plead guilty) the judge will reduce the fine/points assessed. This can be vewwy helpful in not hurting you too bad at insurance renewal time.

    Or you could get really lucky and the cop won't show up. That's an immediate plea of "not guilty."

    I made the mistake of just paying a speeding ticket one time, and my insurance went up, literally, no joke, 50%. So, court is what I recommend.

    And slow down. [​IMG]
     
  7. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    Yeah, a big thing is if you speed up to make it through the light. I've gone through yellow's before and a cop has watched me do it. I never speedup to get through though. I have even had the light turn red before I'm all the way through...but I don't speed up.
     
  8. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Elinor has it right. You DID run the yellow, so claiming "not guilty" is nonsense.

    Just go in and plead guilty. Admit that you DID run the yellow, but then explain why. If you can answer all the questions Randy wrote, then chances are your extenuating circumstances will get you off the hook.
     
  9. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    A light turns yellow in a 45 zone whilst you're 15' from the intersection, you're going to stop then, right?
    this is the point of the yellow. Just explain you were too close.
     
  10. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    wow lots of info.

    Written on the ticket is "Disobey Red Light" The light was yellow not red.

    I always thought if you plead guilty you would not get a chacne to "explain" just pay a reduced fee and get out.
     
  11. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I'd add one more thing to the list. How far or close behind you was the car to your rear. If you had braked would he have rear-ended you?

    ...and anyone that got a ticket for 'going too fast' should have gotten a ticket for speeding.

    I would go back to the scene of the crime with a tape measure and a watch with a second hand, and go there at the same time of day, because the lights are adjusted for traffic.

    Glenn
     
  12. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Was this ticket in Portland? I got a ticket downtown and went to court. Basically you enter your plea with the clerk before ever seeing the judge or if the arresting officer is present. If you plead guilty (and it's your first offense) then they drastically reduce the fine. I think I paid $40 total. For some reason my insurance company never found out about it (or my other 2 tickets) because Oregon has a weird system for keeping track of tickets.
     
  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    they do the same out in yamhill county greg.
     
  14. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    Plead "not guilty." After all, you did not "disobey red light."

    Some jurisdictions have "guilty with explanation." This is a trap. Once you plead guilty you are guilty.

    Randy had some great tips.

    Good luck. Tell us what happens.
     
  15. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    Not sure about Oregon specifically, but in many areas, once you take your case to court you will more than likely lose the opportunity to go to traffic school -- unless you get a really nice judge, that is.
     
  16. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Well I was assuming the ticket was because you ran a yellow. If the ticket says you ran a red, then by all means plead not guilty. That completely changes things [​IMG]
     
  17. Jonathan R

    Jonathan R Agent

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    I do it all the time 12
     
  18. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    In Maryland, "guilty with an explanation" will usually get "probation before judgement". If you don't get another ticket in the next year, your record is wiped clean.

    However... you still pay 100% of the fine. The Guv'nor has to get his cut.
     
  19. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    Im not sure oregon has any sort of traffic school. Course i have not had a ticket for many years.
     
  20. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    I would agree with this, if the law didn't specifically state that you could run the yellow if it was unsafe to try to stop. Therefore, there are two circumstances set up by the law. Running the yellow when you could have easily and more safely stopped (the "Gunning It" argument), or running the yellow because you could not stop safely in the distance remaining.

    All courts are different, and you might want to consult the court, to determine how they look on Not Guilty pleas. My city judge would not increase the fine for a not guilty plea. He listened to the evidence, and then ruled, and would allow "guilty with an explanation" pleas. However, even though they may have technically been guilty, if they had a reasonable explanation, he would take that into account.

    No court should punish you for pleading not guilty. That is a right guarenteed to you by the Constitution. However, some judges don't want their time wasted, or want to keep their dockets down. Those are the judges who should be voted out.

    Good luck!
     

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