I was caught speeding at 97 in a 75... What can I do to get out of it?
June 23, 2012 11:44 AM   Subscribe

I got clocked at 22 over the speed limit. The court date is September 10, the cop told me if I pay within the 20 days, they will drop it from 6 points to 4 points. Should I appear in court? What can I do to reduce this ticket? Will they reduce it if I go to court? How much will this raise my insurance? About me: 23, never had a ticket before this, pulled over once before and given a warning. The ticket is $250.
posted by snow_mac to Law & Government (15 answers total)
We'd need to know what state you're in to give any kind of advice.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 11:45 AM on June 23, 2012

A lawyer can help you. It's expensive, but at least it's a one-time fee rather than jacking up your insurance premiums for the next three years.
posted by something something at 11:54 AM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm in Colorado. I was driving in Weld County on I-25.
posted by snow_mac at 11:54 AM on June 23, 2012

You could consider getting a lawyer. Within a week of getting the ticket, you'll get a bunch of letters in the mail from lawyers. I got a ticket for running a red light once and was more concerned about points on my license than a fine. I called one of the lawyers at random and he ended up (for a reasonable fee) being able to plea my ticket down to a much lower offense that had a lower fine and no points. I saved money in the long run by not having my car insurance rates get jacked up. Plus, traffic court is fun! (If you're not in serious trouble. I imagine it's much less fun if you're in actual trouble.)
posted by Aquifer at 11:56 AM on June 23, 2012

Check into traffic schools like this example
posted by buggzzee23 at 11:59 AM on June 23, 2012

Going to court is usually useful. In Broward County Florida I've always had great luck reducing fees, not getting points and basically hVing a great experience. In Pennsylvania, the magistrates don't have much if a sense of humor.

There's no downside to going to court. If the cop doesn't show up, you're off the hook for free. If he or she does, then you can plead no contest. Even then, the judge/magistrate may look at your record and reduce the charge, reduce the fine, or even give you a chance to go to school, which is the best outcome.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:38 PM on June 23, 2012

If the cop doesn't show up, you're off the hook for free.

Be careful with this idea. This first court date (on the ticket) is not a trial, it is an arraignment. Cops not necessary. So if they don't show, the ticket will not be automatically dismissed.

If you go to trial, that is where the police officer shows up.

So showing up at the court date on the ticket means you can go, might get reductions, plead down, etc., but you are pleading guilty to something. Maybe a reduced charge (parking ticket with traffic school. Whatever). But if you plead not guilty, this is when a trial is set, this is when the cop needs to show, and this is when a ticket may be dismissed if s/he does not. But the court can decide on a continuance.

Looks like you can do Trial by Declaration in CO. This has pros and cons. I would go with a lawyer to sort all this out.
posted by oflinkey at 1:12 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't rely on what the officer may have said. Not that he was lying or wrong, just that whatever he said is not binding on the court, and just plain Not His Job.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:19 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

The system is wise to the game in a lot of places. In California, the officer who shows up to court doesn't even have to be the same cop who gave you the ticket anymore.
posted by rhizome at 1:31 PM on June 23, 2012

Also, was it radar? If so, you may have up to 10mph of fungibility (5 for speedometer slop, 5 for radar gun).
posted by rhizome at 1:33 PM on June 23, 2012

In Virginia that would be reckless driving, on top of the speeding ticket. My friend the traffic attorney seems to have great success so I also vote for not screwing around and getting a traffic attorney. Traffic attorney's understand that they are dealing in relatively small dollar issues. They aren't going to charge you $2000 to work on a $250 ticket. My friend usually meets his clients face to face for the first time at the hearing.
posted by COD at 3:37 PM on June 23, 2012

In Arizona that would be criminal speeding (20+ over the limit.) I don't know what Colorado law is, but considering how fast you were going when you got popped, you might want to make that call to a lawyer just to be on the safe side.
posted by azpenguin at 7:56 AM on June 24, 2012

according to this:

That's a 6 point ticket. Go to court. My experience in Colorado traffic courts have been in Adams & Boulder counties and each time the DA offered a lower point/cost plea bargin. I didnt bring a lawyer in either case. IANAL & YMMV.
posted by cmdnc0 at 11:40 AM on June 24, 2012

I went to court for a reckless driving charge in Virginia (83 in a 70) and got it bumped down to just speeding because I had a decent record. I mailed a copy of my driving record to the court prior to the court date.

I considered a lawyer but took a chance without one, after asking a similar question on AskMe. But 22 over is different than 13, and each state is different, so it might be worth it to at least talk with a lawyer.
posted by alligatorman at 3:41 PM on June 24, 2012

If you can (i.e. it's not several states away), go to court. I have fought several tickets, and they have all been reduced drastically - smaller fine, reduced points, or both. I believe I had good "excuses" for my tickets. But I have seen some VERY feeble explanations get reduced.

So fight your ticket. The worst that will happen is they uphold the ticket, and you pay full price, and points.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:04 AM on June 25, 2012

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