T Nation

Going to Court, First Speeding Ticket


I'm going to court tomorrow, pleading Guilty with explanation for a speeding ticket. I'm so nervous. Can anyone who has been to court before for a speeding ticket tell me what happens, how long it takes, what questions they ask, etc? Basically what happened? I don't want to collapse before the judge because of my anxiety disorder.



Why don't you just get an attorney? You don't need to show up to court and you will save some points on your driving record.


Show up to court and plea bargain a lesser offense. It is almost automatic.


When I went, if you plead guilty, end of story, no explanation. Now, that may just have been that judge..maybe it's my county or state, Idk, my experience.

My recommendation, which was recommended to me by everyone I know, including cops and lawyers I know, was to always plead innocent in traffic court. You have nothing to lose really. They can only fine you so much. Not like you fight it and lose and they say 'Well, you fought us, so were, going to tack on another couple thousand.' But if you plead not guilty, the judge may or may not give you a chance to explain right there (my judge did) and they have to decide to take you to trial or not...they have to pay for the judge and all other court employees (stenographer, bailiff, etc) to be there and for the citing officer to come in...if they're going to only get a couple hundred from you and the state is broke....if you plead a good enough case, they may dismiss it right there in traffic court, this is what luckily happened to me.

Even if it goes to court, the cop has to show up (which a lot of departments are requiring right now anyways..so not as useful as it used to be). And then there are tons of little tricks on your side...last time the radar gun was calibrated, last time the cop went to speed estimation school, and how they did, weather conditions, traffic conditions, visual obstructions that could have impeded the officers view, etc.

So, summary, fight it. Either way you're paying the same amount, or less.


What state?


Well its kind of late now I can't really get an attorney now. I'm not really street smart when it comes to these things. I have social anxiety disorder and I don't have much experience with stuff like this, which is why I'm so anxious about this. I'm hoping to learn from this situation with interacting with people.

In regards to Big Banana, I'm going to show up to court but I don't really know what to do once I face the judge. What if he asks me a question I don't know the answer to or if I freeze up and can't get a word out? Or do they do all the talking and all I have to say is "I accept your plea deal"?

I keep getting all these weird and bizarre answers from people. Some say I don't have to say anything and others are saying that I have to explain my story to the judge. I just want a concrete answer as to what happens exactly when I go to court, attempting to plead guilty with explanation.


The state of maryland


Thanks for your response benos.

For everyone wondering, here is a link to maryland traffic court. Scroll to pleading guilty with explanation and that's what I did.


I don't think I can change now, I already sent in the sheet with the way I'm pleading.


pleae explain to me what speed estimation school is. Is this a real thing and does it mean cops don't even HAVE to use a radar gun?


I'm not sure how they work traffic offenses in Maryland, but if you want to plead guilty, you can probably just pay the clerk and not even have to go before the judge. Most courts have enough crap on their docket without having to have every traffic offender pleading guilty to go before the judge.


Well, I'm pretty sure a lot of this will vary from state to state..and unless your state says a judge has to say or do a specific thing, it will probably vary greatly on the judge..and how he feels that day. You may be lucky and get to explain yourself. Or you may be unlucky and have a judge that doesn't give a shit and whether you plead guilty or not guilty, will just tell you your fine or court date and be done with you. You got to be prepared for different situations..

Just remember that no one there, besides the judge, gives a shit what you say, they're all busy working on their own excuses lol


How it was explained to me by a deputy sheriff I know is that it is a class they were required to go to to teach them how to accurately estimate the speed of a moving vehicle without use of a radar and use that estimation as an excuse to go after a specific vehicle. If the officer recently went and scored well, they can actually use it in court as an reason for pulling someone over. However, if the officer hasn't been recently, or didn't score well, and they try to use that as a justification for going after your vehicle, very easy to fight...

I'm not an officer and have never been to this school, so this is second hand info to me, but it's still something I want to remember in case I ever need it lol


Why can't you just pay the fine?

I went to court one time for a possession charge. I walked up there, plead not guilty, got laughed at by the judge and was sent on my way. It's not a big deal man. I'm quite introverted with horrible social skills and, although it's getting better (kind of), social anxiety. Once you see how they do things, if you go to court, it's not that big of a deal.


I'm not just paying the fine because I will get two points on my license as well. By going to court and pleading guilty with explanation i will have the chance to simply pay the fine and not get any points. I'm basically just going so I don't get any points on my license.


you might not even go before a judge. Every place does it differently, but if you have a clean record they SHOULD give you a break and just give you a fine for an offense that doesn't put any points on your record. I had a ticket recently for cutting through a parking lot to avoid a red light. When I showed up to court for it they took everyone that had clean records and we waited, a guy came out and said we are all getting a fine for faulty equipment or something and just had to pay $150. Relax dude, its just a traffic ticket.


Typically the citing officer or the prosecutor will approach you and offer to reduce the charge. If that is not an option for you (the reduced charge still has a point attached) then you better have a good reason for why you violated the law AND why you deserve probation. Don't try to think something up on the fly. If you are still around, feel free to run your speech through here and get some feedback.


Just go in and put the system on trial. Or accuse the judge of being a Nazi sympathizer if its not going your way.


I don't think this is true. the link you provided said if you pay the fine, no points are assessed.


Just pay the ticket, otherwise you waste the courts time, your time and the cost of fighting it may be more than the ticket is worth in your "time".

Why go plead guilty instead of just paying it? It's the same thing. Now yopu go waste more time and money to tell them you are guilty? plead not guilty if you go.



Some cops are even good enough to get recognition for their ability to discern the speed of a car within 2mph.

I think there are 2-5 cops in NYC with that distinction. I have no idea how much weight it holds in court but I know that it helps when other evidence is present.