speeding tickets -- several questions

Which is why I mean it’s an urban legend. Of course it doesn’t work, but the morons with their brights on think it does, to the point of endangering everyone else on the road.

Very close up some of the old radar guns would give a false reading when aimed at regular light bulbs. I got into L.E. in the early 80’s, so the radar units I started with were from the 70’s & late 60’s… The electronics have changed a lot.

The introduction of the RFI indicator wiped out false readings from radio interference . Before that some of the X band guns would display 34mph whenever the squad radio was keyed. Some people would try to use radio interference as a defense in court.

Don’t use that as advice for everyone. The court figures on just about everyone entering into a plea bargain for the fewer points. If you insist on a trial and the officer isn’t present it will get you another court date. The only time I haven’t seen this happen is if the case has been going back and forth for a while and it has been marked Try or Dismiss.

IANAL, and practices differ between jurisdictions, but around here very few people plea bargain on traffic offenses and there are no blanket offers of fewer points for pleading guilty. Since you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, I see no reason to make it easy on the state by pleading guilty.

As for cops not showing up, here in Maryland, if the cop isn’t there when your case is called, it’s dismissed. It’s happened to me one other time, in addition to the case I mentioned above. And it must be fairly common elsewhere, too, because those how-to-get-out-of-a-ticket books and Web sites often suggest rescheduling the court date you’re assigned at least once on the assumption that he’s less likely to show up on the later date.

Most show up for court. Why would I give up $120 for 10 minutes of work? In any court I have been in it would be impossible to go through all the cases if everyone asked for a trial. It would be impossible if 5% asked for a trial. I’m not saying it’s not the case where you are from but it is not good advice everywhere.

This seems to work in some places, and not in others. Here in Michigan, I’ve never seen the cop not show up to the rescheduled date. OTOH, I once represented another lawyer in a traffic matter in another state. In that state, getting a continuance of the original trial date was known as “Plan A.” We got a continuance, and showed up in court on the new date. There were about 20 other people with continuances–none of the officers were there. The prosecutor moved for a continuance in each case. The judge asked if the defendant objected, and if they did, generally dismissed the case.

In our case, the judge scolded my client (they had some history) and told him that if he had been going five miles an hour faster, she would have granted the prosecutor’s motion. Then she dismissed the case.

There was also a funny exchange between the judge and a man whose first language was not English.

Q: Sir, do you object to a continuance.
A: I want my day in court.
Q: The officer is not here. The prosecutor wants to try the case on another day. Do you object?
A: No. I want my day in court.
Q: Sir, I’m not sure you understand. We won’t be trying the case today. The question is whether you want to come back another day for trial or whether you object to that.
A: I want my day in court.
Q: I’ll take that as an objection. Case dismissed.

Will you also grant that your experience doesn’t necessarily apply everywhere, either?

I never said it was good advice at all times and in all places. But I don’t understand the points you’re trying to make. You haven’t been very clear about the downside of my suggestions, and you haven’t offered any specific counter-advice of your own.

Are you talking about paying the fine without going to court? Fine, if you want to save yourself some time. But if you’re going to court anyway, it costs you nothing to “game the system” by rescheduling once in the hope the cop won’t show up. And how dumb would it be to plead guilty only to find you would have gotten off because the officer is a no-show? (I’ve seen it happen.) You can’t be fined more for pleading not guilty than guilty, so why plead guilty? Except insofar as it might keep me there longer, what does the court’s case load have to do with my desire to obtain a just verdict?

Also, what does “Why would I give up $120 for 10 minutes of work?” mean?

Another note on MD (don’t know if it holds elsewhere): In the long-long ago I got pulled down for speeding on I-95. I was placed near the end of the traffic docket. Almost universally someone who showed up and pled guilty got a break.

Say, for instance, the road’s marked at 55 (yes, it was that long ago). There’s a penalty for exceeding that, a higher one for exceeding 75, and a few more besides. So a guy’s pulled for doing 80 and pleads guilty. If he paid the ticket through the mail it’s a certain dollar amount and a point. If he shows up and pleads guilty (and doesn’t already have an awful record) he’s actually found guilty of doing 74, which is a substantially lower dollar amount (plus nominal court costs) and no points.

I realize this is common. Seems sleazy, though. A case is supposed to stand or fall on its own merits, rather than on assumptions made (but not asserted or supported with evidence) about offenses not charged.

It doesn’t sound like that’s what’s going on. The officer has the evidence to support the charge, but may sometimes just issue a warning. However, on seeing the detector he’ll decide not to let the guy off.

How about a response, racer? I’m genuinely curious as to where this is the rule and/or law.