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  • Getting out of a speeding ticket?

    Isn't it nice that MSN posts how to get out of a speeding ticket.

    Ivan Sever, a professor at Berklee College of Music, heard nothing melodious in the siren that pulled him over on a little country road outside of Boston. And he was nonplussed when the officer told him he was speeding as he drove his 12-year-old daughter, Alison, to ballet class.

    "But no speed limit is posted," Sever said from behind the wheel of his Suzuki SUV. "Tell it to a judge," the officer shot back.

    And that's what Sever did.

    He demanded a trial to challenge the notion that motorists should somehow divine the speed limit based on the density of the population. To prepare, Sever invested $29 in a membership with the National Motorists Association, a group based in Waunakee, Wis., that helps drivers fight for their rights.

    "I did my homework," says Sever. But he needn't have worried. "The policeman never showed up," adds Sever, "so the judge dismissed the case."

    His record is clean, and his insurance company never heard about the ticket.

    Even if you are caught dead to rights with a lead foot, don't automatically pay the ticket. With a little effort, you may beat the double whammy of paying the fine and paying higher premiums on your auto insurance policy.

    Just ask the Maryland man who found himself before a judge pleading "guilty with explanation." It seems that a protest against China's repression of the Falun Gong had created a hopeless traffic jam as he tried to pick up his daughter at camp. Once traffic opened up, his foot went down, and a cop pulled him over.

    As proof of his predicament, the man handed the judge an article about the protest. "You're invoking the Falun Gong defense?" the judge asked sardonically. "I don't care what your excuse is, mister, you've got to slow down."

    But then the judge gave him a special incentive to put his foot on a diet. The driver was given "probation before judgment." If he keeps his record clean for a year, it'll be as if the whole thing never happened. There's no record for his insurer to use to jack up his rates. The speeder paid more than $100 in fines and court costs but figures he saved hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars by avoiding insurance surcharges.

    No one keeps an exact count of how many speeding tickets are issued each year, but one estimate puts the number at about 14 million. Most of those nabbed admit their guilt and either pay a fine or take advantage of a re-education program to mitigate or erase the effect of the ticket. Only about 3% of ticketed drivers head to court to challenge the ticket and try to beat the rap.

    But more of them should, says Chad Dornsife, a lobbyist and head of the Nevada chapter of the National Motorists Association. One estimate suggests that more than 50% of contested speeding tickets result in dismissal, a reduced fine or a finding in the driver's favor.

    Considering the long-term financial consequences, you should not treat a speeding ticket lightly. Although you won't face jail time unless your offense is more serious (say, reckless driving), you can put your license in jeopardy by piling up tickets. Most states suspend or revoke the license of a chronic offender, and violations generally stay on your record for about three years. But even an occasional ticket can have "amazing economic impact," says Geoffrey Nathan, a lawyer in Boston who specializes in fighting speeding tickets.

    The financial fallout begins with the fine. Depending on where you push the pedal to the metal, the fine can range from $5 to $1,000. In Massachusetts, for example, the minimum is $50 for speeds up to 10 miles an hour over the limit, plus $10 for every excess mile per hour. In California, you'll pay up to $100 for a first offense, $200 for the second and $250 for each ticket after that. Fines in many states are automatically doubled in school or work zones.

    For many drivers, though, the biggest pocketbook hit comes not from the judge but from the insurance company. A speeding ticket can drive up premiums for three to five years. Some insurers do ignore your first ticket. Dick Ludkee, a spokesman for State Farm, says that drivers who enjoy the company's best rates generally won't be penalized for a single speeding ticket. But one ticket makes a difference with other companies.

    To see the devastating impact speeding tickets can have, consider a single-car policy in Massachusetts. A typical policy with liability, collision and comprehensive coverage starts out at $1,549 a year. The first speeding ticket wipes out a $123 good-driver discount. A second triggers a $370 rate hike; a third boosts the rate $565 over the $1,549 base. In effect, three tickets trigger a "fine" from the insurer of $565 a year, or $2,825 over five years -- far higher than the official fine imposed by the state. Wherever you live, it's likely your insurer will ratchet up the surcharges as you rack up tickets. So the stakes get higher each time you're pulled over.

    If you are ticketed, use the two weeks you're generally given before you must take action to do some research. Police officers, even with radar, can make mistakes. There may be mitigating circumstances, such as speeding up to avoid a potential accident caused by another driver's erratic behavior.

    Also, realize that all speed laws are not created equal. David Brown, a lawyer in Monterey, Calif., and author of '

  • #2
    How nice of them to let everyone know. Here's a novel idea- don't speed, and you'll never even get pulled over!!

    As for the "I don't know why you pulled me over" BS- I was stopped once for going 45 in a 25, small town in the middle of nowhere, where the speed limit drops through town... I should have been nailed to the floor. The conversation went like this:
    O: Do you know why I pulled you over?
    Me: For speeding.
    O: Do you know how fast you were going?
    Me: 45
    O: Do you know what the speed limit is here?
    Me: 25
    O: You're the only person who has been honest with me all week. Drive slower or else next time... Have a nice day. [Eek!]
    Don't take life too seriously- you'll never come out of it alive.


    • #3
      wow! I can see the reason people want to drive fast. I'd like to some times, but one accident can change a person's life. Yeah just get out of the ticket. Hit someone, can't get out of that. [Frown]


      • #4
        I'll worry about traffic tickets when I get my 8-cyl Mustang!


        • #5
          I am with ghost here. IF you do not speed then you will not have to worry about speeding tickets. I know I go about 5-7 over the posted speed limit but if other factors are present I will drive in a manor that is safe for me and my family. I am not in a hurry to get someplace. Taking my time will get me there safer than speeding and weaving.

          Are you a Veteran? If so join AMVETS the only organization that accepts all vets no matter when or where they served. Contact me for more info.


          • #6
            I couldn't care less if the judge dismisses the ticket. It's a job, not a contest.


            • #7
              The NMA are a bunch of whiners.

              And their info is wrong. Florida does not have an absolute speed law. Up to 5 mph over the posted limit can only result in a warning.

              I love when those types contest tickets. It makes traffic court more fun.

              I've lost 1 speeding case since 1996.


              • #8
                During my 4 years of driving, I have yet to get a ticket. Whenever I write up an application for an employment at the PD, I am proud to write a big fat zero. =)
                "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst."


                • #9
                  I admit I have gotten two warnings 35in a 15. Only because it was a construction site. No construction was going on. The second time, day after New Years eve. I was sober just tired (no excuse) And my foot was a little heavy 45in 35


                  • #10
                    i love traffic court. i write over 100 tickets a month on average. i rarely get to go to court though. in my career i've never lost a traffic case. i usually find a minimum of 3 violations. i also try and write more for the hazardous violations and warn on the non-hazardous. this way people know i'm not hammering them for what i could. i'm sure i'd try and get out of it too if my fines were over several hundred dollars.

                    i did have a jury hand down a conviction with a whopping $40 fine for 'disregard police officer'. it was still a conviction though.

                    i can't wait to get moved into the traffic division.


                    • #11
                      We live out in the middle of nowhere where most of the time the speed limit is 50 / 55 but it does drop to 30 in school zones etc.

                      I always have traffic cops looking at me, maybe because of the big loud rumbling Trans Am i drive & 99% of them are looking & smiling

                      I usually do about 5 mph more than is posted depending where i am, but I'd rather see the guys tailgating getting a ticket, its a pet hate when your trying to stay a safe distance away from someone, especially in the rain.
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                      • #12
                        MSN's article is nothing new, and in fact much of what's in it is stuff that I am more than happy to tell people myself.

                        For example, while I'm having the violator sign his/her citation, I notify them that if they have not had traffic school in the last 18 months, that they may be eligible (the time limit varies from county to county). While there's some violations that aren't eligible ("fixit" tickets, speeding more than 20 over, and any traffic misdemeanors like suspended license or especially DUI), 95% of the violations that I write for are eligible.

                        The part that I don't really recommend is the lawyer route. Unless you're looking at a license suspension and/or job loss (because of too many previous tickets) or you're not eligible for traffic school (to prevent your insurance company from finding out and jacking up your rates), it really doesn't make financial sense to hire a lawyer. In my county, the average fine for a speeding offense (1-20 over) is about $100. In my local traffic court, if you plead guilty and request traffic school, assuming you're eligible the judge will grant it to you. I'm not sure how much traffic school is, but even if it's another $100 (it's much less than that) you're still only out $200. Compare that with the figures quoted in the MSN article ($300-1000) to have a lawyer represent you. Even if you win (and it's no guarantee -- I've seen defendants who are lawyers themselves lose in traffic court) you may be out more money than if you simply pleaded guilty and gone to traffic school. Plus you're not having to take a second day off work for the actual court trial.

                        Another thing that's been glossed-over in the article -- attitude goes a long way. While the courts have ruled that it's your First Amendment Right to flip off an officer and call him an a-hole, you'll be surprised how many people I've let go with a warning simply because they were nice to me. I consider giving warnings a nice gesture, and certainly no human being is going to give these to someone who's treating them badly.


                        • #13
                          Had a girl in a Camaro one late afternoon speed past me in a 45mph zone going the other direction & she was WELL over the speed limit. Problem was that our supervisor's units back then didn't have radar units in them. I turned on her & popped the overheads. She pulled right on over. I walked up to the car & asked, "Do you have any idea how fast you were going?" She said, "About 70." I laughed & said, "Good, because I had no idea. I just knew that it was fast." There was no way I could write her a ticket so I just gave her a verbal warning to slow down & let her go.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pigskin:
                            There was no way I could write her a ticket so I just gave her a verbal warning to slow down & let her go.

                            "speeding - over limit"



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mrs.Fish:
                              During my 4 years of driving, I have yet to get a ticket.

                              My Goodness, you have only been driving 4 years?
                              You are still a rookie driver! I didn't realize you were so young.

                              I've been driving 13 years and don't have any tickets or violations either, thank God !!!!!
                              I do like some others that said they go a safe speed for them and their family. I will go UP TO 10 miles over the speed limit depending on the situation, rain... NO!!! I drive UNDER the speed limit. I have seen so many accidents in the rain, in fact one of my fellow officers was killed in an accident in the rain, but that's a different story.
                              Be safe, wear your seatbelts!!
                              In valor there is hope - Tacitus


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