March 15, 2006 4:31 PM Subscribe
AllegedSpeedingFilter: What should I expect at my criminal speeding trial?
posted by disillusioned to Law & Government (16 answers total)
In November, I was pulled over by two Arizona DPS officers on the US 60, travelling westbound at the Dobson offramp.
They wrote me a ticket for "criminal speed," paced, with a speed of "90+," (in a 65) though the officer claimed my driving hit 98 MPH. (He was "cutting me a break," and was actually a nice guy in general.)
He stated that he paced me from a quarter of a mile back, at 11:30pm, and couldn't catch me, so he radioed ahead for another DPS officer (travelling eastbound) to spin around and pull me over.
There were other vehicles on the road, including several others travelling at a high rate of speed.
I plead not guilty, and the judge offered me traffic school, which would have taken away this incident entirely. I, however, attended traffic school for another ticket within the 24-month allowed period, and was not eligible to attend. So I was scheduled for a pre-trial conference.
At the pre-trial conference, the prosecutor informed me that I was over the limit for dropping it to a civil citation, but that he could offer me a charge at the Class 3 Misdemeanor of criminal speed and a fine of $150 if I plead out right there.
I chose to go to trial.
My questions are: (and yes, I've read the other speeding threads; none I've found were for a criminal proceeding)
1) Am I stupid for not just taking the plea? The lawyer I spoke to said I'd likely lose, if the officer was there.
2) Does the prosecutor have to inform me he intends to call both officers as witnesses?
3) Is there any reasonable argument to be made about the officer having lost a visual on me from his first (far back) "pacing" of me to when he and the other officer caught up to me, at a lower (but still allegedly in violation) rate of speed?
4) What can I expect from the trial? I'm not willing to toss $850-$1,000 towards a lawyer for a half hour trial, so I'll likely be going it alone. I know to dress nicely, and the prosecutor tells me they'll likely present the car's calibration records for the speedometer and that sort of thing.
5) Will the judge ask any questions on my behalf, or is it up to me to defend myself entirely?
I'm just not too fond of the idea of racking up a class 3 misdemeanor, for insurance and because it's a criminal record, but right now, the $150 is looking decent. (They're not seeking jail time, so I'm not entitled to a defense provided by the state. The prosecutor said the judge would likely follow the bond schedule and fine me around $220, though the maximum is $500.)
6) Any chance I'll scrape by this? Or am I better off taking the plea?
Thanks for all your help. Yes, I know speeding is wrong. Remember, I maintain I was not going as fast as they say I was. I'd also love to hear what a criminal speeding violation will do to someone's job opportunities or rent, though I imagine it's going to look better than "child pornographer" or some such.