by Wayne Patterson Newberry South Carolina traffic attorney. Call 864-270-7973
This is not fight speeding ticket legal advice. If you need legal advice,only an attorney in your state can provide you with legal advice about your particular speeding ticket and the court procedures and options in your state.
I know what you are thinking. It’s only two points and $75 and you’re already lucky because you followed the advice in Part One of this fight speeding ticket series and the officer already reduced the traffic ticket in what is knows as a "roadside reduction". You’re wanting to send in your money and forget the whole thing. WRONG! Any blemish on your driving record can be costly. Insurance companies and employers will access your driving record (MVR) for the past three years. Any speeding ticket can make a difference in your insurance rates or in being qualified to drive a company vehicle. A four-point offense could cost you as much as three thousand dollars in extra insurance premiums! That is why it is important that you always try to fight speeding ticket. A lot can happen in three years which is how long this traffic citation will stay on your record.
To begin your fight speeding ticket, wait until about two weeks before your trial date and send the judge a certified letter, return receipt,stating that you wish to plead “not guilty” and are requesting a jury trial, if one is available in your state. Ask that he advise you of the date and time of your trial. Judges and the police hate jury trials for a speeding ticket since it can take up a lot of their time, especially when they have many more important cases that need to be heard. You may get extremely lucky and never hear from them again.
When you do receive notice of your trial, wait until three weeks before that date and send another certified letter asking for a continuance. You will need a legitimate reason such as being required by your employer to be out of the state or that you have contracted a communicable disease, pun intended. You need to be very sure to verify with the clerk of court that your trial date has been postponed and it is good to confirm that fact in writing.
The next trial date is very important since you will not be granted another delay. It is now time for you to make some decisions about your fight speeding ticket case. To actually beat speeding ticket in court is an extremely difficult task. In most cases, it is just your word against the officer’s and you will be found guilty regardless of any defense that you may raise. You and I both know that you were probably speeding and that you don’t have a prayer in court. This means that it is now down to deal time. You can start by calling the officer directly if that is possible. There is a large turnover in most police departments. Since it is now twelve to sixteen months later, the officer may have left the force. If not, he has probably and hopefully forgotten all about you and your speeding ticket. Ask the officer if he is willing to reduce the charge to one where there are no points against your license, possibly just a fine. If he is not willing to reduce, then see if you can call the judge or prosecutor and make the same offer. However, often you have to wait until you are actually in court or at a pre trial hearing to negotiate.
There is one exception to agreeing to a reduction. If you are a CDL driver or the ticket is out of state, be sure to check with your own state’s Drivers License Division before pleading guilty to even a reduced charge. Many drivers have been mislead because what is a no point violation in one state can be a four-point violation in your home state. There are also the new "serious" CDL violations that can lead to a license suspension and loss of your job for a CDL truck driver.
If you have been unable to work out a settlement or get approval for online traffic school, then it may be time to give up and pay the fine if it will be no more than two points on your record. Otherwise, it is in your best interest to consult with a local traffic attorney for legal advice on your particular fight speeding ticket. Under no circumstances should you go into a traffic court trial by yourself (your first court date on the ticket is usually just an arraignment and not a trial).
This is a general article and traffic laws and traffic court procedures vary from state to state and are constantly changing. You should visit our Find Your State Page to see if there is information on the specific traffic laws in your state. It is imperative that you do not miss any deadlines for appearing in court or for posting a bond. If you do, the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest and you could spend the weekend in jail. In addition, you may be found guilty of the original speeding ticket and also have a Failure to Appear charge and fine added to your ticket. Contact the clerk of court to verify the procedures in that jurisdiction and also to check if your are eligible for Online Traffic School. The court information will be found on your speeding ticket.
I hope that this series will be of benefit the next time you see that “Blue Light Special” coming up in your rear view. Remember that the best way to fight speeding ticket is to obey the speed limit. Drive safe.
This article is not legal advice and is intended only to provide general information about fight speeding ticket. If you need legal advice contact an attorney in the state where you received the ticket.
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