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Speeding Ticket Advice Please!!

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive October 2007: Speeding Ticket Advice Please!!
By Kate on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 09:58 am:

Okay, several of you know I got a speeding ticket the other day. I've never been stopped for speeding so I'm a bit clueless.

Here are the facts:

Upstate NY (and somewhere on the 'Net it said fines for upstate NY run between $200-$500!!!)

72mph in a 55 zone

Okay, I really don't intend to plead not guilty because I've researched this and I really don't have it in me to be cross examining a police officer and talking about radar reliability or how well trained the officer is in its use or when the radar equipment was last serviced. Sounds way too complicated.

If I actually GO to court on the date my ticket says to come or return by mail, does that do ANY good?? Do I get a chance to explain why I was speeding, or point out my absolutely clean driving record before this, or that this is the first time I've ever been stopped for speeding since getting my license 19 years ago? If I DO get that chance, does it do any good? Does it do more good to APPEAR and explain that, than to mail it in with the explanation written out??

Court is for 7:00 PM. Is that normal?? Do you think that's when court BEGINS, or is it toward the end? If it's toward the end, they could decide to dismiss due to time constraints, couldn't they? Or would they just reschedule and make me drive back again? (this is an hour away and $25 worth of gas as it is) Or would I simply be there alll night?

What would you do? I can't plead not guilty by mail even if you suggest that as the time frame for that is up by now. As I said, I'm not comfortable with a 'trial' and cross examination and pleading not guilty and all that. But I thought perhaps if I showed up it might lessen the charges even while pleading guilty. But of course, it'd be way easier to just mail in the 'guilty' and write in my clean driving record and never having been stopped before, on the space provided. Oh, and my sister suggested I point out that I was from out of town and not familiar with the road or speed limit, but my DH says no way, they will think I should have been MORE careful if I was unfamiliar with the area, and thus believe I screwed up even more badly. What do you think??

Any advice? Thanks!

By Melanie on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 10:04 am:

Not knowing the ins and outs of all of this, I wouldn't think pointing out your prior driving record would do any good. You were caught speeding. That's what the ticket is for. It's not a fine on a sliding scale based on how often you are caught. I am sure they have heard every excuse, story, etc. and I can't imagine they would have much sympathy, even though it is your first time.

If it were me, I would pay the fine and do on-line traffic school to avoid points and an increase in my insurance.


By Vicki on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 10:09 am:

Me, I would pay the ticket and be done with it. You did it, you know you did it and that is a pretty big overage in the speed limit. I tend to agree with your dh that if your going to say that it was in a area that your not familiar with, you should have been extra careful because you weren't comfortable with the area. I don't know about where you live, but even the interstate here has a max speed of 65.

I would pay it and chalk it up to lesson learned!

By Yjja123 on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 10:13 am:

There are lawyers that advertise they fight your ticket for you. We used one when my hubby was given a ticket for driving in a school zone (which clearly was after school was in session!)
It cost the same amount to pay the lawyer as the ticket but...
1) We did not have to deal with the hassle and
2) It was dropped so we did not have a hike in our insurance.
You may want look into it.

By Tunnia on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 10:46 am:

I would just pay the ticket as well. You were over the speed limit, regardless of the circumstances, and you were caught is how I think a judge would look at it.

I had an accident that I was found to be at fault for a couple of months ago and while I do believe that the accident was unavoidable I still paid the ticket rather than go to court, because, in all honesty, it just didn't feel right to try to get out of the fine. Although I have to admit I hated paying that fine and waited until the second to the last day to do so! LOL

By Emily7 on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 12:23 pm:

If you were in the wrong & speeding do the right thing by paying it. I never understood wasting tax payers dollars to try to fight something when you were wrong. JMO
Plus it isn't a great lesson for the kids, showing them that you are trying to get out of trouble instead of acknowledging your mistake & taking care of it.

By Crystal915 on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 12:27 pm:

Another for paying the ticket. If you take it to court, you'll end up paying court costs in addition to the ticket.

By Colette on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 12:36 pm:

Pay the ticket, if you take it to court they can raise the fine if you lose. BTDT.

By Amecmom on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 02:21 pm:

Get a lawyer!!!! You're better off paying the lawyer than the fine. A lawyer will bargian it down for you to a non-moving violation and you will pay a fine by NOT get points or have a change in your insurance.
Believe me, my husband is an attorney and I am amazed at what they can do - we are also in NY - but not upstate.
I made the mistake of paying my one and only speeding ticket. I paid for it for years!!! In insurance and in points.
I'm sorry you got pulled over. I hope all turns out well for you. Hugs.

By Annie2 on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 02:27 pm:

I say pay the ticket and take the four hour course online so no points are added to your insurance. I had to do this last summer. :)

By Vicki on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 02:43 pm:

Ok, someone explain this to me. How on earth does someone fight a speeding ticket when they admit they were doing it? What is the defense? I am lost!

I can see fighting if it you didn't believe you were speeding and you believe their equipment must be faulty or something. Or clearly, the one where it was in a school zone, but way after school hours. I can understand that, but to admit your speeding..... what possible defense is there?

By Jackie on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 02:45 pm:

I agree, if I were speeding, and I knew I was speeding, I would just pay the ticket.

By Kate on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 02:47 pm:

I'm confused about this course....I have no problem taking a driving course, but how does it affect the ticket? Do you have to GO to court in order to say you'll take the course and get rid of the points on your license? Or do I tell my insurance company I'll take the course and ask them not to raise my rates? Confused as to how to go about this...

If just showing up at court and pleading not guilty will not change my fine or my points, then I'll just do it by mail. But I see no place where you can say you'll take a driving course anywhere on the ticket.

A lawyer seems overkill, even though it would help. I'm not sure how I would find a 'good' one and not pay a fortune. I wish I was married to one, Ame! :)

Thanks for the advice.

By Yjja123 on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 02:52 pm:

Upstate NY traffic lawyer info:

By Annie2 on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 02:58 pm:

Kate, the info on my ticket was that I could go to the Clerk of Courts to pay the fine or call a number if I wanted to contest the ticket. I paid the fine, at the court and was given a brochure with online Traffic Schools in which to take the four hour course, online or a full day of traffic school. I was given a "diploma" certificate after completing the course which I submitted to my insurance co.
The course online is a four hour course but only takes about 20 minutes of actually reading and answering questions. However log in time is four hours. You can log out/log in at anytime. :)

By Dawnk777 on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 03:34 pm:

I've only gotten one speeding ticket in my life, for going 45 in a 25. (Yeah, I know I was naughty.)

Ticket in 1990, or so, was $120. DH just went to the cop shop and paid it.

I had to endure endless ribbing from my co-workers after it was in the paper.

By Boxzgrl on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 04:57 pm:

I'm another one that agrees to just pay it. Speeding is speeding. It's pretty black and white.

As far as traffic school, i'm not sure how NY works but here in CA I got one a few years ago. When I received the letter in the mail I had the option of going to court and fighting it, paying the fine or paying the fine and an additional fee to take driving classes so it would not affect my insurance. I chose the latter and also had to pay another fee to the actual school itself. I took the class/test and got my certificate. The school mailed in a copy to my insurance company for me and it was settled. No increase in premium or anything. It was pretty simple.

By Amecmom on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 06:53 pm:

Actually, nothing is black and white when the law is concerned. A lawyer will bring forth your clean record and any mitigating circumstances. A lawyer will then negotiate a plea bargain with the court. You may get off with not having anything on your record at all. You may get it acd (adjourned contemplating dismissal) as long as you have no more speeding incidents for a set period.
It really is in your best interests to fight it with an attorney where you are, I can ask hubby if he knows anyone in your neck of the woods that does traffic court.
I had a 45 in a 25 and it took three years to get it off my record. When I applied for new insurance two of the low cost carriers would not even take me. NY insurance is pretty tough.
Just protect yourself the best way possible.

By Mrsheidi on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 11:00 pm:

Luck should have it that I showed up for court for a ticket (lack of insurance papers when I was hit from behind at a red light) and I rode in the elevator with a lawyer. Long story short, it was totally dismissed and I was out of there in a mere hour.
I'd fight it. I'd rather pay a lawyer to keep it off my record. It blew me away how easy it was. You have time to look into it seriously and I would look at the time again...are you sure it's pm??? I seriously doubt that building is open at that time. It must be 7am or 1pm???

By Amecmom on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 11:16 pm:

No, 7:00 pm is right. It's Night Court (like the old tv show). It can go on and on. I know because my hubby ahs had several cases that he did for friends in local justice night courts.
Just keep on keeping on.

By Cocoabutter on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 11:46 pm:

"Actually, nothing is black and white where the law is concerned."

Maybe not, but where morality is concerned, it most certainly is.

IF you want to do the right thing, you will acknowledge that you were in the wrong and accept your consequences.

By Pamt on Monday, October 1, 2007 - 11:52 pm:

I have been to traffic court twice (yeah, I know). Guilty both times, got out of the ticket both times--and with no lawyer. So, obviously I recommend that you go to court.

Here's what happened:
1) Got a ticket on campus at college for going 35 in a 25 mph zone. The ticket was for the county rate instead of the own campus rate. The campus police could write either kind of ticket. I was just going to court to get it reduced to the campus fee versus the county fee which was much more. The judge was impressed that I even showed up, I was the only ticket in court with drug dealers and wife beaters making up the rest of the party, so the judge just laughed at my ticket, waived it, and sent me on my merry way.

2) The second ticket was about 5 years ago. I had had surgery 5 days earlier and had been doing well, hadn't had painkillers in 2 days, and was taking my DS to a slumber party. I was supposed to pick up a pizza on the way home, but I started feeling dizzy and really ill. I had just called DH to tell him I felt bad and not good to drive, but I was about 5 blocks from home. We arranged for him to get the pizza after I got home. My only goal was to get home---I felt so terrible. I had no idea that I was going 40 in a 30 until the sirens went off. I tried to explain to the officer that I was sick and just trying to get home and even asked for a police escort. He thought I was just trying to get out of a ticket.

So...he wrote me a ticket and I went to court. Again I was guilty and I was in court with bad guys in orange jumpsuits with shackles on. Baton Rouge court was a lot different that my previous experience. They called your name and you had to go up in front of everyone and declare guilty or not guilty in a microphone. On my way up there was a defense atty at the table and I stopped by and said, "I don't know how to plead because technically I am guilty, but there are extenuating circumstances." He told me to meet him in the hall and I told him my story (and had my d/c papers from the hospital to substantiate my feeling bad from surgery argument). He said, "Well, the police officer who wrote the ticket isn't here, so if you can get out of this building before he arrives, then there is no case." I told him I was on my way out and it was a done deal. Moral of the story: The police officer HAS to be there in court for there to be a case. In big cities, they often don't have the time or inclination, so if you exert the trouble to appear and he/she doesn't, your case may be dropped.

Take a good book to read, go to court, and give it the old college try. Best case scenario: no ticket, no money spent, no insurance increase, no points on your record. Worse case scenario: you still pay the ticket, but you have an interesting story to tell of your adventure in night court. :)

By Amecmom on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 07:44 am:

I'm sorry but I fail to see where this is an issue of morality. We've all exceeded the posted speed limit. Kate had the misfortune to have some officer lying in wait. I DETEST speed traps. If an officer is out on normal duty and observes someone driving dangerously then I absolutely agree that a trafic stop is in order. But - to be taking radar on a country road is really like being a spider waiting for a fly.
There is no great "moral" boon to Kate if she "owns up to it in court" there will be no great catharsis. All that could happen is that she will be punished more severly than those who have committed dangerous criminal acts, those who drive under the influence, etc. who have hired an attorney to mitigate the charges.
Let's not turn this into some great test of morality.

By Cocoabutter on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 10:04 am:

Others who posted before me who said that she should pay the ticket were in fact making it about morality, but I was the only one who said the actual word, so suddenly I am the one who turns it into a moral issue?

Just because "we've all done it once or twice" doesn't make it okay for the rest of us. It's the law, and it was broken. The fact is that the right thing to do is to own up to what you did wrong and accept your consequences.

I will leave this alone now. The decision is Kate's to make.

By Bobbie~moderatr on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 11:26 am:

That is right, Kate has to make the decision.

And honestly, is this a post for hurt feelings to come about over? I see where it can come in after reading the above post but it is a speeding ticket ladies and we need to agree to disagree and leave it here.. Moral or unmoral isn't for us to decide or debate, She is the one that will live with her decision to pay or fight. We all fall short when it comes to morality, it is with in our nature.. So her trying to fight a speeding ticket is not any worse or better than one of us forming an opinion and sitting in judgement on those around us. Whether we agree with her actions and decisions or not, We all make mistakes.. We all fall short of perfection. Realizing it is wrong and learning from the lesson is the only thing a person can do.

But to possibly charge $500 for a first time offender, is a bit much for me too and I am sorry but I think I would go to court and see if they could lower the amount of the fine if nothing else.. OUCH!!! that would hurt the bank here... I don't think she is planing on pleading not guilty, as she states it isn't in her, her issue is with the points for her insurance and the cost of the fine. And I think we all would be looking for a way to avoid this, insurance is high as it is. I think the lesson began the moment she got pulled over... Paying higher rates for insurance and having points on her license for years, may be required as a reminder from some but she isn't a habitual speeder.

I was pulled over a couple of years back, speeding in a school zone.. I was late going to get Callie. I had just been on the phone dealing with my sister, her husband had just left to give support in Belgium and was going to be gone for 14 months, she had just found she was pregnant and she was freaking out about having to do this all on her own. I was stressed and had all the what if's running through my head and I was worried about Callie because I was quite a bit late leaving to get her. The lights went off and I broke down.. I had never been pulled over and this was just the icing on the cake of my day.. He ran my license, gave me a warning and let me be on my way. What was the difference?? The officer.. That is all.. He saw me drive by every day for a year at that time and he knew it wasn't my habit and he heard my story and he listened. And honestly I can say I haven't sped since.. I can't say I would never speed again, IF I had to but I try to not get myself stressed for time like that now and I keep a better eye on my speed. It didn't take a hefty fine and points on my record for me to get the hint.. I was spanked hard enough just with having to face the officer in shame and admit I was speeding...

For some it takes a huge fine, points and even a restriction of driving privilages.. For others, just being pulled over does the trick.. A state fine, (although created for good reason, in this case, speeding is dangerous), isn't always a just decision, thus the ability to go to court to plead your case. Otherwise, there would be no pleas and you could be fined for what ever an officer decided you did and you would have no way to deal with it other than pay the fine or go to jail.

As for tax payers money, the court will be in session whether her case is heard or not and she is a tax payer after all thus she pays for the right to use the courts when need be..

Come on, no need for hurt feelings over this.. (music plays) ***Can't you feel the love tonight.....***

By Bobbie~moderatr on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 11:35 am:

Oh and laws.. in general are not always moral and just. If they were, child molesters would suffer greater for their crimes after the first offense instead of being given the chance to re offend and habitual drunk drivers wouldn't be driving on the streets as they clearly don't think the laws apply to them... We can all go on and on about the flaws in our judicial system.. Correct?

By Annie2 on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 12:08 pm:

Kate, how much $ is the ticket?

By Amecmom on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 02:27 pm:

Lisa, I did not directly refer to you in my post. I was not directly referring to your post in particular. If you feel singled out, I am sorry - and I meant no disrespect to you. Indeed several posters mentioned the "morality" aspect of this so I was referring to all of those posts. I did not say that you specifically turned this into a moral issue. From the posts before it, I could see that was where it was headed and I wanted to try and stop it from going there. I really feel that when we all get caught up in judging each other we cause problems and indeed hurt feelings.

By Cocoabutter on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 03:01 pm:

Okay--- Apology accepted. :)

But I still think it's an issue of morality regardless of what the law says we can get away with. :) :)

Kate- let us know what happens.

By Mrsheidi on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 08:03 pm:

You can still be guilty of things and learn your lesson without making it even harder down the road. Just because you're fighting it, doesn't mean you're not means you care about your driving record and, if anything, by showing up with a lawyer lets them know that you DO care. I seriously doubt you're going to speed again...especially with kids on the field trip.

By Kate on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 08:40 pm:

I'm sorry this turned into a debate...that was not my intention. I was seeking advice, preferably from people who had actually been thru it, or knew someone who had. I stated I didn't plan to plead not guilty and my main question was if I APPEAR in court and plead GUILTY, does that somehow benefit me over just mailing the ticket in marked GUILTY. I am trying to speak with as many people as possible who can actually help me with their own experiences or knowledge. Opinions aren't terribly helpful I'm afraid, especially as I said I was planning to plead guilty all along. I was trying to find the best way to do that. Thank you to those who offered advice and BTDT experiences. I appreciate the help. Thank you also, to those who stood up for me. I'm sorry you got dragged into this...again, I had no idea or intention that it would get like this.

And Annie, I don't know the actual cost. All I know is a 'range' that is between $200 and $500. So I'm kind of fumbling in the dark here, which is why I'm trying so hard to figure this all out the best way.

By Crystal915 on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 11:19 pm:

We get that you think it is an issue of morality. Ame was trying to squash this, but you had to get that one more comment about morality in after accepting her apology. Let the judge decide morality, let Ame make her argument for what she thinks is the better choice for this situation (hiring a lawyer), and let Kate make her informed decision she wanted to make in the first place! And, just so we are clear here, NO MATTER WHAT, Kate is facing consequences. She can pay money to the ticket, or money to the lawyer, and the experience is all the same. The difference here is LONG TERM effects of having it on her driving record, but that is not the "punishment" that is going to alter her behavior. I'm sure she feels bad enough about the ticket, we do not need to make her feel like a felon for getting a speeding ticket.

Mods~ I know, I'm probably wrong, but it needed to be said. The attitude of "my way is the right way!!" has never had a place here, and it's unfair to those of us who are willing to live and let live.

By Mlee on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - 11:51 pm:

Hi, I'm new here, but...
I'd advise taking a deep breath and looking closely at all the small print on your ticket. It seems like it must tell you the amount of the fine or else how could you pay it? Every state, city, county, does things differently, but in my experience (with DH's many, many parking tickets:)) there is usually a phone number on the ticket where you can call with questions. You may be able to ask them about court, etc. I don't think I've ever had insurance increase from one moving violation in a five-year period. Good luck!

BTW, I went on an absolutely wonderful field trip with my son's high school class last week. I ended up sitting quietly in the sun in a pristine old-growth forest thinking, "Finally a field trip that balances out that day at the zoo with my daughter's preschool!" Since DD is almost 22, you can tell that preschool trip was ALMOST as bad as yours! I really admired you for having the enery to go back to the meeting that evening. I would've taken two asprin and gone to bed!

By Vicki on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 07:04 am:

Well, before everyone starts scolding everyone, I believe it should also be said that not everyone lives in the same state or has the same experience.

I have gotten 2 speeding tickets in my lifetime. Both of them clearly said an amount to pay and an address to mail it to if I didn't want to fight it. I purchased a money order and put it in the mail, the end. There was also a place, date and time to show up if I wanted to challenge the ticket.

To my knowledge, my insurance has never gone up because of either one of them. They were about 17 years apart though. Not like I got 2 in a month time frame of anything..... Also, points on my record... I never worried about it. I assume they fall off after a certain time frame. I don't make a habit of speeding or illegal parking or driving drunk, so I never gave that a thought either.

I honestly have no idea why someone would go to court to fight a ticket they got if they know and admit they did it. I even asked anyone to explain that to me in a post above. What possible defense is there? I am guessing by reading some of the above stories that you can go and say you were guilty and somehow still get out of it or get it reduced. I THOUGHT that if you went, you automatically plead not guilty. It makes no sense to me, but if you can go and plead guilty and still get out of it, heck, go for it! I still don't get that.

And Kate, I wouldn't have responded to your post at all since I have no experience going to court for it, but you asked... "What would you do? " and "what do you think" Perhaps if you only wanted to hear from BTDT stories, you should have been a little more clear on that. I know it was never my intention to put you down that you would need standing up for. I was only giving you what I would do and what I thought. Sorry it made you feel bad. It was not my intention.

By Bobbie~moderatr on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 08:32 am:

come on... really...

Everyone has a right to their opinion, no one's is necessarily right and Kate has gotten plenty of input on this. It is up to her to decide.

And Kate, Call the number on the ticket, that is what I have to do with the three stop sign violations Rob has had over the years, as they didn't list the cost on them either. They will tell you how much the fine is. I would be trying to figure out how much it is going to cost me before I do anything else. If it is a couple hundred it might be worth just paying it off and letting it go. You could also contact you car insurance and talk to them, explain the ticket and find out what the damage will be if it remains on your record. Take the cost of the ticket and the information from the insurance company and then decide what you need to do next..

By Ginny~moderator on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 10:06 am:

Before you call your auto insurance company, read the policy. Mine says very clearly how many points in what time frame will result in an increase in my premium for a specific number of policy years. The problem with speeding tickets, as I understand it, is that the number of points depends on how many mph you were over the speed limit.

As for going to court - your decision. Someone posted above that if the officer doesn't show the case will be dismissed, and that is usually the case for tickets. However, if you are talking about a rural or suburban area (or, for my area, a high speed road is almost always State Police), the officer is pretty likely to show, and I am making an assumption that the court notifies the officer if one of his/her ticketees (I know, it's not a word) has filed for a hearing.

You may be able to negotiate fewer points. I doubt you will be able to negotiate a smaller fine. My oldest got a moving violation ticket and, after one of the attorneys in my office had a chat with the ticketing officer, the officer changed it to a non-points ticket rather than one with 3 points. My son showed up in court, pled guilty to the non-points ticket, paid the same fine (plus the court costs), and learned a driving-carefully lesson that he won't forget (it was a $500 ticket plus court costs of about $80).

By Reds9298 on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 10:48 am:

Ditto Crystal. Really, if speeding is immoral, I'm going straight to H-E-L-L!!!!!!!!!!

(And yes, I'm feeding the debate so slap on the hand to me.)

This post in general has been interesting and informative, as someone whose never gotten a speeding ticket and speeds ALL the time. Now I have some info for that dreaded day when I get busted. :)

By Tarable on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 10:56 am:

Why would you call your insurance company? That seems like a silly thing to do for a ticket. First a lot of companies don't do anything for one speeding ticket (I work for a company that writes the computer software that insurance companies use to write their policies in many different states). Second it would not affect your rates until you renew and that is only if they do a MVR (moving violation report) before they renew you (and some don't).

As far as how many points are charged for a speeding ticket that totally depends on the company and some don't charge any for the first speeding violation. Most also don't charge points for how many mph over, the ones that do is more than 15 or 20 and then it is normally the difference between 1 and 2 or 3 points.

As far as the defensive driving course you can take it anytime and turn in the certificate to your insurance company (not telling them any reason for taking it) and they will normally give you a discount on your rates, but not all companies do this so you might want to ask your insurance company before taking the course. Anyone can do this anytime.

I hope the insurance information helps.

And from a BTDT speeder you can as everyone else said call the number and find out exactly how much the ticket is without even saying what you are deciding to do about it yet. I have always just mailed my ticket in with a guilty plea and a money order (just so I have protection). But I have taken defensive driving a few times over the years.

Good Luck!

By Vicki on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 10:57 am:

I don't think anyone was saying speeding is immoral. I am reading it as trying to get out of a ticket/punishment is making some question it.

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