Got my first speeding ticket

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Back in the 1990s Nolo press (https://www.nolo.com) had a book called "Fight Your Ticket". It walks you through all the legal procedures. There are so many steps, usually your case gets dismissed before you have to show up in court. You don't need a lawyer. Following this book's advice, when I used to live in CA my record was 4 for 5 over the years - pretty good.

Or, you can keep it simple and write a letter to the court requesting traffic school. You pay the fine and fees, but it doesn't go on your record so your insurance doesn't go up.
Summary of what to do if you get a ticket in CA:
  1. Write a letter to the court exercising your right to trial by mail.
  2. If trial by mail finds you not guilty, you're done.
  3. Else (the court found you guilty), write a letter to the court exercising your right to a trial de novo
  4. After the court grants it, file for discovery
  5. The city attorney must respond within 2 weeks and at least 30 days before trial
  6. If he doesn't, then you have grounds for dismissal of your case - file for that
  7. Else (he does), then you receive a copy of all evidence that will be used against you
  8. When your court date arrives, by this time after all the above you're about a year out...
  9. If the officer doesn't show up (he may have transferred, etc.), the state has no witness - case dismissed
  10. As the state presents its case, they can't use anything they didn't send you - it's inadmissible unless provided in discovery
  11. If you win in court, you're done.
  12. Radar evidence must be accompanied by documentation of the radar's most recent calibration - if not provided, it's inadmissible
  13. Speed limits must not be lower than recommended by the most recent traffic survey at that location (85% percentile) - if it is lower, then radar evidence is inadmissible even if the radar is calibrated
  14. After all this, if you still haven't gotten the case dismissed, you can ask for traffic school, or to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
PS: I am not a lawyer, but these are just infractions. You don't need to be a lawyer if you can read the law and follow instructions.
 
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Here , if you have a decent driving record you can pay the ticket and take an online course and it won't ding your insurance .
 
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I'm an older guy and I've used up all 5 of my lifetime (Florida) "driving schools". My next ticket is going to require a lawyer.

Even so, it was worth every penny. The speeds I drive and the miles traveled save so much time, the tickets are simply the price of doing business.

Don't believe the nonsense that you only save a 50 seconds by going faster. Over a year, I save about 2-5 work-weeks of driving time, or about 40 to 90 hours! I typically drive between 15,000 and 30,000 miles per year. During Covid, I was doing between 10K and 12K per month! A great many long trips. Often done in one 19 hour session.
 

MrQuackers

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My brother got Roscoed at PDX airport

Limit quickly changes from 45 - 35 - 25

Like fishing in a barrel
 

y_p_w

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California considers a speeding ticket (less than excessive speed or reckless driving) an "infraction", and as such it's a complete waste of time (not to mention money) to hire a lawyer. OP's best bet is too pay the fine and ask for traffic school to keep it off his record. And yes in California you have to pay the fine and pay for traffic school.

Yeah - that's exactly what I plan on doing. This was at the exit to San Francisco International Airport. But San Mateo County has a reduced fine program if one is willing to forgo going to court. In my case it will reduce from $238 to maybe (from memory) $125 if a judge approves. Not sure if this is unique, but I looked up my county, which doesn't have a similar program. And the form says I can still request traffic school.


I used to work near one Alameda County traffic court and we'd see CHP around quite often. I heard that they were still paid while going to court, while many city police would have to use their own time. I had one other traffic ticket (San Francisco proper) in my life, I got a court date, the officer didn't show, and it was immediately dismissed.

Mostly I was just thinking how atrocious the officer's handwriting was. If someone simply wanted to show up on the date and didn't have internet access, I'm not sure how to figure out what the appear date is.
 

GON

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I am fluent in fighting moving violations.

A few thoughts. Every jurisdiction/ state has different statutes. There is no one size fits all defense on a moving violation. I represented myself the last two moving violations I received. I had the charges dropped on both cases, but I was a fool for representing myself- and I am fluent on the legal system.

RooflessVW nailed it- hire an attorney. And this saying is the best advice I can offer "He who represents himself is a fool".
 

y_p_w

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Summary of what to do if you get a ticket in CA:
  1. Write a letter to the court exercising your right to trial by mail.
  2. If trial by mail finds you not guilty, you're done.
  3. Else (the court found you guilty), write a letter to the court exercising your right to a trial de novo
  4. After the court grants it, file for discovery
  5. The city attorney must respond within 2 weeks and at least 30 days before trial
  6. If he doesn't, then you have grounds for dismissal of your case - file for that
  7. Else (he does), then you receive a copy of all evidence that will be used against you
  8. When your court date arrives, by this time after all the above you're about a year out...
  9. If the officer doesn't show up (he may have transferred, etc.), the state has no witness - case dismissed
  10. As the state presents its case, they can't use anything they didn't send you - it's inadmissible unless provided in discovery
  11. If you win in court, you're done.
  12. Radar evidence must be accompanied by documentation of the radar's most recent calibration - if not provided, it's inadmissible
  13. Speed limits must not be lower than recommended by the most recent traffic survey at that location (85% percentile) - if it is lower, then radar evidence is inadmissible even if the radar is calibrated
  14. After all this, if you still haven't gotten the case dismissed, you can ask for traffic school, or to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
PS: I am not a lawyer, but these are just infractions. You don't need to be a lawyer if you can read the law and follow instructions.

I've gone to traffic court once and it was never that involved. I walked into the Court of Justice in San Francisco and requested a court date. I showed. Officer didn't. Case dismissed.

I'm not sure what the deal was. I've seen CHP for decades, and I've seen traffic going 20 MPH over the limit and they didn't do anything unless someone was making an unsafe lane change or going 90 MPH. Once I saw a bunch of drivers in a 55 zone slow down, and the officer found whatever open was and bolted out at about 80.
 

y_p_w

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I am fluent in fighting moving violations.

A few thoughts. Every jurisdiction/ state has different statutes. There is no one size fits all defense on a moving violation. I represented myself the last two moving violations I received. I had the charges dropped on both cases, but I was a fool for representing myself- and I am fluent on the legal system.

RooflessVW nailed it- hire an attorney. And this saying is the best advice I can offer "He who represents himself is a fool".

I'm not fighting it. Figure it's not worth it, especially if I can do traffic school and get the fine reduced.

I'm not sure if the officer was doing me a favor or not. I wasn't rude, but I was under the impression that they would typically just warn a driver if they were feeling generous. He told me that knocking down the approximate speed would knock down the fine quite a bit.
 
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I’ve called the prosecutor’s office before and asked if I can have it reduced to a non moving violation before. They did it without an attorney, I just paid a littering fine or something. It was more than the speeding ticket but basically the same thing an attorney is going to charge you for.
 

CKN

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I lived in the state of California for 50 years-drove a million miles on the So Cal freeways for my job. There is a lot of less than accurate advice( for the State of California) on this thread.
With that being said-I received three tickets for speeding, went to traffic school for one, the other two were dismissed -the Officer didn't show. Many judges will not let you attend traffic school if you fight the ticket and lose in court. The safest play is pay the fine-attend traffic school.
 
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Shel_B

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Or, you can keep it simple and write a letter to the court requesting traffic school. You pay the fine and fees, but it doesn't go on your record so your insurance doesn't go up.
No need to write letters ... everything can be done online. That's how I did it several years ago and how it's still done today.
 
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Everything is state specific so take what I say with a grain salt.
You could plead not guilty on the ticket or in person, the day of trial normally DA is around making plea deals, outside the room. DA's don't want to go to trail they are there to clear things as fast as possible. Your may even be able to plead down to following a car too closely or fail to yield right of way. (it was a long time ago for me, forgot which one :pthink it was following too closely) instead of speeding.

Same thing if the ticket allows you to appear, right before the appearance you can let the DA know you are going to plead not guilty unless you can get it reduced because you think things were done incorrectly ya da ya da. Normally there would be a line of people talking to him for the same reason, including attorneys in line do the same thing you are doing.
NO way would a pay an attorney if this is just a first or second offense and no danger of losing your license.
 
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