It was worth it. Damn that was fun
December 22, 2005 2:52 PM   Subscribe

I just got a speeding ticket in my good ol' hometown in Colorado. Ordinarily, not such a strange thing. But now I reside in California. I have a court date. What do I do?

So catch this. On the ticket they have a special place marked "Neighborhood Speeding Enforcement Overtime", which basically means—the cop even admitted this when I asked—it's high time to catch high schoolers speeding. But far from being a high schooler, I'm home for the holidays from the Real World™ and was showing off my parents' fast little car to a friend I hadn't seen in a while.

Short story: 20 mph over the limit requires a court visit.

The problem is, the court date is set for a time when I will be long gone, back to California. I just called the court and they said to call once the ticket is actually in the system (7-10 days) and they would set up a "mail deposition". I have no idea what that entails. If I still lived in Colorado, I would go to court, take the plea bargain and ditch a few of the points, pay the fine and go on my way. But now I'm out of state. What can I expect in terms of representing myself in court via the post office? How do things like points and fines work when you're crossing state lines?
posted by symphonik to Law & Government (19 answers total)
Best answer: Mail Deposition means that you appear in the court via a letter to the court explaining what your plea is and what your excuse for a plea is. You can also hire a lawyer to appear in your stead, who might have a chance of getting you off on it.

Colorado reports the violation to other states. Not sure if they have reciprocity with California or not, but most states do have reciprocity these days. 20 over isn't *that* bad, but will add a lot of points to your CA license.
posted by SpecialK at 2:57 PM on December 22, 2005

Best answer: P.S. -- Public streets are not the place to "show off".
posted by SpecialK at 3:01 PM on December 22, 2005

How far beyond 20 mph over were you? If it's close, I recommend finding the phone number of the prosecutor, calling and offering to plea down to 19 over.
posted by exogenous at 3:04 PM on December 22, 2005

Response by poster: SpecialK, yeah, I agree. I just saw the open stretch of road and my friend hadn't seen the car before ... ah, friggin' testosterone.

exogenous, it was precisely 20 over, so that may be a very good option. I think it would plea-bargain that way anyway, down to a 4-point 10-19-over instead of a 6-point 20-39 over, but I do need to verify that.
posted by symphonik at 3:07 PM on December 22, 2005

Response by poster: How much does a traffic lawyer cost anyway?
posted by symphonik at 3:08 PM on December 22, 2005

Oh, do tell what car was worth 20 over in another state.
posted by kcm at 3:08 PM on December 22, 2005

Response by poster: kcm, blistering sarcasm aside, it was a new Nissan 350Z. For the twice a year I get to drive it, it was worth feeling those G's.
posted by symphonik at 3:15 PM on December 22, 2005

A 350Z is in no way "little". :)
posted by linux at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2005

Response by poster: Hehe. Hey, I'm 6' 6". Unless I'm climbing into a Hummer or an Abrams's little. :)
posted by symphonik at 3:32 PM on December 22, 2005

Fight tickets remotely via a little-known system of "appearing" in court by mail.
posted by frogan at 3:56 PM on December 22, 2005

Actualy, radar guns are +/- 4mph anyway, so if you were going exactly 20 they shouldn't be able to give you a ticket for 20+. That's why officers always knock off some speed.
posted by delmoi at 4:10 PM on December 22, 2005

I recently got a speeding ticket in northwestern Colorado (80 in a 55). My ticket gave me the option of paying within 20 days, so I would get 4 points instead of 6, and no necessity to appear in person. Is this option not available to you, as it is standard procedure for speeding tix in CO.
posted by madstop1 at 5:37 PM on December 22, 2005

Actualy, radar guns are +/- 4mph anyway.

Maybe in baseball (when you're aiming at a ball that decreases in speed rapidly), but not with speeding cars. Cops may knock some off because they're nice guys, but radar guns are pretty accurate. Some lawyers used to request the calibration record of the gun in question, but most municipalities worth their salt stay on top of this for that very reason. You're best bet is arguing that another car was right next to you and the gun picked up him, because radar guns are hard to aim laterally. But that only works if a car was right next to you and the cop was far in front or behind you.
posted by deadfather at 6:51 PM on December 22, 2005

You're=Your. Off to hate myself for the next week.
posted by deadfather at 6:52 PM on December 22, 2005

Actually, when I got a ticket once, the prosecutor, at the mass arraignment for that months' violators, said that radar guns were known to be off by "about 3 or 4 mph" so she would take that into consideration when doing pleas. I think it amounted to where first offense of < 15 over got some annoyance of a fine and could leave with no points or something. (in georgia, they can't even ticket you for 10 over, so the 10-15 range is the true borderline infraction.)br>
I wouldn't know for sure, as I was a good bit over that...
posted by SuperNova at 8:59 PM on December 22, 2005

Oh wow. Unescaped less-thans ate my post and Live Preview didn't warn me! Should've said,

(In Georgia, they can't even ticket you for < 10 over, so the 10-15 range is the true borderline infraction.)

I wouldn't know for sure, as I was a good bit over that...

(and add in, allegedly! Best of luck in beating those crooked speed trappers, symphonik!)
posted by SuperNova at 9:02 PM on December 22, 2005

SuperNova, I agree that it's a common misconception, and that it is occasionally invoked by cops and prosecutors when granting leniency. But I've yet to find a scientific proof that it's true. I'm personally convinced that this tidbit just bled over from its application in baseball.
posted by deadfather at 9:34 PM on December 22, 2005

I've found that speedometers are off by 4 or 5 mph, maybe that's what they mean? Not that the radar was wrong, but that car speedometers are not precisely accurate?
posted by forforf at 6:28 AM on December 23, 2005

With out spending dumb amount of money all radar guns are going to drift off the calibration. Things like temperature changes, both ambient and those caused by the gun components heating up, are going to effect the accuracy of the gun. I'd be surprised if anyone rated their guns for better than 1%. 3mph off at 100mph probably isn't unheard of.
posted by Mitheral at 7:18 AM on December 23, 2005

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