I just got a ticket!!! (and could use some advice)

Location: Norfolk, VA

Offense: 2nd HOV (high occupancy vehicle lane) Offense (w/in 3 yrs)

Fine: $200 + $62 court fee = $262!!!

The easiest way for me to commute to and from work is to take the isolated HOV lane. This is about 8 miles long. As anyone from the Hampton Roads, VA area knows, traffic is a nightmare! I’m talking serious gridlock during the normal rush hour times. Most of this is due to poor highway planning and the large number of commuters to the US Navy base. The hours of restriction are 6-8am and 4-6pm. You MUST have 2 or more people in the car to use these lanes. I, of course, did not. It was just me.

I was pulled over at the very end of this 8 mile stretch at ~4:28 pm. This is my second offense. Ironically, my first offense was this same time last year. However, last years offense was at 6:02 am. I did not go to court for this first offense. The first fine of $100 at the time was fair enough to me to avoid dealing with the long court times around here. :smack:

**Here is my question: What would you recommend I do?

I see a few (small few) options I could do. I could pay the fine in advance of my court date. I could go to court and plea for a fine reduction/abolishment/alternative form of payment. Would it be worth going to court?

The reaction of my peers is more or less the same: “The courts around here don’t need to give you any favors. All they see are $$$ signs.” While I would tend to agree, I really don’t want to drop $262.

We could debate the merits of this fine and law. We could also debate how garbage the Hampton Roads drivers are, and hence, the HOV lane is many times safer during rush hour traffic. Alas, let us start with advice.

Any thoughts are more than greatly appreciated.

Pay it.
How many times have you illegally used the “communter chute?”
This time you rolled the dice and it came up craps.

Don’t do the crime if ya can’t pay the dime!

p.s. At least you weren’t rolling the wrong way in the chute. I was always worried some moron would’ve found a way around those flimsy barriers!

Suck it up and pay it, you knew the risks, you got caught, the easiest way to avoid a ticket for HOV lane violations is to either;

1; have at least one passenger with you
2; don’t drive in the HOV lane

at least it’s not a speeding ticket though, could be worse…

do HOV violations cause insurance rate hikes, or is it a simple moving violation?

On what basis would you plead for a reduction in your fine? You didn’t do it? You clearly did. You didn’t know it was the HOV lane? It’s your second offense. You thought it was a free lane at that time of day? You were caught at 4:30 and it’s HOV until 6.

The easiest way for everyone to get to work through bad traffic is to blow along in the HOV lanes; that’s why they ticket solo drivers they catch trying to do it. Pay the ticket and stay out of the HOV lane.

I’ll just help by continuing to pile it on.

Fight it, get assesed court costs way in excess of the ticket for wasting the judges time because you are guilty. If you can’t come up with a “valid” reason to break the law; Some emergency that you didn’t feel necessary to explain to the officer when he pulled you over, or you’re really really sorry and you only did it because of your medication and you shouldn’t have been driving at all but your judgement was faulty because of the medication, or something not so lame I can’t think of at the moment…Pay up!

and stop doing it because my advice next time is Pay it.

Another vote for “pay it.” I’d then suggest you consider getting a Real Doll and dressing it up and putting it in the passenger seat. Added bonus: Road head on demand!

Stick-in-the-mud disclaimer: I don’t really advocate this.

Easy, but pricey. Have fun writing out the cheque.

Lars and the 3rd HOV Offense?

Sorry, but unless you had a passenger, you weren’t supposed to be in the HOV lane.

Lesson learned, my friend.

I’m pretty sure the 3rd and 4th fines do. Which are $500 and $1000 respectively.

hence the flaw in my plan :dubious:

Going off your user name, I’m assuming you are very wise in the ways of being HOV positive. I feel the same way.

I was hoping to play the military card, but I think do to others pulling it in worse offenses, such as DUI’s, I’m not even going to try.

Pay it is…unless I can find me a 1800’s loophole.

You really should be consulting your own lawyer for advice on a legal matter like this. We here on the message board don’t know what the legal consequences will be for you if you plead guilty to this offense or if you go to trial.

(I, like the other posters here, have no sympathy for you. Stop breaking the law!)

Stop breaking the law and you wont get any more tickets.

Plus, maybe this is just the cynical Californian in me, but $260 is nothing for a ticket. I got pulled over going 10 over the speed limit and it was damn near a $400 ticket. Sure, it sucked to shell out that much money (particularly since I’m a college student who works part time), but so what? I was speeding.

Don’t the tickets in LA for going in the HOV lane without the proper number of passengers start at $360? I’m honestly not sure, because I own a hybrid (and have the little sticker) and can go in those lanes with just me in the car.

Oh, I should point out that while I was pulled over, I counted 18 single occupancy vehicles pass me. At least half thanked me with the standard nod or wave.

(yes, there is an un-written code! lol)

I do…$262.

Ah, yes, the old “But everybody else is doing it!” defense.

That doesn’t negate the fact that you were breaking the law. The fact the cop chose to pull you over and not the 18 other people is not relevant.

Wriggle all you want, but you were in the wrong and now you have to pay.

Always remember, you can do anything you want. You just have to accept the consequences.

If Virginia works like other states you will soon get a pile of traffic lawyer adverts in your mail. My advice is look through them and select one to represent you. You should be able to find one that will take care of this without you even having to show up in court, and will likely cost you less than just paying the ticket outright.

I have no idea what the lawyer will do in your case, but that’s what’s great about having a lawyer, you don’t have to know. They do their lawyerly thing and you get to go on with your life.

You can retain a lawyer somewhere for less than $260? That hardly seems worth their time driving to the courthouse!

And showing your military ID to a Norfolk or VA Beach cop won’t do diddly.

(Unless, that is, you want to add a tow charge to the tab and get a free ride with shore patrol.)

Yeah. The intial motivation for this thread was the fact that in some experiences I’ve had…some, the simple act of showing up to court was enough for the judge to realize that you have atoned for your sins, etc. along those lines. Fine reduced or dropped.

I can tell you that in Central Florida a very nice lawyer represented me for my illegal lane change ticket for $69 and court costs which turned out to be $0 because the ticket was dismissed. The original fine was supposed to be something like $80 and points on my license. So yes, lawyers can be cheap, and evidently good.