California driver contesting a speeding ticket in West Virginia
April 23, 2014 7:39 PM   Subscribe

A person with a California driver's license gets a speeding ticket while driving through West Virginia. The speed alleged on the ticket was 15 miles over the posted limit. What would be the insurance consequences if the driver simply paid off the ticket without contesting it? How could the driver find out more information about whether s/he should contest the ticket, or plead guilty to a lower speed? In what state should the person be looking for a lawyer to best answer her/his questions? What should be this person's next step? Also, would the answers be different if the alleged speed was 10 (or 9, or 5, or whatever) miles over the posted limit?
posted by mediareport to Law & Government (4 answers total)
As a Californian, I'd be wondering if West Virginia has a traffic school option. I've been ticketed (still in CA) far from my home location (still in CA), such that showing up in court to contest it wasn't really an option. But, I could still do traffic school with online entities recognized by the jurisdiction where I was ticketed. If you're able to do traffic school, it won't show up on your insurance or license at all, but you'll still be paying the ticket, plus the cost of school and maybe a few other fees. In California, whether you can handle a ticket with traffic school depends on the ticket or infraction and whether you've already done traffic school in the last 18 months.
posted by LionIndex at 8:07 PM on April 23, 2014

Insurance consequences - probably not much if you don't already have a lot of tickets. That's assuming your insurance company actually finds out. They pull random driver's records who have current insurance and re-check driving records; it's not like the authorities send notification automatically to all the insurance companies. Some of the shit-kickier bergs don't even report the tickets they write to the clearinghouses where the insurance company can pick up the data if they poll for it.

Generally, if you want to contest a ticket, an attorney local to (or close to) the jurisdiction that wrote it is best. Whoever you hire will have to be licensed for WV regardless.

The rural areas are not as big on doing traffic schools. I asked about traffic school for a ticket I got in a larger city in Alabama where I live and they acted like it wasn't an option (it was my first ticket in some time, which may have been a factor).

Odds are you're better off paying it and moving on. 15 mph over is not that high as tickets go; it's about the threshold at which a lot of cops START writing tickets (at least at highway speeds). If you weren't charged with reckless or any other complicating factors pleading to a lower amount over like 5 or 10 probably doesn't change any of the consequences.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:42 PM on April 23, 2014

This happened to me this last summer - CA drivers license, MI ticket for 2-5 over the limit (I was going a lot faster, but he knocked it down because I haven't had a driving infraction in over 20 years). No option of traffic school. I paid it. My insurance went up just under $200 for the year. Such a bummer, but I didn't see that I had another choice.
posted by cecic at 9:53 PM on April 23, 2014

California driver here. I got a speeding ticket in Middle of Nowhere, Utah and sure enough my insurance got dinged. I spoke to the clerk of the courthouse who told me my only option was to pay the ticket.

In hindsight, contesting the ticket was probably an option. It would probably make sense to find a lawyer where you got the ticket, so they can show up to court on your behalf. Whether it's worth the cost is another question entirely.
posted by phaedon at 11:39 PM on April 23, 2014

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