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Old 21st July 2010, 21:00   #1
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Unhappy Got Speeding Ticket in US, What to do?

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Hi fellow team-bhpians.

I wanted to start off my experience on this forum by sharing a travelogue with everyone. However, as fate has it, I am starting off with some help to be sought.

To give the details, I was starting from Milwaukee to Niagara Falls over the 4th of July weekend. It is roughly a 11 hour drive with due breaks. As happens with all of the trips (at least mine), started the trip almost 1.5 hours late. Left at 5am instead of the planned 3:30am.

Now coming to the point:
I was pulled over by a cop for speeding barely 10 minutes after leaving home. I was doing 80mph on a 65mph zone on the interstate. Have got a ticket for 200 bucks and 4 points on my license. Since this is my first offense, and $200 being a big deal (I was planning to buy an XBox, and this fine would go out of the same fund ), I plan to talk to the prosecutor on the assigned court date and see if I can lower the amount and reduce the points.

Now, the facts:
- I was on the left most lane and there was an SUV to my right (the center lane) and we both were cruising at the same speed.
- A car behind me wanted to pass and I was hesitant to speed further up and pull to the center lane in front of the SUV to give way to the car behind me.
- The cop was by the right side of the interstate with a speed gun. And as soon as the SUV saw him, he braked and I braked too.

Now, the questions that I have:
- First, how can I be sure that the cop did actually catch my speed and not the SUV's especially since the SUV was between me and the cop?
- Second, since this is my first offense (by the way I got the license a year back and had been driving on an International permit for a year before that), can I expect the prosecutor to show some leniency (I know I did wrong and I have to pay the fine, but can the fine and point be reduced?).
- Third, do I have to wait till the assigned court date to be able to talk to the prosecutor or can i talk with him/her before that?

It would be great if fellow team-bhpians could help clarify my doubts and provide their suggestions.

Thanks
-Vijay
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Old 21st July 2010, 21:47   #2
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Now that was plain unfortunate (not the getting ticketed part, but the fact it happened at the start of your trip). Recommendations and suggestions would vary state to state but I will take the liberty of penning down few instances encountered by colleagues and action taken.

1. State : GA - Person caught doing 90 on 70 and was fined 150$. No contest, fine mailed in.
2. State : GA - 75 in 55, cited for speeding, fined 200$ and court date provided. Person went to the court, officer did not turn up. Person is out scot-free.
3. I have heard about the incident above with minor variations applicable to NC, VI and NJ.
4. A friend of mine agreed to community service to get the fine and points waived off.

hope this helps.
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Old 21st July 2010, 22:48   #3
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Couple of things here:

1) You had the right to ask the cop to show you when his radar gun was last calibrated. In some instances, with some quick talking, you might be able to shake yourself out of a situation and not get a ticket. Happens more if you have a longer driving history.

2) Did you ask the cop why he did not stop the SUV, since both of you were going at the same speed? Typically, a cop can/must stop speeding vehicles and ticket them together. may not happen all the time, but this is something that gets done (especially if you go through some counties where the speeding rules are extra strict).

3) You have every right to go to court and contest your ticket. Sometimes, the judge will let you go asking you the pay a portion of the fee, and also going through a Defensive driving/Safe driving course (taken online, credits for a certain number of hours). With that, you don't get the points on your license (rules vary from state to state, so your best bet is to call the local DMV and ask them).

Personally, I've never been given a ticket, so I can't give you more advice on this. I'll talk around and see what others recommend.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 00:56   #4
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In California, you can request a trial by declaration on most vehicle code infractions. I am sure it should be the same in Wisconsin (thats your home state, right??) This is a perfect instance for that. The usual tricks are the following:

1. When you receive the ticket, note the expiration date, which is the date you must appear in court for an arraignment. It is NOT the date of the trial, or the date the officer shows up.

2. Between one week to the day of the arraignment, as shown on the ticket or on the reminder notice, request an extension. https://www.acgov.org/mvp_app/CitationServlet for citations in Alameda County (where Pleasanton is located... google for your county). That gives you 60 days from the date you request the extension.

3. Prior to the 60 days being up, request a night court arraignment. Pleasanton has night court once a month, on the first Tuesday of the month. This should push you back another couple of months.

4. At night court arraignment, request trial by declaration when you see the judge. (If you can't make the arraignment, before the date of night court arraignment, ask the clerk to go for trial by declaration. Occasionally commissioners are stingy on giving TBD in person so asking a clerk a couple of days before arraignment may be better.) Be prepared to have the full amount of the fine available by cash or check (although most courts accept credit cards now).

5. Fill out the trial by declaration, and put down "I'm not guilty" (literally, just those three words, although if you want you can ask the court to find you not guilty "in the interest of justice" by pleading poverty). DO NOT try to describe why you are in the right. The officer sees that and those will be the points he will make extra-sure to cover at trial, should you go to this step (see below). Turn in the trial by declaration, in person to the clerk, the last day allowed (printed on the TBD form), or certified-mail it a week before the due date.

6. Wait for the officer to respond. Many times they are busy, can't remember, or get transferred. (If you do this correctly, you are now 6 months past the date of the incident.)

7. If the officer doesn't respond, you win and can expect a check back within 4-8 weeks. (Many times, local cops don't respond.) If he does respond, file for a "Trial de Novo" (the form is online), by the last day printed on the adjudication of the trial by declaration.

8. While filing the Trial de Novo, you can subpoena the officer's statement so that you have it in front of you prior to trial. (There are forms online for that.)

9. On the court date assigned, show up to court, and THEN plead your case.
This will drag out the process over 9 months from the date of the ticket. The longer the defendant drags it out, the more likely they will win their case.

Many people have tried this trick and have succeeded in wining the case. Let us know your updates on the proceedings...

Last edited by buntydey : 22nd July 2010 at 00:58. Reason: Formatting
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Old 22nd July 2010, 02:11   #5
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Was it the turnpike innterstate?
I would say you were unlucky. I was doing around100 on I-94, however cop just flash his lights and i reduced speed immediately.
In any case do let us posted regarding updates.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 11:49   #6
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Pay and drive on

Maybe collect more

Drive safe.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 13:03   #7
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I suggest you use google. There are various forums on the internet which discuss how to win cases in the court.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 16:37   #8
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As this was your first offence, friends have told me that the judge is leniant at times.
Go to court, and plead with the judge citing that this was your first offence, and if you could be given another chance.
If he doesn't agree, pay the fine.

See, it doesn't make a difference what the SUV was doing. Fact is that you were speeding.
Also, cops tend to be more strict about people speeding on the left most lane as opposed to the center lane. Also, since you guys were cruising at the same speed, it would have made more sense to drive behind the SUV in the center lane rather than blocking the left most lane, which is meant for overtaking.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 17:41   #9
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A bit OT, but it would be helpful if someone can help me with this question.

If you are on a short trip to US and using a rental car with valid India driving license and got pulled over by the cops for speeding, do you still get a ticket? If you are going to return back shortly, how and when do you pay. Will they even be able to track if you leave the country without paying?
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Old 22nd July 2010, 17:47   #10
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@Bunty Dey, this was in Milwaukee & not in CA. Vijay will need to look at his options in his home state. Though, like TSK said, Vijay can google up for information about responding to traffic violations relevant to his home state.

The cop would most times catch one person at a time - unless it is more than just over speeding.

I'd say pay it & move on. Though the points and any insurance premium increases are going to be a pain. You could also go to the court and try to explain what happened .. may be you could get lucky.

But I'd definitely suggest not to try tricks like extending dates etc. Keep it simple, but do try to find a fair way to reduce your damage.

Last edited by condor : 22nd July 2010 at 17:48.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 17:54   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
@Bunty Dey, this was in Milwaukee & not in CA. Vijay will need to look at his options in his home state. Though, like TSK said, Vijay can google up for information about responding to traffic violations relevant to his home state.

The cop would most times catch one person at a time - unless it is more than just over speeding.

I'd say pay it & move on. Though the points and any insurance premium increases are going to be a pain. You could also go to the court and try to explain what happened .. may be you could get lucky.

But I'd definitely suggest not to try tricks like extending dates etc. Keep it simple, but do try to find a fair way to reduce your damage.
True, its in WI, and not CA. What I wrote is the most successful trick used by many people across US, not just in CA, coz the rights that I mentioned (to demand trial by declaration, night court arraignment, etc) are the same across US. I myself have used this trick in MA. If you follow the various forums for speeding ticket court trials, viz fatwa****, you will know what I mean.

But, frankly I would say, pay the fine, and move it, coz the hassles are a lot more (I know this better). Take it as a lesson for the next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grules View Post
A bit OT, but it would be helpful if someone can help me with this question.

If you are on a short trip to US and using a rental car with valid India driving license and got pulled over by the cops for speeding, do you still get a ticket? If you are going to return back shortly, how and when do you pay. Will they even be able to track if you leave the country without paying?
I never faced this issue till date coz I have a US licence, but I know people who were caught by cops, and were let go since they had an Indian licence, which is no good for them to track or issue tickets.

Note from the Team-BHP Support Team : Please use "Multi Quote" option for quoting Multiple posts, instead of creating another back-to-back post.

Last edited by Technocrat : 23rd July 2010 at 01:51. Reason: Please read the note in your post, thanks
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Old 22nd July 2010, 18:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmxylorider View Post
Now that was plain unfortunate (not the getting ticketed part, but the fact it happened at the start of your trip).
You bet it was. I was sulking the whole trip. Just thought, well, i got off with a fine, something worse could have happened.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mmxylorider View Post
2. State : GA - 75 in 55, cited for speeding, fined 200$ and court date provided. Person went to the court, officer did not turn up. Person is out scot-free.
I am hoping that would be the case with me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitin View Post
Couple of things here:

1) You had the right to ask the cop to show you when his radar gun was last calibrated. In some instances, with some quick talking, you might be able to shake yourself out of a situation and not get a ticket. Happens more if you have a longer driving history.

2) Did you ask the cop why he did not stop the SUV, since both of you were going at the same speed? Typically, a cop can/must stop speeding vehicles and ticket them together. may not happen all the time, but this is something that gets done (especially if you go through some counties where the speeding rules are extra strict).
As i said, this was the first time i was pulled over by a cop and i panicked a bit. All these questions didn't run through my mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitin View Post
Personally, I've never been given a ticket, so I can't give you more advice on this. I'll talk around and see what others recommend.
Thanks for the help, bro.


@buntydev: Thanks for your detailed suggestions. I would try and do that, but my first preference would be to reduce the fine and points on the first court date and get done with it. Knowing me, this process would keep me on the tenterhooks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by akas_chauhan View Post
Was it the turnpike innterstate?
No, it was much before that. I-94E down by Racine, WI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akas_chauhan View Post
In any case do let us posted regarding updates.
Will do. Hope my experience will help others who, God forbid, land in the same situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
As this was your first offence, friends have told me that the judge is leniant at times.
Go to court, and plead with the judge citing that this was your first offence, and if you could be given another chance.
If he doesn't agree, pay the fine.
Yups, that's what I plan to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
See, it doesn't make a difference what the SUV was doing. Fact is that you were speeding.
Also, cops tend to be more strict about people speeding on the left most lane as opposed to the center lane. Also, since you guys were cruising at the same speed, it would have made more sense to drive behind the SUV in the center lane rather than blocking the left most lane, which is meant for overtaking.
I agree I should have been in the center lane. But the SUV was slower than the speed limit when I was behind him and I shifted to the left lane to overtake him, but he accelerated when I was overtaking him. I guess he didn't like a Camry overtaking his SUV.lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by grules View Post
If you are on a short trip to US and using a rental car with valid India driving license and got pulled over by the cops for speeding, do you still get a ticket? If you are going to return back shortly, how and when do you pay. Will they even be able to track if you leave the country without paying?
I was travelling with a friend who had an Indian license. He was pulled over for speeding. The cop let him go with a warning since he couldn't use his Indian license. Man! How i wish I was driving a rental car.lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
I'd say pay it & move on. Though the points and any insurance premium increases are going to be a pain. You could also go to the court and try to explain what happened .. may be you could get lucky.

But I'd definitely suggest not to try tricks like extending dates etc. Keep it simple, but do try to find a fair way to reduce your damage.
Point taken. I'll try and reduce the fine and hope it doesn't go in my records, else I'll surely end up paying more insurance premium, especially since it's just 2 months away from renewal.

Last edited by Technocrat : 23rd July 2010 at 01:01.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 20:23   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
Also, since you guys were cruising at the same speed, it would have made more sense to drive behind the SUV in the center lane rather than blocking the left most lane, which is meant for overtaking.
Well, I would have presented a case to the officer that I was indeed overtaking the SUV hence on the left lane.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 20:32   #14
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It will be easy to pay up and you dont have to worry too much about what to do. You were over speeding. Cops cannot catch more than one person at a time.
Its really unfortunate though.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 21:48   #15
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Do not plead 'not guilty', as you have yourself confessed that you were speeding.
Plead 'guilty', but request the judge to waive/reduce the fine/points as this is your first offence.

But try and think what would be more worth for you.
Do you want to take day/half day off to drive off to a distant court to fight a traffic ticket? I guess if you work for that 8 hours you can earn more than the ticket amount (IMO). So calculate the real cost and then decide to fight/pay off the ticket.
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