Virginia speeding ticket: asking for leniency? (72 in a 55)
June 8, 2014 5:44 AM Subscribe
Motorcycle speeding ticket in VA (72 in a 55). I'm not contesting it per se, but is it worth asking for leniency? Details inside.
posted by austere to Law & Government (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hi folks. I received a speeding ticket on the interstate yesterday for 72 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. I was definitely over the speed limit (and I don't contend that it was 72). I'm a bit conflicted because while I was definitely going a bit fast, it was in the context of overtaking a couple of cars whilst merging from a two-lane ramp into another section of interstate, and I hit the throttle a little harder than was (arguably) necessary so as to get into open space and away from the couple of other cars as quickly as possible. That sort of thing quickly becomes second nature on a bike because you are constantly playing keep away with people who are texting or doing their makeup or whatever else while they drive. So while I don't at all argue that I was going 72 MPH (and thus "speeding"), I am a little frustrated in that it feels like a situation where the officer clocked me at the perfect moment (in the middle of overtaking cars so as to create a space cushion for myself for safety reasons & peace of mind). I had barely finished merging into the straightaway when he appeared behind me with his lights on, which is to say that I wasn't just cruising down a straight section of interstate -- I picked up some speed in the course of merging and getting into open space.
Again, I totally understand that he clocked me at 17 over the speed limit, and I don't think that motorcycles are in any way above the law, and while it sounds silly, I take great care these days not to "be a speeder", even if I do occasionally speed within a certain context such as this particular merger in these particular traffic conditions. I asked the officer if I was being unsafe and he said "well, speeding is unsafe", and while I understand his point, it simply isn't that cut-and-dry with a motorcycle, and I feel that I was being much safer by taking preventative evasive action than by taking my chances with someone who may well be trying to merge lanes while texting or whatever.
Another note which may or may not be of relevance is that I've had (I think) 4 speeding tickets in my life, the last of which was a reckless driving ticket in November of 2009. I got my first motorcycle shortly after that and I haven't received a ticket in the nearly 5 years since as I've taken care to ride as safely as possible. I'm quite proud of that fact, and I'm very disappointed to have received a ticket such as this in the course of what feels like "normal riding" (i.e. accelerating to create space, as opposed to simply cruising at high speed).
Is it worth the effort of going to court to explain to the judge the context of the situation? I really worry that I sound like I'm trying to spin careless speeding as "defensive riding", but there really is a huge difference between accelerating to create a space cushion versus cursing at sustained speeds for the hell of it. Is there any chance that a judge might reduce the fine or something? Is it even worth the trouble?