View Full Version : Can an attorney help with a speeding ticket?
09-25-2004, 08:35 PM
I'm in speeding ticket hell. Two tickets in the past week, both for ~12 MPH above the limit on roads that were designed for MUCH higher speeds.
I'm sick of this, and I'm afraid that I'll lose my license for these piddly violations. I can't talk my way out of a ticket, being a man going on middle age. So, can a lawyer help? Has anyone tried it before?
IANAL etc, but my suggestion, not knowing anything about your driving record or history, is that you throw yourself on the mercy of the court.
09-25-2004, 10:41 PM
I'm not a lawyer. It certainly wouldn't hurt you to talk to a lawyer who specializes in traffic offenses. But until then, you should go to your state's DMV web site and find out everything you can about how they handle moving violations. In some states, you can go to traffic school, and the ticket never shows up on your record. In some states, you can go to court and, unless you've really screwed up, a judge can give you "probation before judgment" or something similar, which again means that the ticket doesn't show up on your driving record, and doesn't count as a conviction for insurance purposes. You should also look closely at the ticket--is your name spelled correctly, is the license number right, etc. You can't count on it, but some judges will throw out a ticket with any mistake on it, on the theory that if the cop can't, say, spell your name right he can't be sure about anything else. On the other hand, most cops don't make that kind of mistake.
You should plan to go to court separately on each ticket. The cop might not show up, and if so usually the case will be dismissed. If he does, plan to politely ask him questions about how he measured your speed, how long he followed you (if he did), how he calibrated the radar unit (if he used one), etc. If you can raise any doubts about whether he followed proper procedure, the judge might give you a break.
Some people will advise you to ask for continuances to stretch out the process as long as possible. I'm not sure that's a good idea. For one thing, if you get a continuance it's very hard for you to object if the other side asks for one if the cop doesn't show up. For another, you might get a continuance or two, and then have a real emergency where you need it and won't be able to get it.
I'm not shilling for them, but an organization called the National Motorists Association sells materials to help fight tickets:
How did you get caught? RADAR, LIDAR, a camera of some sort? Please tell me it was by the cop's estimation against his own speedo. I'll have heaps more for you if it's only estimated although it could mean loads of time spent in court.
Let's see if you can challenge the basis of the allegation before worrying about putting yourself at the mercy of a court or DMV.
Please tell me it was by the cop's estimation against his own speedo. Was there a change to the official uniform?
09-26-2004, 01:08 AM
Was there a change to the official uniform?
No, cops have always worn speedos under their slacks. It's obvious you haven't been dating any men in blue, Otto.
09-26-2004, 01:11 AM
Aside of clerical errors on the ticket itself, you can hope for an out of date cert for the radar or vascar device used to calculate your speed.
Assuming you weren't on a stretch of highway governed by 'in lieu fo other posting the speed is x', you can check the placement and distance between signage advising of the proper speed.
If you wish to request a hearing, what is the latest date at which you can request a hearing? I ask this because of how things used to work in Phila. You'd get a traffic or parking ticket, and had to enter an appeal not less than three days in advance of the listed hearing date. So, I'd send the ticket to a buddy on the West coast, have him send the appeal request in at post office closing on the 3rd day before, and then overnight the receipt of that mailing to me. I show for the appeal with evidence that I requested it, the officer hasn't seen the paperwork yet, and I get a dismissal. ;)
You can always get there early, and so long as you weren't being a jerk, the officer may be willing to let you plead it down with him/her- instead of 12 over and 4 points, they drop it to 6 over and 2 points, and you don't appeal.
BTW-you need a lighter foot, brother.
No, cops have always worn speedos under their slacks. It's obvious you haven't been dating any men in blue, Otto.Except SWAT guys. They go commando.
09-26-2004, 08:25 AM
It's also possible to challenge a ticket on the grounds that the limit was set arbitrarily. Some states require that a municipality who wants to set a speed limit lower than the state defaults (usually 50 rural, 25 city) must conduct an engineering survey to justify the lower limit (This is to avoid the creation of "speed traps"). If such a survey has never been done, you may get off.
Qadgop the Mercotan
09-26-2004, 11:48 AM
Many, many years ago, I used a lawyer friend on a speeding ticket. It got changed to something like "defective instruments" i.e. improper speedometer reading on my car. So it went from a fine of $100 and 3 points, reportable to my auto insurer, to a fine of $250 + lawyer fees, but no points and not reportable.
More expensive in the short run, but worth it to me.
Since then I've mainly coped by not getting more speeding tickets. This sometimes means I have to drive slower, but that's ok.
09-26-2004, 12:13 PM
Except SWAT guys. They go commando.
Remember the motto of the SAS, 'Who Dares Wins'.
09-27-2004, 09:09 PM
Depends where you'e going to court. In NYC, no problem, case dismissed.
Reminds me of a true funny story. Right after a friend of mine graduated law school his brother got a speeding ticket. My friend went with him to court and had no idea what to do. When he got a chance to speak he told the judge: "This is my brother and this is my first case. If I don't win what will I tell my father?" Case dismissed.
09-27-2004, 09:34 PM
I just glanced through the replies, so I hope I'm not repeating anything.
Back when I lived in Texas you saw billboards all the time about getting out of tickets through Joe Blow Atty at Law. (I don't see them here in Georgia, though :confused: )
I used them all the time for speeding tickets in TX. It basically went like this: You pay a fee to the lawyer, he has like a 98% success rate of getting you out of your ticket. How? Well, it's simple, if you're found guilty he appeals it to a higher coart of law. Eventually they throw it out. It worked everytime for me. So I'd say, yes, get a lawyer.
09-27-2004, 11:56 PM
Don't give up on protesting the ticket even though you already got it;
This was in New York State:
I got a ticket for speeding on Rt. 20. I wrote to the judge and told him I had been following a slow car for 15 miles and when I had a chance to pass it happened to be just where we were coming into a village and the speed limit had dropped; at that moment the cop, coming from the other direction spotted me. Also, the speed limit sign was blocked by snow, (although I knew perfectly well of course that the speed limit in villages was always 45 mph). The local judge (it goes to court in the jurisdiction where you get the ticket) and I wrote back and forth a couple of times and he finally said if I admitted I was driving over the limit he would reduce it; this was 10 years ago, but I didn't get any points and the fine was very small.
I also fought a ticket for parking in a loading zone and wrote to the court, who sent it to the DA. It was dismissed. I had a good case that time. I always presented a good written case.
I also got a ticket for speeding under hazardous conditions when I slid passing a snowplow and hit the guardrail. The asshole cop gave me a ticket while I was sitting there in shock. Anyway, I wrote the judge about that one too, and I said I could prove that from the time I went through the toll until the accident I couldn't have been speeding unless I had pulled over at a rest stop and sat there for an hour. The cop didn't show up, which he has to do if you ask for a trial or protest the ticket, and it was dismissed. I never had to go to court.
I also agree about getting an attorney because judges are busy and they appreciate an attorney who can step up and present the facts in a timely and precise manner and recommend whatever they think they can get away with. a busy judge just might take the recommendation. If the cop doesn't show up it helps your case. You can always ask for a trial, which I did in the snowplow case. Look on the back of the ticket and check the right box.
09-30-2004, 11:32 AM
Thanks for all your advice!
I spoke with a couple of attorneys, and they both told me the same thing: the two municipalities where I got nabbed -- Cleveland Heights and Mentor -- have the toughest reputations for not budging when it comes to plea deals or fighting a ticket. You can go in there with evidence that the speed limit on the street wasn't properly set, that the police officer was running radar in a location that wasn't visible (whch violated state law) - really, any of the NMA strategies -- and it just doesn't work. I hired one to help me out, though.
Mentor, as a home rule city, has different rules than the state when it comes to fines and punishment. If your third moving violation within 365 days is in Mentor, your license is suspended for 30 to 45 days; far stricter than Ohio's seven-violations-in-two-years suspension law. That's the case with me; first last December, then a right at ain intersection where there was a poorly-marked no-right-on-red sign in April, then the trap a couple of weeks ago.
For me, a license suspension -- for a lowsy speeding ticket -- would be like an extended prison sentence. I live alone, 27 miles from work, with no friends or family nearby.
I'm going to be driving like a little old lady for the next year, even if it means lots of other drivers will be telling me I'm number one as they pass. :(
My Darn Snake Legs
09-30-2004, 11:40 AM
Man, I've only been in OH for the last month or so and the one thing that I've learned is that you don't want to speed in OH! You can hit the gas when you get to MI, but not in this state!
Ease up on the gas there man!
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