Going to Court, Debt, and Investing

Posted by Madison on May 21, 2009

My court date is today. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll remember about a month ago when I got pulled over for speeding and got a ticket.

Both kids were in the back seat and had all kinds of questions for me after I got the ticket. Being accountable to a 1 and 3 year-old is obviously permanent, since my older son now routinely gives me tickets when we’re outside playing. In addition, he reminds me to slow down almost every time we get on the highway!

I was actually driving the same road that I commuted to work on for multiple years. I’ve always driven 55 miles per hour, since it was a country highway. The day I got pulled over, the cop informed me that it was 40. What? So I probably deserved the ticket since I unknowingly was speeding on that road for years.

Not having been pulled over since I was a teenager, I wasn’t sure what the standard was. A fellow Twitterer, @MyLifeROI, author of My Life ROI, suggested that I go to court. He’s had three tickets, but all were thrown out. Twice the cop didn’t show up, and once was due to the cop’s radar.

I’m still on the fence about going. It’s on the other side of town, and will probably take up a good portion of my evening. If I do go, I’ll be completely honest, as I was when I was pulled over. I don’t have an excuse. If they reduce or throw out the ticket, great. If not, I’ll pay it… and wait for my increased premium to show up on our insurance.

The worst part about the whole thing? My husband had a speeding ticket last year, and I constantly reminded him of the effect on our insurance rates… talk about karma….

Have you gone to court for a speeding ticket lately?

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Comments to Going to Court, Debt, and Investing

  1. I went to court for tickets almost every time, and when the tickets are not thrown out, at the very least the judge threw out the points that would otherwise go on my record. For the large ticket (coasting down the mountain, not paying attention to the speedometer) I still had to pay the hefty fine, but at least I didn’t get any points and it didn’t affect my insurance. Good luck.

    Rassah

  2. “The cop didn’t show up” scenario only happens if you refuse the initial plea bargain and you actually go to court. I’m guessing this initial court date they’ll make you a bargain offer, like a parking violation with a similar fine but less points, if you don’t take it you’ll probably have to plan another evening to fight the ticket (at least that’s how it works in some places).

    Many times you’ll lose even with a legitimate defense. I think in general with the deficits the government is in they’ll be more strict than usual, especially if you don’t have a good defense and you plan on admitting your guilt.

    Interestingly enough, insurance usually does not find out about points on your liscense unless they specifically are investigating you (like if you are a brand new policy or have a string of accidents & they are worried you are too big a risk) or you volunteer that info. It’s a myth that DMVs have an automatic hook-up with insurance companies & alert them of your points. Insurance companies have to pay for that info and most of the time they don’t bother. The expense of checking millions of liscences every year doesn’t justify a few increases in premiums.

    Points are an overrated annoyance that really only becomes important if you are close to losing your liscense. Over time they go away and defensive driving courses knock off points too.

    Howard

  3. I went to traffic court earlier this week for a speeding ticket that potentially would be 4 points.

    They gave me two offers for my speeding ticket:

    #1 Pay the same fine and 2 points

    #2 Pay a higher fine and have the charge changed to a Parking ticket and 0 points.

    I definetly don’t need any more reason to pay a higher insurance premium than I alread do so as you can guess I took offer #2.

    Tim

  4. my dad recently went to court for a ticket he got when he parked in a handicap spot and forgot to put up his handicap tag. the cop showed up at court, but the judge lowered the cost of the ticket significantly. i’d say go to court, nothing worse can come out of it.

    melissa

  5. I went to college in Oklahoma, and that place is filled with cop cars at every turn. Needless to say, I got a speeding ticket – my first! I was afraid of what it might do to my insurance, and since college students are pretty free, and it was my first offense, I decided to contest it and go to court, and if found guilty, to plead for leniency. One of my friends told me that if it’s a first offense, sometimes they will let you go for some driving school thing and let you off the hook. What I was betting on, however, is for my cop not to show up for court.

    There were like 20 people in the court room on my court date. Only 2 cops showed up. The rest of the cases got thrown out, and I got away scott free, plus got back my fee. I really didn’t expect 90% of the cases to be thrown out, but the judge and admin staff acted like it happened regularly. I don’t know if its the same everywhere, but I think most cops just don’t or can’t afford to show up for every court date.

    Justina

  6. Where I live, if you haven’t had a ticket in the previous 3 years, they will offer you a deferment where as long as you don’t get a ticket in the next year then it will not go on your record… but the fine is pretty much the same. It’s always worth going to court and at least see if the cop shows up. If they don’t, then it gets thrown out, if they do… then take the deferment ( if they have them in your area ).

    Kris

  7. I actually have a court date in the next few weeks!

    Ray

  8. Thanks for the mention! If I can’t get included for having an awesome article, I’ll find my way into your article nonetheless 🙂 Might not be the best for e-branding, though 😉

    In my case, 2 of the speeding tickets were actually worth paying as the speeds were only about 10mph over. They weren’t crazy expensive or loaded with points.

    One was my first ticket, though, so I went to court and the cop didn’t show. The second was after that, so not having a ticket on record, I went in for that one, too. Again, the cop didn’t show. These were both in Maryland. Their is no plea bargain before the case or anything like that. They often times offer probation for first time offenders.

    My third ticket was in Virginia. I showed up and the officer took me to meet with the DA to plea the ticket down. The DA was so busy with DUIs and more serious offenses that he didn’t get to me before the judge called my case. The cop said he couldn’t testify to me speeding because his radar records were wrong or something. I would have plea’d my case, but boy am I glad I didn’t! And if you don’t know Virginia, their speeding laws are STRICT. Real expensive fines, going 20 over is reckless endangerment (go to jail).

    3 times lucky, and that is it for me. No more tickets since *knock on wood*

    Definitely go to court, you probably won’t be worse off for it!

    MLR

  9. I got pulled over for rolling a stop sign in my own neighborhood a few years ago. It was highly annoying. I didn’t fight it though. I just paid the fine. I didn’t figure it was worth my time, but now I’m wondering if I did the right thing!

    Jeff@MySuperChargedLife

  10. Generally, if you get a ticket and it’s your first ticket in years – it’s probably better to pay the fine and go to traffic school so that it’s not on your record. But if it’s a not – you can always try to go to court and if you’re lucky they will throw the case out if the police officer doesn’t show up.

    I had gotten a ticket for a red like years ago when I was 17 – went to court and the police officer wasn’t there so I was home free. 🙂

    Eves Bank

  11. I swear — they are out there giving more tickets to boost revenue! I seem to see more of them pulling people over all of the time. I take the bus now, so there is no such worry anymore for me.

    LC

  12. I got a ticket on the first day of school in a school zone. It was my first ticket in our county and they double it in school zones. I had forgotten my cell phone and had turned around to go back home to get it….I could have easily gone the day without the cell phone and deliberated before turning my car around. Anyways, I called the county about the ticket and they said that because it was my first ticket in our county, they’d remove the points, but I still needed to pay the ticket. I’ve also been told that if you go to court, you sit for nearly half the day until it’s your turn and they rarely ever throw it out. So try calling “the nice lady” at your local county sheriff’s office and see if you can get the points removed. They only want the revenue and are not out to increase your insurance unless your a repetitive speeder.

    Maggie Magpie

  13. I have never gone to court over a speeding ticket, but don’t some jurisdictions charge court costs as well if you attempt to fight it and the officer does show up?

    Andy

  14. Most people dont realize that by taking it to court is always to their benefit because virtually always the ticket will be lowered in value (and at least 1 demerit point will be dropped). The prosecution (and thus, the state) doesnt want to take it to court because ti costs them extra money so to settle it for a bit less is always to their benefit.

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