Speeding Ticket Mystery
January 28, 2010 6:03 PM   Subscribe

I was just informed that I have a speeding ticket on my record, yet I was never pulled over. What's going on?

I lived in Northern California until early this month, when I moved to Southern California. This move entailed switching my insurance policy from NorCal AAA to SoCal AAA. When I called today to get a quote, the lady said that I have a speeding ticket on my record. Furthermore, it's a speeding ticket in a 65 zone, meaning it couldn't have possibly been a red light camera. The ticket was on Dec. 24. I was never pulled over (I would definitely remember this), and I never received anything in the mail at either address. I have not changed my address in a long time prior to the recent move. What is going on? How do I get this cleared? Is there a fine coming my way? Will the fine go up if I don't pay it, even though I didn't get any notification? Basically, WTF?
posted by rjacobs to Law & Government (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked at your credit report lately? I would be worried about identity theft.
posted by exogenous at 6:08 PM on January 28, 2010

There're all sorts of automated speed traps going into use around the country. You could have gotten popped by one of those. But, you would think they'd actually send you a ticket, though.

Is it possible that AAA pulled the wrong person's record? My father-in-law goes through a fucking hassle every time he renews his license, because he shares a name and date-of-birth with a drunken, brawling car-thief from Arizona. To the point that he has to prove he's not that person every time he renews. And my father-in-law has never even been to Arizona.
posted by Netzapper at 6:20 PM on January 28, 2010

Just did, credit is excellent, so that's not the issue...
posted by rjacobs at 6:20 PM on January 28, 2010

Can AAA tell you the jurisdiction of the ticket? Then you can contact whoever issued the ticket to figure it out. I had a cop write the wrong license plate down and I had to clear that up in Texas. It could be pretty easy to deal with but you need to know who wrote the ticket (city/county/CHP) to start.

I was under the impression speed cameras are out of commission in California, but they are alive and well in Arizona. You weren't over in the Copper State recently?
posted by birdherder at 6:25 PM on January 28, 2010

I asked AAA for a county, but they didn't know. Also, I should mention that "do nothing" is not the best solution here, because the ticket will increase my premium.
posted by rjacobs at 6:29 PM on January 28, 2010

Maybe the ticket hasn't been mailed yet, or is in the mail?
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:29 PM on January 28, 2010

Does anyone else ever drive your car?
posted by kickingtheground at 6:37 PM on January 28, 2010

Ask AAA where they got the data from. (Probably ChoicePoint.) You can then pull your report from that source and dispute it with them if it is wrong. Or, if your ChoicePoint record is correct, offer to fax it to AAA so they can correct their records.
posted by phoenixy at 6:40 PM on January 28, 2010

My dad found out about a ticket on his record for a car that cost more than he made in two years, on a nearby street he's never driven on, on a date he was not even in the same time zone. It happens...you have to get indignant with whatever municipality issued the ticket.
posted by notsnot at 7:01 PM on January 28, 2010

Notsnot, can I ask what steps he took and what the ultimate result was? At this point, I'm not even sure where to start.
posted by rjacobs at 7:05 PM on January 28, 2010

I would contact your DMV; they will be able to tell you for certain what is up. It is possible that you were mailed paperwork to the wrong address and it was not forwarded properly. I don't know about CA's DMV, but I imagine for a small fee you can get a print out of your driving history and submit it as evidence of a mistake.
posted by Menthol at 7:08 PM on January 28, 2010

If you have time, you can go down to your local DMV office with $5 and get a copy of your record. If it is clean, then it will be proof for you to show to AAA that you're clean. If there is a ticket on there, then it should show the jurisdiction and you can go there to get it straightened out. It could be a dyslexic/fat fingered cop or clerk. It should be easy to clear up.
posted by birdherder at 7:16 PM on January 28, 2010

I received a parking ticket for a city which I had never been to...then I found out several others in my area were receiving the same sort of thing. Turns out, LA County cops were writing tickets on random license plates...

There was a news writeup on it and everything. Crazy stuff.

All I had to do was call the number on the citation and explain. They said the VIN didn't match, and cleared it from my record.
posted by AltReality at 11:10 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

phoenixy is spot on. ChoicePoint maintains a database of insurance histories that are sold to insurance companies to run checks on customers/prospective customers. You can pull your report for free and see if it contains any inaccurate information. Theoretically, the insurance company ought to be giving this to you if you ask, but I would send away for it now.

Since not too much time has passed, it's also a good time to look now and see if you have any documentation that proves where you were on the day in question. Ideally, said documentation will prove where your car was, but proving your location is helpful too. Then, when you contact the municipality that issued the ticket, you have something to give them to show that you're not responsible.
posted by zachlipton at 11:10 PM on January 28, 2010

Get your info from the DMV.

Something like this happened to me once - a car I had owned was totaled in an accident and the plates (illegally) ended up on another car. I live in LA.

Call the DMV. For me, I ended up speaking to an office in Sacramento, but just call whatever help line they list, first.

Google. California has a pretty helpful .gov website. Shouldn't take you long to straighten this out.

Once you have the documentation from DMV, then inform ChoicePoint and AAA.
posted by jbenben at 11:23 PM on January 28, 2010

This happened to me once, my insurance company said I had a speeding ticket, I pulled my record from the DMV, it was clean, and then I went back to the insurance company. They were pretty unhelpful with my DMV record, suggesting there was "nothing they could do" even when they were presented with a clean record. I just attributed it to a scam at the insurance company, and changed providers. When I changed providers, they looked up my record, found nothing on it, and I saved some money.
posted by katypickle at 8:33 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Problem solved! Thanks MeFi for getting me started. Called the DMV this morning, they confirmed that I had a point on my license from Dec. 24 from a camera in Willows, CA. Told them that I didn't even know where Willows was (subsequently looked it up), and that I certainly was not there on the 24th. They transferred me to Glen County superior court. Told my story to a clerk. She looked into it and called me back within the hour. Someone with the same name as me who currently lives in the neighboring city to me who has a birthdate exactly three months prior to me (same day and year) ran the light. They sent him the ticket and he paid it, but a clerk attached it to my license. The court was able to remove it immediately from my record, and my insurance said they would be able to adjust my quote very soon. It's a little scary that this actually happens, but thankfully it was easily corrected.
posted by rjacobs at 10:53 PM on January 29, 2010

« Older Which rock songs climax at the very end?   |   I donated blood and still feel wigged out. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.