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Old 02-06-2012, 04:11 PM   #1
Engineer
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Default Anyone been successful at getting a speeding ticket thrown out or reduced?

Was called out on a job today that turned into a nightmare (time wise). Was told to drive the shitty company Nissan pickup truck that has numerous problems because the boss said it needed to be driven. This is the first time that I have driven the truck (always drive the Jetta station wagon).

While driving it, I noticed that it shook like crazy between 47 and 60 miles per hour (I assume terribly imbalanced tires). I kept it around 60 to 62 to keep my sanity. Anyway, on the way back to the shop, was coasting down a long hill and a State Trooper came off the Interstate right when I arrived at the bottom of the hill and, at that point, I was doing 65 (55 zone). He nailed me for it. Other than paying the fine and court costs or paying court costs and going to traffic school, any chance that I might talk to someone in the County Attorney office and get this reduced or thrown out? I know that I was speeding but had no idea (long freaking day on that job) that I was going that fast down the hill. I have not had a ticket in over 15 years (FWIW).

Thoughts?

(I suspect that I'll get roasted by ATOT but it is worth a chance)....
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:15 PM   #2
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You should start by telling them your vehicle felt unsafe at the speed limit, so you sped up!

I'd guess you're best off eating this one...
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:19 PM   #3
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You should start by telling them your vehicle felt unsafe at the speed limit, so you sped up!
Don't know about unsafe (maybe) but it was damn annoying. Last vehicle that I had shake that much was a 75 Volkswagen Superbeattle and it had no power steering. I told the boss (owner) that he needs to get that damn thing fixed as it was literally turning the wheel 2 to 3 inches in my hand at times.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:22 PM   #4
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I " got lucky " because my last one was in Dallas... it's such a big city that none of the cops show up.

When I went to court to contest it they dismissed everybodies tickets that showed up. Those who didn't show up had arrest warrants. So I just had to miss 2 hours of work and drive downtown.


Some smaller towns might not be so easy though, especially if they're counting on that money.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:24 PM   #5
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Considering how much other stuff sounds like it was wrong with the vehicle perhaps you could get some leniency or get it thrown out if you stated it was a company vehicle that you were required to drive and you suspect the speedometer on it might be off. Wouldn't surprise me if it really was too with the other things that sound wrong with that truck.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:24 PM   #6
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Don't know about unsafe (maybe) but it was damn annoying. Last vehicle that I had shake that much was a 75 Volkswagen Superbeattle and it had no power steering. I told the boss (owner) that he needs to get that damn thing fixed as it was literally turning the wheel 2 to 3 inches in my hand at times.
"Well, your honor, the vehicle was shaking, so I hit the gas and that seemed to sort things out"

It's not that it was unsafe, it's that your explanation is ridiculous on its face (even though given the way alignment problems work, it's actually a perfectly reasonable thing to do).

Also, I suspect that driving an unsafe commercial vehicle is worse for both you and your company than driving the same vehicle if it were 'personal'. I know it is here in Ontario. I would never tell a judge or cop that something was mechanically wrong with the vehicle I was driving.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:25 PM   #7
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I " got lucky " because my last one was in Dallas... it's such a big city that none of the cops show up.

When I went to court to contest it they dismissed everybodies tickets that showed up. Those who didn't show up had arrest warrants. So I just had to miss 2 hours of work and drive downtown.


Some smaller towns might not be so easy though, especially if they're counting on that money.
Nah, I won't be contesting it in court. I assume if I lose, it will end up costing more money (and time) as well as showing up on my record with NO chance of going to driving school to avoid a record hit (and therefore, insurance hikes). I may try the County Attorney office, and if that doesn't work, I'll just head downstairs, pay the court costs and sign up for traffic school (*argh - 4 hours of boring hell*).

I don't know if the cop would show up or not. He must have set up a speed monitoring zone though as he had someone else pulled over at the bottom of that same hill when I left work.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:27 PM   #8
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"Well, your honor, the vehicle was shaking, so I hit the gas and that seemed to sort things out"

It's not that it was unsafe, it's that your explanation is ridiculous on its face (even though given the way alignment problems work, it's actually a perfectly reasonable thing to do).

Oh, I know. It's either go 45 or under or get past the resonating point of the tire bounce. Not many people will slow it down to under 45. Just easier to go 60 or faster than it is to slow down to under 45. Of course, I could just have driven at 55 and taken the shake.

To be honest, I had no idea that I was doing 65 anyway. Not a good judge in that vehicle.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
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wow.. 10mph gets u a tix on KY!?

dc area i've been going 13mph over the speed limit (100k+ miles) w/o a problem, unless it's a speed camera.

passed ALOT of speedtrap cops along the side of the road going that fast.

as for your tix, is it worth your time to fight it?

if not, just pay it.

if u do fight it, ask for how the cop determined u were going that fast.
ask for last time that equipment was properly calibrated.
ask for when the cop was trained in using that equipment.

and say u didnt know u were going that fast. u were just going w/the flow of traffic.

edit:
in VA, to goto driving school to wipe out the tix, you have to goto court and get the judge to ok that. if u just show up to driving school, u only get lower rates on your insurance. (1st hand experience 10+ yrs ago. judge ok'd it since it was my first offense <in VA>. )
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:32 PM   #10
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Go to court, and don't say anything about the vehicle other than you weren't familiar with it. If you mention the condition, they'll spin it into reckless driving, and you'll get nailed. Just go to court, and don't contest it. Maybe your cop won't show up.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:35 PM   #11
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wow.. 10mph gets u a tix on KY!?

dc area i've been going 13mph over the speed limit (100k+ miles) w/o a problem, unless it's a speed camera.

passed ALOT of speedtrap cops along the side of the road going that fast.

as for your tix, is it worth your time to fight it?

if not, just pay it.

if u do fight it, ask for how the cop determined u were going that fast.
ask for last time that equipment was properly calibrated.
ask for when the cop was trained in using that equipment.

and say u didnt know u were going that fast. u were just going w/the flow of traffic.

Actually, I was going with the flow of traffic...I had just changed to the left lane as the other two turn onto the Interstate and I was the one in the left lane when he pulled onto the road (coming toward me). It was much easier to catch me as others were in the right lanes turning off that road.

As I said, I won't be "contesting" the ticket other than to ask (if I even do that) they can give a guy a break for driving a vehicle that I was not used to (that shook at certain speeds) and my speed was faster at the bottom of the hill than at the top. I admit that I generally drive between 55 and 60 in my car on that same stretch of highway. If it had been my car, I most certainly would not have been pulled over to 10 mph over (maybe 5 but not 10). As for the 10mph over, I guess it must be revenue time as I said, he was pulling others over on the same hill.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:36 PM   #12
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Go to court, and don't say anything about the vehicle other than you weren't familiar with it. If you mention the condition, they'll spin it into reckless driving, and you'll get nailed. Just go to court, and don't contest it. Maybe your cop won't show up.
If I don't contest it, won't I automatically be guilty?
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:36 PM   #13
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not only were you breaking the law by speeding, you also endangered the lives of other drivers by knowingly driving a hazardous vehicle on public roads. i bet you didn't even wear you seatbelt.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:37 PM   #14
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Go to court and talk to the DA. For such a minimal overage he'll probably give you a chance to plead guilty to a lesser charge and smaller fine.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:37 PM   #15
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not only were you breaking the law by speeding, you also endangered the lives of other drivers by knowingly driving a hazardous vehicle on public roads. i bet you didn't even wear you seatbelt.
I always wear my seatbelt and if you are a passenger in my car, you'll buckle up or you won't be riding with me so you can stick that troll comment in places to the dark side.

As for knowingly driving a hazardous vehicle, only after I started out did I find out about the tires (or whatever) being out of balance.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:39 PM   #16
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If I don't contest it, won't I automatically be guilty?
Not if your cop doesn't show up. No evidence against you. If your cop does show up, many times you get credit for going to court. That's a huge YMMV depending on jurisdiction, but that's how it is most of the places I've been. You'll generally make out better than if you just pay the ticket.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:39 PM   #17
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Nah, I won't be contesting it in court. I assume if I lose, it will end up costing more money (and time) as well as showing up on my record with NO chance of going to driving school to avoid a record hit (and therefore, insurance hikes). I may try the County Attorney office, and if that doesn't work, I'll just head downstairs, pay the court costs and sign up for traffic school (*argh - 4 hours of boring hell*).

I don't know if the cop would show up or not. He must have set up a speed monitoring zone though as he had someone else pulled over at the bottom of that same hill when I left work.
I don't know about your state, but in CA, if you contest in court (and lose), there are no additional fees. Also, I've never seen a judge refuse traffic school because someone lost. In fact, they use that as the conciliation prize: I'm not going to rule in your favor, but I'll let you do traffic school.

There really are only two ways of winning this thing (1) hope the cop doesn't show or (2) subpoena the speed gun records and hope that the subpoena falls thru the cracks and nobody produces the records.

As for the esser charge, I assume its a simple speeding ticket, not a reckless driving/exhibition of speed/etc. I'm not sure what they can lower it to.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:41 PM   #18
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Not if your cop doesn't show up. No evidence against you. If your cop does show up, many times you get credit for going to court. That's a huge YMMV depending on jurisdiction, but that's how it is most of the places I've been. You'll generally make out better than if you just pay the ticket.
Problem is that I cannot take driving school if I go to court (and makes it worse if I lose in court for whatever reason). Insurance companies love to pile it on with rate hikes for speeding tickets. Going to school avoids the insurance issues.

The only way that I know of is to take to the County Attorney (i.e. traffic prosecutor) and see if they are in a good mood or if I need to go downstairs and pay up and sign up (for school).

Oh, and if anyone is curious, it's $163 ($20 fine and $143 court costs) for going 10 mph over.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:42 PM   #19
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I don't know about your state, but in CA, if you contest in court (and lose), there are no additional fees. Also, I've never seen a judge refuse traffic school because someone lost. In fact, they use that as the conciliation prize: I'm not going to rule in your favor, but I'll let you do traffic school.

There really are only two ways of winning this thing (1) hope the cop doesn't show or (2) subpoena the speed gun records and hope that the subpoena falls thru the cracks and nobody produces the records.
That might be worth investigating. I may call the courthouse and see if that's possible. Thank you.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:44 PM   #20
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Call the prosecutor, tell him the accuracy of the speedometer in the truck and the state trooper's measuring device and training aren't worth verifying and that you will plead no contest if the fee is reduced. If he/she doesn't want to do that, you'll have to spend the court's time defending yourself.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:46 PM   #21
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Not if your cop doesn't show up. No evidence against you. If your cop does show up, many times you get credit for going to court. That's a huge YMMV depending on jurisdiction, but that's how it is most of the places I've been. You'll generally make out better than if you just pay the ticket.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the cop is an "officer of the court" and his/her sworn statement is evidence against you. He/she doesn't have to be there to recall the events in person, that's what the sworn statement is for. This is often misunderstood.

Now, many times judges are annoyed when the officer doesn't show up because everyone in the room is there because he/she wrote a ticket, and because of this will throw cases out BUT you can't assume this will happen.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:47 PM   #22
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Problem is that I cannot take driving school if I go to court (and makes it worse if I lose in court for whatever reason). Insurance companies love to pile it on with rate hikes for speeding tickets. Going to school avoids the insurance issues.

The only way that I know of is to take to the County Attorney (i.e. traffic prosecutor) and see if they are in a good mood or if I need to go downstairs and pay up and sign up (for school).

Oh, and if anyone is curious, it's $163 ($20 fine and $143 court costs) for going 10 mph over.
The way it works in MD is you show up for court. They bring the cop up with their ticket book, and call the people in that book. You then plead guilty with an explanation. If you aren't a dickhead in court, and the cop says you were decent at the stop, the popular consolation prize is full fine+court costs but NO points(important!).

If your cop doesn't show up, you plead not guilty, and you're dismissed. Everyone, including the judge knows you're full of shit, but that's how the game's played, and everyone accepts it.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:48 PM   #23
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Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the cop is an "officer of the court" and his sworn statement is evidence against you. He doesn't have to be there to recall the events. This is often misunderstood.

Now, many times judges are annoyed when the officer doesn't show up because, everyone is there in the room because he/she wrote a ticket, and because of this will throw cases out BUT you can't assume this will happen.
Not in MD. I've been to court enough to know the routine ;^)
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:51 PM   #24
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Not in MD. I've been to court enough to know the routine ;^)
If you say so I am inclined to believe you, but most jurisdictions do not work this way. Do you know for a fact the judge isn't throwing the case out on annoyance? If the officer's sworn statement isn't evidence I feel bad for any cop working up there - that's essentially why they write reports, so they don't have to recall every detail on the stand.
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:52 PM   #25
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Not that it helps you, but the only ticket I ever got thrown out was an especially bad one. I got ticketed for driving the wrong way up a one way street with no license, no registration, and no proof of insurance. All that stuff was actually current, I just didn't have the paperwork. Brought it all into the courthouse, and the judge forgave the ticket.
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