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August 02, 2012


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This is a good list.

One odd but makes sense item I found out was in my state if a minor under 21 is arrested for under age drinking the insurance company treats it as a DUI.

Tell that to your college bound kids.

Fighting the ticket really works - I have never simply pled guilty to a ticket. Always fight!

The courts just want revenue. You can always talk them into giving you a steep fine for some bogus non-moving violation (or a moving violation with fewer points - like "failure to yield to a traffic control device" instead of speeding 98 in a 65...true story from when I was 18 and stupid).

I have also found that a good flat-fee traffic lawywer is more than worth the money. In my area they charge about $200-300, and you don't even have to go to court. They know the prosecutors and judges and that rapport saves you big money and hassle in the long run.

In Indiana, at least for speeding, you can call the prosecutor's office and ask about an "infraction deferral" program. It's a double-or-nothing sort of deal where you pay a similar fee (to the fine) to the prosecutor's office, and promise not to speed for a period of 6-12 months (depends on the jurisdiction). If you get another infraction during that period, you get prosecuted for both and get points on your license, but if not, they wipe out the original infraction and the points never go on your license (so the insurance company never sees it).

In Virginia you are able to knock out a simple speeding ticket by completing traffic school as long as you've had a run up of 5 years no violations. I'll be ready to speed again in 2017 :)

I chose AAA for my online driving school. It was only $36 for members and it was very thorough (takes 8 hours to complete). In all with court costs, I was out $100, but I learned so much, especially all the changes that have happened since I was 16.

I once got a ticket to my license plate for entering a do not enter. It was nice.of the cop because it wasn't issued to me so it never hit my record or insurance. In m defense it wasn't well marked and it was my first time in the area but it was only 25 to 30 dollars I think.

If you have a lawyer friend, have them write a letter to the court asking for a recommendation. I do this often for friends (for free) and it saves them quite a bit in insurance hikes when the recommendation changes the offense from a moving to a non-moving violation.

Last time I got a speeding ticket, I went to court to fight it. Know the court rules (they vary with each court). The ticket has a date/time on it, but if you want to contest the ticket, I called the court and was told that I had to write a letter contesting the court date. So I did. I went to court at the prescribed date/time. I was the third person called before the judge. There was 2 people before me. The officer did not show for either one, so the judge rescheduled their cases. Then I was called up. Again, the prosecutor said the officer was not present for my case. Before the Judge could speak, I said "Your honor, I would like to make a motion to dismiss. The officer is not here so the state does not have a witness." The Judge asked me if I was sure that I wanted to do that instead of giving the officer a second chance. I said that "Yes I want to make my motion to dismiss." The judge said I was free to go. And, I've never gotten out of somewhere so fast!

Err that should be that I wrote the court to contest the ticket.

I like how not having insurance increases your insurance haha :)

I went to fight a ticket once. It was a totally unfair ticket, and I had charts and graphs to show why. (I was forced off the road by another car on a freeway double on-ramp, when we were both getting on the freeway and the lane merged to one lane.) The cop tried to say I was "recklessly driving" because I ended up on the shoulder of the freeway on ramp until it was safe to get onto the freeway (it was really heavy traffic and I had no other choice).

I showed up in court, tried to explain that I had been unable to merge (i was a new driver and not very skilled in heavy traffic, it was true), so I had to wait until I get over safely.

The cop showed, of course, and just told the judge that he "saw I was driving recklessly". Not a mention of the other car that I had to get out of the way of, or the fact I had no other choice, unless I wanted to just hit someone. I did what I thought was safest. The judge believed the cop, kept the ticket AND raised the fine.

Something else interesting: Once I stopped driving my truck with Christian bumper stickers on it, I stopped getting tickets. I haven't gotten a ticket in decades now. I really think we had some bigoted folks on the force in SoCal.

BD --

I don't have any Christian stickers (or any stickers at all) on my car because I think the way I drive could be a bad witness! :)

In Alabama, you pay your ticket or go to traffic school within a certain amount of time. Unfortunately traffic school was about $150, which was $25 more than the ticket, but in doing so, it takes the ticket off your record and your insurance company never knows of it.

BD, have you noticed that in SoCal CHP no longer seems to enforce the car pool lane rule? I see about every third car that drives by with only a single occupant. I've been very tempted at times to hop in but then I always see a cop few minutes later speed by on a motorcycle. It's a nice reality check :)

I would also highly recommend online traffic school if it is available for a ticket. I've never done it, but I've heard it only takes about 3 hours and you can do it all in the comfort of your home. I knew one guy who completed it in 2 hours and that was including 3 beers.

I fought a ticket and won.

Got a really unreasonable speeding ticket years back, when finishing up college. I was 30 yards from a higher speed limit sign, and was just accelerating out of a stop, in the middle of lots of empty green area--nobody or nothing around. I just hadn't been paying attention, and to top it off, the cop was a jerk when he came up to the car.

So, I fought it. I pulled out the state's rules and law, and sent discovery requests to the city. It was a very small town, so they had to hire an outside attorney. I knew this, so I kept at it. I figured they were paying him $100+ an hour for my $230 ticket (or whatever it was; I can't recall now). When he didn't respond, I contacted the court, and then he did. He refused some items. I sent another letter, and told them I wanted to come inspect certain items. They didn't set a court date. Six months later, they dropped the ticket.

About a year later, someone else we knew got a ticket in what was by then known as a notorious speed trap. He paid the ticket, then a relative told him about my experience a few days after. He went to the police office to ask for discovery-related info. The chief was angry, but told them to give the guy his money back and dropped the ticket right then.

If you're willing to spend some time on it, there are things you can do. The key is to raise the cost for them. If all else had failed, I probably wouldn't have been any worse off. You can often get a judge who'll be lenient. But it's rare to find one who would give you *more* than the penalties in the original ticket. The whole defensive driving thing is a racket set up to encourage people to pay without bothering to fight--the cops make more money that way. (And, I should add, I'm pro-police, but that doesn't mean every department or every policy is great.)

I like the idea of fighting a ticket, but unless it's going to negatively impact my driving record and there isn't an option for driving school, I'm not going to spend 10-20 hours preparing. I understand it's more about the principle but my time is too valuable. I'd rather pay it and move on, especially if it's only a few hundred dollars. Now if it's a $1K ticket (for I'm not sure what), I would seriously consider fighting it if I did nothing wrong.

I fought a ticket and won. I was young (18) and driving several friends late at night in the downtown area of my 80K city. I pulled over to take a phone call. There were dangle parking spaces, which were all empty late at night, so I just drive through them like a parking lane and pulled to a stop. Then when leaving there was a left turn only lane which I went through, but then decided mid-way I wanted to go straight, and so I went straight. That was when I was pulled over.

He suspected I was drunk (which I wasn't), so he gave me the walking test, which I passed. So with his Plan A in failure, he gave me a ticket for 1) Driving in a parking lane, 2) Driving straight in a lane marked for a left turn. I was going to fight this, so I did my research, and showed up in court two months later, and the cop even showed up too.

On the first count, I had looked up the law I was cited under. The statue mentioned driving on shoulders, medians, and a few other places, but did not mention parking lanes. So I printed out a copy, showed it to the judge, he read it through, and dismissed that charge. On the second count, even though I had driven that intersection many times and knew it was a left turn lane, the markings had faded so that it couldn't be seen. So I took some pictures and brought them in. However i didn't even need to show them - as soon as the count was read the judge dismissed it. And that was it, the judge gave me my license back (In Illinois police hold on to your license after any sort of ticket), and it was done.

Oh and a couple days later, I went back to the intersection and saw a nice new coat of pain on the left turn markings :-)

This is indeed interesting! I knew since Day 1 that car insurance rate increases every time I receive a ticket for traffic violation. I never knew that the percentage of increase varies depending on the violation. Thanks for sharing!

"In Virginia you are able to knock out a simple speeding ticket by completing traffic school as long as you've had a run up of 5 years no violations. I'll be ready to speed again in 2017 :)"

For Virginia, it actually depends on the county in which you got the ticket. Most counties no longer give point breaks for completing a course.

Growing up in Texas, you could take defensive driving once a year to get rid of a ticket (no points and you did not even have to pay the fine). I learned the hard way that most counties in Virginia have no such program.

Noah: I haven't lived in SoCal now for over 8 years, so I can't say. I know that when I lived there, people seemed to mostly obey the carpool lane (including myself) and single drivers didn't get into the lane. Also, there wasn't any "online traffic school" when I had my truck with the Christian bumper stickers on them (that was decades ago). I did attend traffic school a few times for tickets, once I learned that it was pointless going to court.
And when I started driving a vehicle with NO Christian bumper stickers on them (the last 3 years I was in SoCal, and then outside the state for the rest of the time), I "mysteriously" stopped getting tickets altogether. That was sometime around 2002? I haven't gotten even one ticket since then, though I drive the same way. Tells me a lot about cops.

So many people simply look at a ticket at face value without considering how much their insurance will go up. I haven't gotten a ticket in over 15 years, and now that I mostly drive in the city, I don't foresee getting one any time soon.

At age 75, I have gotten one warning and one ticket, which I got taken off. The ticket was because I pulled into my left lane (on a 4 lane hiway) for about 10 seconds, after checking there was no one behind me on the highway. A cop was in front of me and told me what I had done wrong. Then he asked for proof of insurance and I was certain I had it. I had just paid for a year. I could not find it - he gave me the ticket for lack of proof of insurance. I took it to the courthouse with my proof of insurance. It was dropped.

And, the dumb part, the proof of insurance was right in front of me in my car. I had it in a small hang on basket, but had turned it around. Proved I can be as dumb as the young drivers. (JK)

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