T Nation

Advice for Beating a Traffic Ticket?

Wondering if anybody has any advice on going to court and beating a ticket.

My case involves running a stop sign, specifically a blinking red light. I was turning right onto a road that has a merge lane so it’s a little silly that there is an absolute stop for people turning right but I understand that that would be hard to specify.

It would be like putting one on an interstate on ramp, it’s sort of implied that you don’t run into another car but whatever. Additionally, the cop may have had an obstructed view of actually seeing me go through the light.

Not sure if this is pertinent but it seemed to be one of those set ups where a couple officers were pulling people over right and left. Possibly to meet their quota?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, especially from officers on here! Thanks!

You rolled through a flashing red light. You’re guilty regardless of the intent of the officers.

Avoid wasting time at court and simply mail them a check.

[quote]Radcon wrote:
Wondering if anybody has any advice on going to court and beating a ticket.

My case involves running a stop sign, specifically a blinking red light. I was turning right onto a road that has a merge lane so it’s a little silly that there is an absolute stop for people turning right but I understand that that would be hard to specify.

It would be like putting one on an interstate on ramp, it’s sort of implied that you don’t run into another car but whatever. Additionally, the cop may have had an obstructed view of actually seeing me go through the light.

Not sure if this is pertinent but it seemed to be one of those set ups where a couple officers were pulling people over right and left. Possibly to meet their quota?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, especially from officers on here! Thanks![/quote]

You won’t beat a cop if it comes down to “his word against your own”.

I got a ticket and went to court hoping he wouldn’t show up (which usually means it gets thrown out if it gets contested). I was told by my lawyer that this particular officer NEVER missed a court date if he pulled over someone who had a radar detector (which I had). I ended up having to pay…and I am pretty damn sure you will have to as well.

[quote]Polish Rifle wrote:

You rolled through a flashing red light. You’re guilty regardless of the intent of the officers.

Avoid wasting time at court and simply mail them a check.

[/quote]

x2

Just pay it and get on with your life. In the eyes of the law you’re guilty. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are.

The last ticket I got was really stupid. I tried to fight it and the judge decided I was guilty before I even opened my mouth. It didn’t help that the officer lied his ass off too.

I’m on friendly terms with a bunch of CHP officers. I talked with a few of them about my ticket and they said the cop was a retard for writing me up. But still, I was guilty in the eyes of the law.

Just pay it.

In most places they’ll reduce the charge to something that does not involve points on your license. You’ll still pay the fine, but you’ll be points free. That’s the best way to go.

[quote]LankyMofo wrote:
In most places they’ll reduce the charge to something that does not involve points on your license. You’ll still pay the fine, but you’ll be points free. That’s the best way to go.[/quote]

That was the main reason I went to court…to keep it off my record so my insurance wouldn’t be affected.

Does your state offer a “Nolo” plea? Nolo contendere means “I don’t want to contest” and it is short of admitting guilt and in many states results in no points, court costs, and sometimes a driver’s ed class.

As far as a flashing red goes, it is the same as a stop sign - end of story.

Sounds like a confusing intersection.

You only have two chances in hell (without a lawyer) to get out of the ticket. Follow the directions on the ticket to contest it - hopefully you will talk to a hearing officer and, if you haven’t had a ticket in a long time, they will offer to suspend prosecution in exchange for court fees.

Do this - it’ll save you a lot of money on your insurance. You should be able to look at your courthouse’s webpage to see if they offer this program.

Other than that, you can set up a court date and hope the officer doesn’t show. If they do, you will lose (again, you’re not a lawyer), so be prepared to pay some additional court fees. Up to you if it’s worth the gamble.

I don’t know if they do the same thing in the US, but one of my friend who’s a cop in one of the suburbs of Montreal told me that his city bunches all the contested tickets for a cop together on the same court day.

So he basically spends a few days a month in court, all day, simply repeating that what’s on ticket is accurate. If he’s to be believed, unless there’s a glaring technical error on the ticket (like, bad date or time for which the guy has proof he was somewhere else), everybody pays with the added court fees.

So, unless it’s a massive amount, in which case a lawyer is probably a good idea, or you need some time for older tickets to “expire” so that you get permit points back, you’re probably better off just paying it and forgetting about it.

Just showing up to court gives you a 50/50 chance of getting off. The cop has to show up or they throw it out.

In WI they basically have a preliminary hearing before the actual court date to do everything they can to get you the hell out of there so they can deal with more important matters.

Basically, they offered me a deal to cut the fine in half and it was no points off my license. I took it, paid my $72 fine and went on my way. Pretty painless.

[quote]Hemi Cuda wrote:
Does your state offer a “Nolo” plea? Nolo contendere means “I don’t want to contest” and it is short of admitting guilt and in many states results in no points, court costs, and sometimes a driver’s ed class.

As far as a flashing red goes, it is the same as a stop sign - end of story.[/quote]

A “No Contest” plea in VA gets you the same as a guilty plea…courts costs and all.

Here, driver’s can attend a driver improvement style class, which will add (or subtract) points from their license. It’s at your own expense, though. Juveniles get off easy for first infractions. Adults, not so much.

There are so many variances between states, it’d be nice to get someone who’s from FL to chime in.

Thanks for the responses. I figured I’d file a couple of continuances to drag it out and decrease the chance of the officer showing up and possibly try to say that the intersection is confusing with the merge lane, that is if I have to actually say anything.

I’ve heard that cops almost always lower your charge when you show up and I’m hoping to somehow avoid getting the points on my license. A couple of you seemed to say that this was the case. Any more experiences?

just because theres no points, doesn’t mean your insurance rates won’t go up if the insurance company catches it. Least in canadia its like that.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
LankyMofo wrote:
In most places they’ll reduce the charge to something that does not involve points on your license. You’ll still pay the fine, but you’ll be points free. That’s the best way to go.

That was the main reason I went to court…to keep it off my record so my insurance wouldn’t be affected. [/quote]

I have done this as well.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
LankyMofo wrote:
In most places they’ll reduce the charge to something that does not involve points on your license. You’ll still pay the fine, but you’ll be points free. That’s the best way to go.

That was the main reason I went to court…to keep it off my record so my insurance wouldn’t be affected. [/quote]

This is right up my alley and Professor X is right with his reasoning for fighting the ticket. Points mean your insurance rates are going through the roof. Especially if you have any prior convictions or collisions/claims on your record or have recently switched insurance companies.

The officer might not even show up, which is often the case. If he doesn’t, it’s finished.

If you think the officer had an obstructed view, go back and take a picture from exactly the spot that he would have viewed you. If he was sitting in his cruiser, sit in your car while you take it.

If he would have been standing outside the cruiser, stand outside your car. If there were witnesses that you recognize, get their names and contact information.

It still boils down to his word against yours and the one with the most paperwork wins. When and if you’re in court, don’t talk too much either. You will hang yourself.

Certain factors will come into play in court.
Your driving record. Was this your first offense?

How did you react to the citation at the scene? Did you say little or did you try to argue the point at the scene. You know - anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
MsM advise is correct, be your own advocate.

If the intersection had an obstructed view, this could assist your defense and the city (or county) should have to remove the obstruction.
If you have something like a pre-conference hearing (you, the officer and the prosecuting attorney) would the officer be willing to lower the charge.

Does your State allow for a bench hearing, where you get to tell you side to the judge after the prosecutor speaks? The judge then takes all facts into consideration and makes a ruling.

PS, if the Officer has legitimate business else where, the Prosecutor will request a continence from the judge. He can’t be in two places at once. For instance, he may have been subpoenaed to a different court division (like juvenile court)you make have to return to court in 2 weeks. This could cost you lost wages and still not solve anything.

MSM is right, you will need concrete evidence to beat him in court. Otherwise just do traffic school online, pay it, and be done with it.

[quote]Radcon wrote:
I’ve heard that cops almost always lower your charge when you show up and I’m hoping to somehow avoid getting the points on my license. A couple of you seemed to say that this was the case. Any more experiences?[/quote]

I’ve seen some judges do that as well…reduce the charge because you took the time to show up for court. Alternatively, I’ve seen judges get irritated when the layman acts like an attorney. It’s a crapshoot.

If you go to the scene, and are unable to substantiate a legit argument with photos (as MsM laid out), the best second alternative may be to speak with the officer and prosecuting attorney (as said), and see if the officer will agree to something lesser, as in an equipment violation. Agree to the same fine with a guilty plea to defective _______. That may be the best case scenerio; if they don’t want to hear that, try a plea to fail to obey a highway sign, which is still a moving violation that carries points, but a lesser offense (less points and fine) to disregarding a red light.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Radcon wrote:
Wondering if anybody has any advice on going to court and beating a ticket.

My case involves running a stop sign, specifically a blinking red light. I was turning right onto a road that has a merge lane so it’s a little silly that there is an absolute stop for people turning right but I understand that that would be hard to specify.

It would be like putting one on an interstate on ramp, it’s sort of implied that you don’t run into another car but whatever. Additionally, the cop may have had an obstructed view of actually seeing me go through the light.

Not sure if this is pertinent but it seemed to be one of those set ups where a couple officers were pulling people over right and left. Possibly to meet their quota?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, especially from officers on here! Thanks!

You won’t beat a cop if it comes down to “his word against your own”.

I got a ticket and went to court hoping he wouldn’t show up (which usually means it gets thrown out if it gets contested). I was told by my lawyer that this particular officer NEVER missed a court date if he pulled over someone who had a radar detector (which I had). I ended up having to pay…and I am pretty damn sure you will have to as well.

[/quote]

in washington state I was pulled over,well when I pulled over the cop went around me and pyulledt he lady in front of me over.I was not speeding but she was

I thought “ok he didnt want me” and I went again
he jumped on his bike and pulled me over talking about running form the police and whatever.

this cop didnt even show up to court.
I argued the fact that he pulled her over and then me over and that he couldn’t be accurate with the speed on both targets on a curve,in the fog,and the judge said “yes he can,he can pull over 6-7 people if he wanted to hes been doing this along time.”
I also asked the judge about him not showing and she said he didnt have to show he wrote a letter stating what radar he used and that it has been calibrated that day and tested in a controled area before being used.
to me it sounded like a pre written letter that all he does is put a date at the bottom of it and adds it with whatever report he puts in.

bottom line is no mater what,if you are stopped you are not getting out of it.
tell the judge what happened do not lie you are already charged and its not getting any better.
they know everyone makes little lapses of judgment with driving,if you were not a danger to anyone or yourself being stupid they may just take it easy on you depending on your record.
or just pay them say im sorry,get it done with. its not like jail time will be involved with the running a traffic signal thing

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Professor X wrote:
LankyMofo wrote:
In most places they’ll reduce the charge to something that does not involve points on your license. You’ll still pay the fine, but you’ll be points free. That’s the best way to go.

That was the main reason I went to court…to keep it off my record so my insurance wouldn’t be affected.

I have done this as well.[/quote]

x4

In Canada, there are various paralegal type firms that handle traffic tickets. They are all staffed by ex-cops. Basically what they do is contact the court in advance and plead it down to just a smaller fine and no points.

The result was paying an extra $30 dollars (fine plus fee), but no points and no insurance impact.

If you have these use it.