Should I bother contesting this ticket?

I’m 18, and I got my first speeding ticket today.

On the way home at about 11:30 PM, I was driving down the highway. It was by no means heavy traffic, but there were a fair amount of people in the middle and right line.

So, I pulled into the left lane to pass some people. As I pulled into the left lane, another car pulled in behind me. This ended up being a cop, but I did not know it at the time.

I hate it when people drive close behind me, especially at night, because the lights are bothersome, and I’m paranoid that they’re going to smash into me, or get mad that I’m going too slow for them.

So, seeing this car pretty close behind me, I sped up, planning to pull over to the middle lane once I could. The car behind me stayed right on me, making me nervous.

Of course, a few seconds later, I saw flashing lights.

When the officer came over, he asked for license and registration. Having never been pulled over before, I wasn’t sure where the registration was. As I searched, the officer said in a rather crass tone “put some effort into it.” Finally, he said forget it, and left to go to his car. About 10 seconds later, I found the registration.

When he came back, I showed it to him, and he said it was too late, and I got a $30 extra fee for not having registration. On top of the $250 ticket…said I was going 75. The ticket says it was checked by radar, so I guess I was going that fast.

Now, is there any chance I could get this ticket at least reduced…I’ve never had a ticket before, and really really don’t want to get my insurance increased…

Anyone with experience have any advice?

$250? How fast were you going above the speed limit?

I’d contest it, if for no other reason than to remove the additional $30. It’s worth a shot especially when you think about how much it will screw your insurance rates. At least around here, if the cop doesn’t show up to court the ticket is dropped. And if he does show, well, tell your side of the story and hope for the best.

Frankovich, I don’t know where you live, but two options occur to me. First, going before the judge and explaining the situation often gets the fine amount halved, but the ticket still goes on your record (and increases your insurance premiums). Here in Tecas, it is possible to request deferred adjudication, where you pay the fine, but the ticket stays off your record unless you get another ticket within the probationary period (3-6 months). This keeps it from jacking up your insurance. The other option available here is to take defensive driving. In this case, you pay for the course, but only pay court costs instead of the whole fine. You can also get a 10% discount on your insurance for taking defensive driving.

Another possibility - before deferred adjudication was offered, it was possible to pay a lawyer about $40 - $50 to represent you. Essentially, they appeared in court, entered a plea of no contest, then immediately file an appeal of the decision. Since the appeals court did not have the time to hear traffic cases, they would almost always dismiss the charges. But since virtually every courthouse is now a “court of record”, it is no longer possible to appeal traffic tickets.

You’ll have to look into the situation in your area, but there are probably similar alternatives available there.
Good luck,

The ticket says the speed limit was 50…so I guess it was 50.

I actually live in TeXas, not Tecas. :o

I live in Massachusetts.

(sorry for the three posts)

If its important, the boxes checked off are “posted” “clocked” and “estimated”

Radar is not checked off, if that means anything.

I don’t know how it is in Massachusetts, but here in Hawaii, it would behoove you to contest it.

People here get tickets thrown out all the time, for the most ridiculous reasons. If you show up in court, explain respectfully what happened (like how you explained here) and I’m sure you could, at the very least, get it reduced.

When you go, take your registration to prove that you indeed have a current registration, that should get that thrown out.

Good luck (and slow down. :smiley: )

The ticket said that the speed limit was 50, so you guess it was?
Before you contest spit, be sure of the facts.

Then again, you can contract an attorney and spend an amount equal to your fine seeking to explore a loophole in the law, thereby exculpating yourself from the guilt of an offense which you did actually commit.

I was 18 once. I paid my fines, because I was a meathead.

If you learn nothing else: know where your papers are. My insurance card is on the sun visor, my operator permit and registration are in my wallet. Never reach for them without requesting permission from the officer.

Be well :wink:

I think that would mean that he DIDN’T use radar. I’m not sure what “posted” is, but I think “clocked” means checking how long you took to go a known distance, e.g. timing you between two mile markers or something.

I’ll wager that “estimated” means “pacing” you, or following behind you, keeping the same distance, and checking his speedometer.
You definitely need to make sure of your facts before you set foot in a courtroom. Call the station and ask what these boxes mean.

Very interesting. Part of me wants to say “pay the fine” because you admitted to breaking the law-- you were going 75 in what appears to be a 50 mph zone. I believe that’s considered reckless driving, here anyway.

Then again, I know how it feels to have a cop bear down on your rear end just to try to get you to speed up. I’d say go to court and explain to the judge the circumstances. He may care, he may not, but if you bring your registration with you, I’d say it’s about 99.9% likely he’ll throw out the “no registration” ticket.

Even if he doesn’t do much about the speeding ticket, since this is your first offense, he’ll most likely offer you the trade of going to defensive driving in return for dropping the charges. If he does, you would be an utter fool not to do it. Your charges stand at $250 now; driving school is well under $100 for an 8-hour class, and adding court costs still won’t bring that anywhere near $250.

In OH anything over 20mph over the speed limit is considered “reckless operation”. You do NOT want to fuck with the judge in this case, be as apologetic as you can. Contesting the ticket might actually get you in more trouble, since you add more work to the judge’s already-full docket. “I got scared” does not fly in court, true as it may be. As far as they know, you were just trying to get away.

You’re only 18, take your lumps and learn something from it. The likelyhood that you’ll be absolved of all charges is almost nil. You got caught, as unlikely as it may seem. IMO, your best bet is to tell the traffic judge your story, he’ll look at your record, and probably give you a much more lenient penalty. Contesting may cause you, money, time, and the ire of the judge that has to deal with this shit all day long. I’ve seen “rec op” people get the book thrown at them, they don’t take that lightly, be safe, be humble, and if you try to fight it, be poor.

That said, I wouldn’t expect to pay the full penalty, either. Again, it’s more than likely that your no registration charge will be dismissed by a judge. And the likelihood of you actually being convicted of reckless driving is rather slim. The judge might find you guilty, yes, but 9 times out of 10, a first time young offender will get the driving school option. This is most likely what you’re gonna walk away with.

If you go to court, there is a good chance the officer won’t show up – too busy writing other tickets. There is also a good chance the judge will listen to you and reduce/dismiss, provided you are contrite.

You may have a case against the accuracy of the cops speedometer, although it would be helpful if you weren’t going 50% over the speed limit… I’ve seen very few three lane 50mph zones, I’d check that.

Since a conviction could have very expensive effects on your insurance rates for at least 7 years, I’d consider hiring a lawyer.

BTW, I can’t believe that there is a time limit on finding your registration – he shouldn’t have been able to write you up for that if you did show him the registration at any time during the encounter. He sounds like a dick.

That said, tell us, what kind of car do you drive? Any performance or appearance options, like a spoiler?

Thanks for the replies…

My car is most certainly not a showy car…I believe it’s a Buic LeSabre, or something like that.

After some research, it appears to me that in MA, there is not a court hearing with the officer…its a “magistrate hearing.”

Keep in mind there may be other associated costs with contesting your ticket - when I was in a minor traffic accident here that was sort of her fault and sort of mine and mostly the rain’s, but mine on the ticket, I went because if she didn’t show up it would get thrown out.

However, when I got there they made an announcement that the court costs had recently gone up (a lot, I presume to keep you from wasting the court’s time), so if you want to go ahead and pay, do it “now” before court starts. I believe the court costs were 50% of your ticket, so if she had shown up and if I’d gotten the $100 ticket, I’d have paid $150 for my trouble.

However, I believe you’ve got a good chance of having at least the registration fee removed. I got a ticket for running an overgrown stop sign (these are my only two traffic violations ever, I swear!) I got an added $75 for not having my insurance card on me. I went to the station to just pay it off, and when I showed them my card they reduced that $75 to $25 because I was insured after all. (Still had to pay the original stop sign ticket, of course).

Just keep in mind that it’s possible to pay more if you contest it and have to pay anyway, in court costs.

It’s not so much the fine itself that I’m worried about…I can accept that I had an error of judgement, and pay up. If it was just the $250, plus the registration thing, I would just move on with life, instead of having to deal with a magistrate, even though I shouldn’t have had to pay the extra $30.

However, I’ve read that just one ticket can majorly mess with insurance charges, and hope I can at least get out of those consequences…I guess if there’s absolutly any chance at all, I think I’ll take it.

You don’t know what kind of car you drive?

You were going 25 over the limit? In Missouri, if you’re going 20 over or more they can and will arrest you.

Contest the ticket. The worst thing that could happen (if you’re polite, contrite and not a jerk) will be that you have to pay it in full. At least in Kansas, if you’re caught without a needed piece of info (like an expired insurance card) you can prove that you had insurance at the time and have the ticket reduced.

Call an attorney who specializes in traffic law. Since the money’s not an issue, you’re much better off paying for professional legal advice than risking following suggestions by people on a message board who know nothing about traffic law in your jurisdiction. Talk to your parents – see if they know anyone personally, or if their family attorney can refer you. It’s possible that an attorney can get the ticket reduced to a non-moving violation, where you’ll still pay a fine, but points don’t go on your license so your insurance rates don’t go up, with just one phone call and no court appearance necessary. Or there could be any number of other options at your disposal. But don’t try to handle this on your own. Seek professional guidance. And good luck!

How close behind you was the cop car? IANAL but here in the UK it is actually a valid defense to speed to get out of a dangerous situation, so if the cop was particularly close - say about your thinking distance or less- here you would have a valid defense. “Yes, Sir, I had to speed as the following car was so close behind me as to be dangerous.” You could even get the cop done for Dangerous Driving or Driving Without Due Care and Attention.

I think Badge might be worth paging here.