questionswhat do you do after getting a speeding ticket?

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I went the DA route when I got my first (and so far, only) speeding ticket... I think it was for 49 in a 35 zone. I did get it lowered to something like "failure to signal" or something, anyway fewer points and a slightly lower fine.

If you were speeding, I don't see the point in getting a lawyer... I found it relatively painless to make an appointment with the DA, it only took about 30 minutes, and I paid the fine on the way out. So for me, it'd be between options 1 and 3. How much is your time worth to you?

Now I drive a lot slower in the area where I got ticketed.

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Here's a possibility.
http://www.drivinguniversity.com/north-carolina-online-defensive-driving-traffic-school/
In some cases, you can take a defensive driving course and that speeding ticket will magically disappear. It's lucky you weren't going one more mph, because I think 15mph over the limit is the cutoff. Ask around, I'm not familiar with NC law.

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I was with my buddy in Raleigh about 5 years ago and he got a speeding ticket. He was headed back to Utah in a few days so we went to the courthouse to take care of it and they said it takes a week to show up in the system. I asked what happens if he doesn't pay it and the girl said (unofficially of course) that if he wasn't coming back to NC it didn't matter and recommended he not pay it. That's what he did.

So... leave the state maybe?

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I had the option to go to driving school as well as those other options. I still had to pay court costs, which are an outrageous portion of the ticket, but I didn't get any points on my license. Where I live, we have the option to do that once every year, and the class wasn't really that bad. Sure, it was four hours, but it wasn't super boring like I thought it'd be.

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@hbsurfer17: Ummmm...that usually results in an arrest warrant for failure to appear/nonpayment of fine if I remember correctly; not from experience, just from reading news. Simply meaning that if you are ever pulled over again it will show up on the police database nationwide.

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Get a lawyer. I think I paid $250 several years ago and they made the ticket go away. Poof, zap, no insurance points, no license points. My insurance would have gone up over $250 so it was worth it to me. I'm in NC too.

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My insurance (State Farm) allows one moving violation every 18 months with no rate increase; are you sure that you are facing a rate increase?

Regardless, take the 6-Hour AAA Defensive Driving Class, which entitles you to up to a four point reduction for violations within the last 18 months plus a 10% discount on portions of your insurance bill (liability, collision and no-fault). The 10% discount is good for three years, after which you can retake the class to maintain the discount.

For AAA members the class is $35; non-members pay $41. I save about $60 every six months, so I net about $325 over three years by doing this and the class pays for itself with the first insurance bill after I take it.

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If this is your first moving violation in the past few years, ask for a prayer for judgement. You'll pay court costs but no fine and no points as long as you don't get pulled over again for speeding for like three more years.

I did this three years ago this October and it's worked out great. I was clocked 80 in a 65, just before Mebane on 40W/85S.

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Bring it to my friend at the police station who gives me the name of a non-profit organization to write a $50 check to. Then it disappears :)

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@missellienc: I totally agree. Not to mention that as much as I dislike attorneys, I hate cities collecting on cash cow speeding tickets.

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Correction to the above... what I posted is correct for NY State, but not for North and South Carolina and Virginia (apparently the same AAA club covers these three states). Down there, it is up to the local DA as to whether or not a given violation can be reduced by taking a class.

Though I'm presuming that you live in NC... if you were merely passing though, then the rules for you home state would apply.

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While I've had to deal with things only in much stricter states (I live in New England, where "liberal" really seems to refer to how much they love to add rules and apply them.), I can tell you arguing the case yourself may get you into a much more sticky situation than it's worth. I'd say get a lawyer, they'll usually pay for themselves, and most will refund the fee if they fail. If you insist on doing it yourself, consider this ... your best bet is just to acknowledge it but to claim reasonable circumstances caused it, hopefully truthfully. This works especially well if you were just going with the flow of traffic that was also speeding and if you were prompt and courteous when you were pulled over. If you choose to dispute the ticket on its merits, you're asking for trouble, since you're essentially saying the officer is lying, cheating, or incompetent. This will almost invariably raise the official's hackles and things may worsen. A lawyer may also have a method like @dmaz's.

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Wait until you have a week left, then ask for an extension.
Do this one more time.
In the mean time, there's a formula for getting out of this very scenario. If he was in front of you, his radar gun was trying to determine the speed of you changing the angle of the hypotenuse as if it were the short leg, whereas you were actually traversing a long leg. By definition it looks like you were going faster than you really were. There may be a lot of history available on this ploy left.
BUT if you think you were well and truly had, see ticketassasin . com.
And show up on a day that's not the day listed on the ticket.

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In NC get a lawyer. It should work out cheaper than the ticket+increased insurance would be even if you persuade the DA to reduce. They'll argue mechanical problems or something like that and make it go away or at least make the points go away.

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In my area we can amend the ticket ourselves with no lawyer or speaking to the DA, by just doubling the ticket amount. costs extra obviously, but cheaper then a lawyer

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Move to Memphis. Our cops have far more important things than writing speeding tickets. If you are moving 80 on our 55mph highway, you will be getting passed.. by other motorists as well as police who could care less. This is one of the reasons I love Memphis and all the real criminals that reside here! Woooo hoooo! If you do so happen to ever get a ticket here.. if you are polite, cops only write it for 5 over.. which here, means you show up at 9am for "traffic court" stand in a line with 200 other people and their "5 over" tickets, and a judge signs a dismissal. You don't even have to speak and no court costs.. just 1/2 hour of your time and the hassle of showing up. I love Memphis.

Oh... another great selling point on living in TN. State law is parking tickets automatically drop out of our system after a year. And they won't do anything unless you have 3 AND they find you. Sooooo....... you can get 2 parking tickets every year and do absolutely nothing. haha! Gotta love it.

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Is NC the state you live in or we you just driving through? My DH got a speeding ticket in the state over from ours (in NE) and our state never knew about it, so it never changed anything on our insurance. We did pay it, though, something I'd recommend if you drive through that state periodically.

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Call the DA. Tell him you will pay the fine. Ask if he will change the ticket to a non-moving violation. They only care about getting the money. I've never had a problem with getting this done. Give it a try.

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14 over isn't worth a lawyer. I usually just go to court and fight the ticket myself. In NY, they lower it just because you showed up to court. My last ticket was 15 over and they reduced it to the equivalent of running a red light. My first ticket on the other hand was 35 over (young and stupid), so it took a lawyer and a weeklong defensive driving course to get that bumped down at all. It ended up being a failure to yield.

Now that you'll have points on your license, be careful. A lot of states are now doing "driver assessment charges" when your point total reaches a certain value. In NY, it's 300$ on top of your ticket fees as soon as you hit 6 points, and another 25$ or something for each point after it.

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Proactively take a defensive driving course.
Proactively go get your speedometer calibrated (even if it shows that your speedo shows that you were going faster than you actually were).

Both of those things will show the judge that you're remorseful, responsible, and likely to not speed again (maybe). However, those two things together might not cost less money than simply paying the ticket would, because you're still going to be declared guilty (maybe reduced down to 4 over or 9 over or something like that), so on top of everything else, you're going to have to pay court fees.

If it's not reckless (starts at 15 over?), it's a misdemeanor and you should probably just pay the ticket and avoid court fees and stop driving so fast.

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For my first one I was able to talk to the prosecutor and get in a referral program. Basically no tickets for a year, pay $120 (more than the fee for that ticket) and they would "drop" the ticket. I completed the program fine.

For another ticket I was able to talk to them again, and they dropped one ticket and reduced the other from a misdemeanor to an infraction. That one has a bit of a story with it, but it was a 29mph over. I have completed the online driver improvement courses twice now, eliminating most of my points and lowering my insurance premiums.

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Appeal the hell out of it. If the DA or magistrate (they use magistrates in MA) won't reduce it to a violation that doesn't cause your insurance to go up then ask for a hearing in front of a judge. Around these parts the officer that gave you the citation must appear at the hearing or else it's thrown out of court and the charges are dropped. Most of the time the officer won't bother showing up.

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I got ticketed in Cleveland doing 39 in a 25 (speed trap) and failure to signal (which I didn't do-- grr). I called two lawyers, and each advised me to just show up in court myself and plead "not guilty." I showed up, they set a second court date. On my return visit, a court lady (not sure of her title) approached me and, unprompted, offered to eliminate the signal violation completely and reduce the speeding offense to 29 in a 25, which is a zero point violation. If you're young and broke, just show up and plead not guilty, and they might knock it down for you. If your time is so valuable that you'd rather avoid a day in court, hire a lawyer. Regardless, call a lawyer to inquire about rates as I did and they may give you free advice over the phone (which happened twice with me!) In my experience, the city didn't care about giving me points, they just wanted my money. And it is TRUE that if your ticketing officer doesn't show up for your court date, they dismiss the ticket completely!!

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If you don't want to go through all the hassles of what the above posters are suggesting just pay the darn thing and move on. Or use my F.I.D.O principle Forget It Drive On. Or you can use a different F word. Now if you are on the verge of losing your license due to points or something then I would fight it. Otherwise it's not worth the time and energy to put forth.

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If you really were speeding I can't imagine what a lawyer would do for you. You're wasting the court's time and the cop's time since he has to appear with proof on his radar gun. In CA. we have the option of online driving school to get rid of the points so your insurance doesn't go up.

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If your insurance company was as bad as my last one they will remember things you did in a previous life so it is worth getting it off your record if possible. Also, heard on the radio the other day that a lady was pulled over for speeding and got arrested for a warrent on an unpaid fine and had to wait three days before her dad could raise bail. I didn't even know that could happen and they said that it was automated. Scary.

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1. Set it for court. If the officer doesn't show then the ticket will be dismissed.
2. If the officer does show, request defensive driving. At least in Texas, defensive driving dismisses the ticket and you don't get points. Plus you get a discount on your insurance, and there's a slim chance you might be a safer driver.
3. Hiring a lawyer is very helpful, if they show up. I used to work as a court clerk and I saw the buddy-buddy way the judges and the lawyers interacted, almost all tickets represented by a lawyer were dismissed. So when I had a ticket for causing an accident (long story) I hired a lawyer to defend me. When the court date came he never showed. Fortunately, there was a computer glitch and they couldn't get to the electronic court records. After we waited about an hour for them to fix it the judge got annoyed and just dismissed all the tickets for that court session.

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As a lot of people said, I would just show up and fight it myself. I have had a lot of people I know do this and they have gotten out of it completely or had ti reduced. Moreover, the 3 times I have been pulled over for speeding, I simply asked to see what they clocked me at. only 1/3 could do this - the rest were just "estimating." When the other two could not show me, I asked them why they pulled me over then and if they really thought their estimate would hold up in court. Needless to say, they let me go. Worth a shot to at least try and fight it. (I live in FL)

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@jsimsace: I think you are wrong. I know someone who was passing through Louisiana and he did research online about it. It's only a warrant in that state, not nationwide. He has been pulled over since in another state and never had trouble.

Not that I recommend not paying but I understand why in my friend's case. The cop was sitting on the hood eating a sandwich, saw the out of state license plate and pulled him over, made the guy get out of the car on a busy bridge (causing my friend to lose his hat over the side because of the wind), kept calling him boy, wouldn't show him radar detector he said he used to clock him saying he "didn't have to show you nothin, boy". It still makes me mad (I was in the car and witnessed all of this first hand)

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How much effort do you want to put into trying to get out of this ticket? If you don't mind doing some leg work and if the state allows it:

- was it a laser or radar gun? Go to the courthouse and check the calibration records on the gun used (make sure it was in calibration)

- in our state we are allowed to summons the officer that wrote the ticket - if the officer does not show up, the ticket gets dismissed

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I hate to say it, but if you were truly speeding, and you know you were speeding, then there's really no point in fighting the ticket. Either you're going to piss the judge off for wasting the courts time, or you're going to be called out for lying under oath. Paying a lawyer to fight it? no point in traffic court, unless this is your 27th offense, and you're looking at jail time. claiming the subharmonic patterns of the radar gun were heterodyinging with the alignment of Jupiter, and therefore are not a consistent reliable source of speed measurement will be thrown out immediately, and judge will immediately rule against you.

Your best bet is either to do traffic school (some states require you choose this before your court date) or talk to the DA. Admit you screwed up, it was a downhill, you didn't realize what you did, and ask if you can not lose points. If you come at the DA honestly, apologetically, and humbly, and its your first offense, then they'll usually cut you a deal.

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@yessahh: The officer has to attend, it falls under the Constitutional right to face (and question) your accuser (which is why a lot of folks including me believe red light camera tickets to be a direct violation of the Constitution, I can't cross-examine a machine). I used to be a court clerk, and in my city, the traffic officers who write tickets all day almost always show up for court. They have regularly scheduled court days and the clerks will assign 25 tickets per officer to each date. They will only be absent if there's some really extenuating circumstance, as it costs the City a lot of money (25 tickets worth) when they don't show. If you get a ticket from a different sort of cop you have a reasonable chance of them not showing up, as that isn't key to their jobs like it is for traffic cops. But the system overall is complex, and if any part of it breaks down on the government's end (cop absent, judge absent, records missing or inaccessible) they have to dismiss.

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Just pay it. By the time you do all the other crap, it ends up being cheaper in the long run.

And pay a little more attention. That's what cruise is for.

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@missellienc: Just curious - what was the argument made to "make it go away?"

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@yessahh: Not so in my jurisdiction. Best to check the rate of officer no-shows rather than to just assume they won't.

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My wife got a ticket in NC and we live in FLA - we hired a attorney (the clerks office for that county had a list - lol) and for a little over $300 it all went away. We also did not have to come back, the attorney took our place.

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@klozitshoper: I have no clue. I made a phone call to the attorney, wrote a check, told not to worry about it, threw away the ticket. I wasn't informed of the details. When I was much younger, I received a ticket on my way to Myrtle Beach. The CEO of my company was a former Highway Patrol officer so he made a phone call for me and that ticket went away too. I actually paid the fine on that one and they sent my money back to me! Geez, I hope I haven't jinxed myself... I better drive slowly today.

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IMO the traffic court system is the ultimate conflict of interest. Judgements are rendered by employees of the City or County, which will receive the cash benefits of guilty verdicts. Nonetheless, it does run pretty fairly in my experience, with the exception of defendants represented by lawyers, which were almost always dismissed and if not always reduced, often without the lawyer actually even saying anything. Most of the judges are lawyers, most are on first name basis with the judges, most contribute to electoral campaigns, in general is it a pretty cozy relationship. But in dealing with the general public, as a court clerk I felt the judges and police officers were almost always fair an impartial. I cannot stress enough how important it is to dress professionally and speak courteously to all the court officers including the cop. It isn't personal for any of them, and getting angry or accusatory will only alienate you with the court. Judges also like to get their props.

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In NC, you can get a Prayer for Judgement Continued, which basically puts off anything happening with the ticket forever or until you get another ticket. Unfortunately, if you get another ticket, you get slammed twice. The easiest thing to do is like many other people have said: hire a lawyer. There is more info here: http://prayerforjudgment.com/what-is-prayer-for-judgment-continued

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This will vary by jurisdiction, but basically, show up for court, at a "non-formal" hearing if that's an option, and there is a very good chance you can get your ticket reduced to "impeding traffic" or something similar, which means you pay a fine but no points. And thus nothing officially added to your driving record for your insurance to review. No lawyer generally required if you know what to say/ask for in your specific jurisdiction. Good luck!

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@waltertangofoxtrot: Like your answer because it is honest. Admitting you are wrong, if indeed you are, is usually met with surprise but the right thing to do.

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@mphdavid: The other thing is, if you don't look like you're trying to weasel out of a ticket to the judge/court/DA, then they generally are a bit more lenient to you. The entire idea behind ticketing someone for doing something unsafe is to get you to learn from your mistakes. showing you realize you were in the wrong, goes a long ways towards having them reduce the sting of the ticket for you, over paying a lawyer to do the exact same thing for you.

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@moondrake: Exactly why code violations and red light cameras are civil penalties- burden of proof falls on the accused.
By the same token, they can't arrest/jail you for refusing to pay a fine, since a criminal offense was not committed. The craphole city I live in has tried, owed millions in 'fines' they can't collect. The best they can do is get a judgement against you and hurt your credit.
Classic!

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@all, Thanks for all of your help! I am currently in the process of doing what many of you suggested - talking to someone at the DA office.

I believe I can get the ticket lowered, but I am supposed to be getting a call back soon. I will let everyone who is interested know the outcome of this, and what means I had to take to get to my outcome.

Thanks again for all the answers, and keep commenting if you have any more traffic violation stories to tell.

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In Florida we have a company called Ticket Clinic and its fairly priced at around $75 - $100+. They represent you in court, usually you get no points and it doesn't show on your record.

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go to court, explain to the Judge that you were going down a hill, never got a ticket before and you may get sent to driving school, plus have to pay a fine and no points.

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up here in virginia we have a class you can take to get the points added back onto your license... believe its like 2 pts and you can only do it like once every year or 2.... i've been through 2 already and im only 23... bad luck :(

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@all, for the ones that requested to be updated, I finally got the speeding ticket ordeal worked out. After talking to the clerk of court, they were able to reduce it to an improper equipment charge without me having to take a class.

Although it kept anything from showing up on my record, it cost the original fine plus court costs, plus an extra $45 add-on for the improper equipment fine.

All in all this incident took $263 out of my pocket :(