Speeding Ticket Question...

  1. OK so... this morning I got my very first speeding ticket. Hooray... right?

    I am confused about something. The officer said I was going 68 in a 45 (I definitely did not realize I was going that fast- I knew I was speeding but thought it was below 60- but that's not the point, and I didn't argue of course). He wrote my citation and then showed me a court date and said "if you want to not come to court you can pay this fine and send it to this address" and I thought ok fine. Well I got home and looked more closely at it, and it said there was fine print on the back. There is a section for "must appear in court" things and one was over 15 mph over the speed limit. But I distinctly heard him tell me I could send in the fine and not have to go to court... It was in a town about an hour away is why I am more wanting to just send the money and not have to go back, but I don't know if it will be a problem.

    I am thinking I will send the money like today, and maybe if that's not good enough they will call me before the court date? Because I know failure to appear is another bigger deal and I don't want that to happen of course. I wouldn't be worried about it but he was saying like "I won't send this into the state and it won't go on your record" or something like that, so it seems like he was cutting corners or trying to be nice all around and that is why he said I didn't have to come back, but I don't know if he can do that, and I don't want to get in more trouble.

    Sorry this is so long. I am upset and mad at myself and you all were the first people I thought of coming to. My parents would give me no advice they would just yell at me about how horrible I was to do such a thing, which of course they're right but that doesn't help at this point. As well as tell everyone they know who knows me... that's just what they do, esp Mom. Please be honest and if you do feel the need to yell at me I understand but please give me advice as well thanks.
  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    I would say that if the court date is printed on the ticket - you gotta show up. If there is no court date printed on it, pay the ticket, keep your cancelled check as proof of payment and go on about your life.
  4. by   luvmy2angels
    I would call the district justice's office and have them clarify the situation. Tell them you saw what is printed on the ticket, but also the officer said you didn't have to go if you pay the fine. Here in PA, we don't have to go to court unless we plead not guilty. If you plead not guilty they will give you a court date, if you plead guilty you simply send in the money and it is a done deal.
  5. by   grinnurse
    Quote from luvmy2angels
    I would call the district justice's office and have them clarify the situation. Tell them you saw what is printed on the ticket, but also the officer said you didn't have to go if you pay the fine. Here in PA, we don't have to go to court unless we plead not guilty. If you plead not guilty they will give you a court date, if you plead guilty you simply send in the money and it is a done deal.
    Ditto-I would call them and definately not wait on them to call me. And Rachel- I would yell at you for speeding but, I got stopped a couple of weeks ago for speeding in my home town (which I am never able to go the speed limit). Fortunately I was saved by my stethoscope!!
  6. by   perfectbluebuildings
    Thanks guys... I am clueless on this kind of thing. I will look up the number and call in the morning. (Of course the date set is a day I am supposed to work... I think I can get a switch made with someone easily but I don't wanna have to tell my manager Yeah I have to not work b/c I have to go to court ) I'll let you know how it works out. I very, VERY much appreciate the help.
  7. by   Roy Fokker
    I agree - call 'em up.

    I got two speeding tickets knocked down to parking fines.

  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    Rachel, it's almost always worth it to go to court instead of merely sending in the money for the fine.........if nothing else, the judge may very well reduce the amount you have to pay, especially since it's your "first offense" so to speak. And frankly, it sounds to me like you might want to fight the ticket---you say you were going about 60 MPH in a 45 MPH zone, which definitely makes you guilty of speeding, but the cop said you were doing almost 70, and that can be pretty serious in the eyes of the law (not to mention your insurance company ).

    However, what this does is call into question the ability of the officer to clock your actual speed correctly. Do you know how he caught you?---e.g., did he use radar/laser, did he pace you, how did he determine your speed? Also ask yourself, what were the road and weather conditions like? Was it sunny and dry? Is 45 MPH in that particular zone even a reasonable speed, or is the area more like a highway, with more than one lane in each direction and lots of open road? (There ARE such things as speed traps, ya know.)

    These are only a few of the elements of a speeding charge, and if there's any question in your mind at all that you did what the officer says you did, you should take the time to fight it. I know several people who have successfully won traffic cases (not me, though---I'm one of those who goes 20 years between speeding tickets, and then when I DO get nailed, I get nailed big time), and there are even books and websites devoted to fighting traffic tickets. Seeing as how most "violations" are about raising revenue for the city or county, rather than protecting the public, it's worth trying, and it may save you some points on your license and increased car insurance rates for up to three years.

    I'll be with you in spirit.........meanwhile, I've got this unregistered-vehicle citation I need to contest..........
  9. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    I have to disagree with the suggestion that going to court is worth it... my husband was pulled over and ticketed wrongly. He was driving on a residential street, well within the speed limit, and ahead of him in his lane was a stopped SUV with its hazards on. He stopped, checked to make sure no cars were coming in the other lane, and went around the stopped vehicle. Next thing he knew, he had flashing lights behind him. He was ticketed for unlawful passing since it was not a dotted line. Even though the car he "passed" was STOPPED. The ticket was for $125, and since he had done nothing wrong, he went to court to fight it. Had to miss four hours of work, go through all the red tape. The judge agreed with my husband and dismissed the ticket. Here's the kicker- my husband had to pay the court costs of $120!!! Even if they find you innocent of the violation, you are still responsible for the court costs. It says so right on the back of the ticket. All he saved was $5 and didn't get points on his license. If the op goes to court and loses, she will not only have to pay the traffic fine, she will have to pay the court costs on top of it. I would not recommend going to court unless you absolutely have to.
  10. by   TheCommuter
    Welcome to the club. I have had my driver's license for 7 years and already have accrued 6 traffic tickets (5 speeding tickets and 1 parking ticket).

    If the correspondence from the traffic court says to appear, it is most prudent to appear in court on that day. It is better to be safe than sorry. In addition, some traffic judges are more lenient when you show up, even reducing the dollar amount of the ticket. Three years ago I received a speeding ticket and was asked to appear in court, and was pleasantly surprised when the judge reduced the dollar amount to $60 from the original amount of $110.

    Also, I always attend traffic school whenever I receive a ticket because I don't want my automobile insurance rates affected adversely. If you simply pay the ticket and move on, your insurance company might raise your rates for three entire years. If you pay the ticket and attend 8 hours of traffic school, the ticket will often be hidden from public records.
  11. by   cardiacRN2006
    You have to pay the fine and they have to receive it prior to that court date. I've had more tickets than I'd like to share, and they always have a court date on them. If you send away your money, or register for a defensive driving class prior to the court date, then you do not have to go to court.
  12. by   BabyRN2Be
    If it's a small town, I'd call up the station in the area and they'll tell you what it means. This is possible, but he may have had "mercy" on you and wrote down a speed of less than what you were actually going. But of course you can't know that and you wouldn't want to risk anything.

    I'd say call the police station, it'd be easier than getting a hold of someone from a DA's office. They've been through this before and they'd know the answer of what you need to do.

    I guess the one good thing about going to court is that the judge may reduce the charge, and you may have less points on your license. Which would save you money for what you'd pay if your insurance is raised.

    I think we've all been there. I've been driving for more than 20 years and fortunately (knock on laminated wood) I've only had two tickets. One for an accident when I was 18 and the other for "falling to obey a traffic control device" - he said I ran the stop light, and I KNOW for a fact that it was amber if not green. Stupid town. But hey, someone gotta pay for the town's poor planning...
  13. by   dianah
    If one shows up in court, and the ticketing officer doesn't, isn't the ticket dismissed? Maybe that's why he advised you just send the fine in, so it reduces the chance that you'll be in court . . . I'm not sure.

    I'd call and clarify if you need to show up in court, and then go.
  14. by   RainDreamer
    Yeah, if you go to court and fight the ticket, saying you weren't going as fast as what the officer said you were, then they will most likely dismiss it, IF the officer doesn't show up and have a rebuttal.

    Good luck!!