General Question

mkelle11's avatar

Speeding Ticket- Should I argue?

Asked by mkelle11 (66points) January 12th, 2011

Today I was pulled over and given a $285 speeding ticket for going 27 over the speed limit. I was speeding and I admitted it to the officer that I was speeding, but at the time I was so freaked out by pulling over that I didn’t even try to deny it. I’m not looking to get out of the punishment, really, I just want to avoid it showing up on insurance. I was recently in a car accident and I don’t even want to think about what a ticket would do to my premium.

In hindsight, I think the cop was a tad unforgiving- He was sitting in an area where it goes from 55 mph rural to 30 mph residential, and I’m a 17 year old girl who has a clean record. And yes, I was crying and freaking out and I didn’t challenge him at all. Maybe it was a really bad day, I don’t know.

As of now, my parents don’t know about this. I have the means to pay the fine and intend to, but my dad pays for my insurance so I’d really like for this not to show up, or for the effects of it to be reduced when it comes to insurance. I live in MN, where I understand that attending a Traffic School will not get tickets dismissed.

I have been researching contesting tickets in court and just don’t know what to do- I was stupid, yes, and I’m willing to pay for that, I just don’t want to be paying for it for the next 5 years and have my dad paying for it. But I know I was speeding and I admitted it to the officer, meaning that really I have no right to a not-guilty plea. But I would like to negotiate something, if possible, where I pay a fine and attend a traffic class rather than the speeding showing up on my record. Is there any way to do this outside of an official court hearing? Should I try to negotiate or should I just take it? What do you think? I just don’t know what to do- I plan on telling my father, but I really want to have a good idea of my options before doing so, so we can skip past the “I messed up” part of the conversation to the ”....But I’m trying to be responsible for it and here’s how I plan to do that.” part.
I’m 17, have an otherwise clean record, and maintain a B-A average in school.

Also, our insurance expired on the 10th- How long until the insurance company can see this ticket?

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35 Answers

deni's avatar

I didn’t read all of the details but you can always try to fight it. I never have but it seems that a lot of people that do end up getting out of the ticket because the cop doesn’t show at a court date. They have better things to do. So give it a whack.

kenmc's avatar

Today I was pulled over and given a $285 speeding ticket for going 27 over the speed limit. I was speeding and I admitted it to the officer that I was speeding

Okay, first off, you were going 27 over? That’s insane. And fucking dangerous. Secondly, you admitted it to the cop? You have no case. You could call a lawyer and ask, but it might (ie probably) be a waste of money.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Depends on the jurisdiction. If you take it to court and lose, you could have court costs added to the fine as well as the fine to pay.

mkelle11's avatar

27 over sounds worse than it was, considering it was where it went from 55 to 30 without much change in scenery, traffic, ect. I was clocked at 57, although when I looked I was at 40.

Besides, that’s not what I’m asking- I know it was stupid, but I was distracted for a reason you probably don’t care about. I just want to know if there’s any way I could possibly keep this from effecting my insurance, or minimize its effect.

Kardamom's avatar

Don’t try to fight it. You are guilty and have no way to prove that you weren’t speeding. Your best bet is to pay the fine and then go to or do online traffic school, which you will also have to pay for, but it will get the mark removed from your record and won’t effect your insurance. Then turn over a new leaf and start driving more responsibly. Believe me you don’t want to get another speeding ticket, because they won’t let you do traffic school next time (until a bunch of years have passed).

Ron_C's avatar

Good luck trying to fight the ticket. A few years ago I got a ticket in a local town with police using a VASCAR timing device. I was pretty sure that I was at or below the speed limit and decided to go to court.

I did some research and found a couple references in magazines like “Car and Driver” that discussed the unreliability of a device that needed the policeman’s reflexes to calculate speed as a vehicle passes over a trigger device. Additionally it doesn’t compensate for different wheel base size etc….

The judge complimented me on my research and presentation but said that he would have to go with the officer’s opinion. That’s pretty much what happens in any traffic court unless you have witnesses to support your side.

Your dad’s is going to be mad. I lived through two teenage daughters and five totaled cars. Strangely, my insurance never went up. Maybe the incidents happened so fast and frequently that the records never caught up to us. I do not suggest that you go out and total your car to hide fact that you got a speeding ticket. I don’t want to further upset you but in most states, more than 20MPH over the speed limit is considered reckless driving, a very serious offense. If the policeman only charged you with speeding, he was being merciful.

SavoirFaire's avatar

You can try writing to the district attorney’s office, but you’ll lose in court if the officer shows up. Different states make different accommodations for officers. You can’t have a hearing on a day when the officer cannot make it in to the courthouse where I live, for instance, and they almost always show up here. But Minnesota might be different, so try asking around.

If you write to the district attorney’s office, explain the situation as best you can. Emphasize your clean record and your lack of any intention to speed (as evidenced by the fact that you were trying to slow down, which is why you saw 40 mph on your speedometer when you looked down just a second after you passed the officer). Keep in mind, however, that the speed change is not really an excuse. That’s why the officers trap there.

With luck, you will get the charge dropped to something that won’t effect your insurance much (if at all). But you’ll still have to go to court and pay the fine.

perspicacious's avatar

Pay the ticket. Yes it will affect your insurance. 27 miles per hour over the speed limit is reckless regardless of where the cop was sitting. You are 17 and already have had a wreck and a ticket. Maybe you should grow up a bit before you get behind the wheel. I’m an advocate of 18 for the minimum age to drive.

john65pennington's avatar

Okay, you asked for advice, so here it is. you were guilty by your own admission. if you pay the fine outright, this will not only put points on your drivers license, but like you said, paying the fine is nothing compared to the next five years of hicked up insurance premiums. and, not to mention your dad having to pay it. here is my suggestion:

If this is your first or second moving traffic violation, go to traffic court. ask the clerk if you qualify to attend the traffic school. the cost is about $50 dollars. if you qualify, in open court, ask the judge if you can attend the traffic school. you can go in person to the classes or complete the classes on your home computer, any time. the object is not to take your money, its to teach you a lesson and maybe learn something along the way. once you successfully complete the school, your citation will be dismissed as though it never happened. and, your auto insurance will not be notified of your citation.

I would make every effort to go to court and ask for the traffic school. this, by far, is your best choice for now and five years down the road.

Good luck. john

XOIIO's avatar

27 over is fucking ridiculous. You have no reason to go that much over the limit. Get off your cell phone, pay your ticket and pay attention.

mkelle11's avatar

I wasn’t on my cell phone XOIIO. I had just been informed that my friend and his sister were in the hospital after being T-boned earlier in the day, and doctors were skeptical as to if he’d be able to walk without a crutch again. If that’s not something to think about I’m not sure what qualifies anymore.

geeky_mama's avatar

Agree with @Ron_C
I have a colleague who was a Radar Expert (had Ph.D in physics and specialty in Radar. Had designed Radar for US Navy when he served on Submarines) – and he once fought a ticket (back in the days of Radar, in the late 90s) and was able to mathematically prove (and gave a detailed presentation in court) that the officer’s radar had in fact not measured his vehicle’s speed, but the speed of a fan spinning just behind the front grill of his car.

After my colleague’s conclusive and detailed mathematical evidence the judge leaned over and asked the officer who’d issued the ticket: “Uh, Mike, in your opinion was he speeding?” Office Mike said: “Yep.”
Judge ordered my colleague to pay the ticket PLUS court fees.

From that I learned there is NO WAY to fight a ticket after it’s been issued. Nothing you can say after the fact will get you a break. If the officer was unswayed by your tears at the time and did not let you off with a warning you can be sure a judge will not later decide in your favor.

Ron_C's avatar

@john65pennington I had to take Pennsylvania’s 6 point test. That is the written section of the driver’s test. If you pass the test, they take off two points and you get to keep your license. If not you lose it for a period of time, I forget how long. The weird part is that I was the only one at the test over 22 years old, infact, I was in my 50’s. The good part is that I haven’t had a speeding ticket since (a warning in Indiana didn’t count).

Personally, I believe that “speeding tickets” are just a way to pay for the police. The only true crimes are hindering traffic by going too slow or reckless driving. Unfortunately, this girl was driving recklessly.

gondwanalon's avatar

Never argue with a police officer while being written up for a ticket. Always go to court and ask the judge if you may go to driving school (usually 8 hours of class) to have the ticket taken off your driving record and also you may learn a pointer or two on how to drive safer.

mkelle11's avatar

Is there any one I could call/contact beforehand (In the system, not a lawyer looking for business) to see if I’d have a chance at getting the ticket taken off for taking a Safe driving/Driving school type course? There’s a lot online, but most of it is either opinion based on personal experiences or articles put out by companies who provide legal services and want you to hire them- It’s hard to find state-specific, .gov type information on what’s possible and what isn’t on this.

I plan to take the course anyways, because it’ll be good for me and because it may help somewhat with insurance.

john65pennington's avatar

Ron C. thanks. i have given this advice to many, many traffic violators i have stopped and issued citations. the funny part here is, i give more people a warning, rather than issue a citation. anyway,each state has its own set or rules and regulations, regarding traffic schools. the info i gave deals strictly with Tennessee.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Would it be possible for some people to stop harping on “27 over” and assuming other things about @mkelle11? It was a speed zone (that is, a place where the speed limit changes drastically). She went from driving 57 in a 55 to 57 in a 30, but slowed down almost immediately to 40 in a 30. And for all we know, she was moving quickly towards 30 in a 30. But the officers typically trap right at the sign, and so she was caught before she stopped slowing down.

Yes, it was a mistake. Yes, she broke the law. No, she wasn’t running over babies or fueling her car with their tears.

Ron_C's avatar

@john65pennington Tennessee is one of the few states where I have not, yet, recieved a speeding ticket. I was there a few weeks ago during the ice storms we were lucky just to stay on the road, let alone speed. I noticed, however that even in good weather, drivers typicaly stay 5 MPH under the speed limit.

mkelle11's avatar

@SavoirFaire I may just love you, just for a little bit. I feel like, with some people, this has been the convorsation I’m going to eventually have with my mother- My father I can talk to, but my mom, well, she’ll take the absolute worst parts of anything and run with them, and just shutting up and taking it- Even if it’s only about 30% correct- is better than trying to argue for another 10% and having to deal with screaming fits for the next 3 weeks.

I’m probably going to talk to my Driver’s Ed instructor, look at classes, pay the fine, and try to figure out a way to tell my dad when my mom’s out of an earshot. Thanks everyone!

funkdaddy's avatar

Usually the ticket (or a paper the office gives you with the ticket) will give options as to what you can do.

Here, one of those options is a “defensive driving” class like @john65pennington mentions. You take the class, the ticket comes off your record, and you can actually report the class to your insurance and they may reduce your premiums for having the education.

If the class isn’t an option in MN for some reason, you can go to court and explain your side to a judge, agree to pay a fine, and if the judge is willing, you can ask them to defer the ticket from showing on your record. Basically you’re on probation (from traffic violations) for whatever period of time the judge would agree to (usually 6 months). If you don’t get any other tickets during that time, don’t have any other troubles, then the ticket never gets to your record. It has a much better chance of success than trying to fight the ticket on any grounds and accomplishes your goal of not having the ticket on your record.

john65pennington's avatar

Ron C. traffic enforcement is just about number one, throughout Tennessee. its not really the money, its about saving lives. our dui stats have come down. rigid traffic enforcement has to be the reason. the powers that be, have finally learned that criminals have to travel from point A to point B, how do they do this? the automobile, of course. this is why we capture so many wanted persons from throughout the U.S. in Tennessee. traffic stops. you never know who or what is behind the wheel, unless you stop them. they have learned to slow down and avoid being discovered. does this make sense??

SavoirFaire's avatar

@mkelle11 Glad to help. Unfortunately, keeping this from your mother—inasmuch as that is possible—does seem like the best option. Good luck with her, and good luck with the court.

mkelle11's avatar

She’ll find out eventually, but I hope to have it all resolved – Ideally meaning fine paid and something negotiated where it won’t show up on my record, but not holding my breath- by the time she finds out, because then there’s nothing she can do, really. It’s done and taken care of.

geeky_mama's avatar I disagree with @Ron_C—at least for MN. It’s not an income earning thing here. The MN Highway Patrol does not have quotas, and local sheriffs offices in MN almost never do speed patrols—so getting pulled over means you caught their attention or had the bad luck to happen past an officer between calls.
I live in MN and we have VERY few officers doing speed enforcement.
I used to live in Ohio and literally got pulled over doing 26 in a 25 MPH zone once. Many many many more officers visible on the roads doing speed patrols in Ohio. Also, there was a direct correlation to how many speeding tickets issued and the time of the month (end of the month quotas existed when I lived in Columbus and Dayton, OH—but this was over 10 years ago.).

Both my husband and I drive (frequently) across the US for work and by comparison to other states it’s almost hard to get pulled over for speeding in MN.

XOIIO's avatar

@mkelle11 Well I’m glad to hear you weren’t on a cell phone, it seems most people are when they are speeding. It still isn’t an excuse to go 27 over the limit. You could have done the same to another persons car.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I live in Mississippi where “Driving School” doesn’t dismiss a ticket either, but it DOES wipe it off of your record so that your insurance doesn’t increase. You pay the fine, but no additional insurance costs. See if your state does this.

blueiiznh's avatar

When I lived in MN, you enter a plea of nolo contendere. You paid your fee and it did not have as big of an effect on your Insurance and point system for rating you.
I however have no idea if you can still do that there.
I will admit I enjoy the gas pedal and have had my share. I went into court and plead my case everytime. Manytimes I got lucky and it was dismissed, sometimes not.
You always have that right. Do some checking…

BarnacleBill's avatar

Traffic school keeps your license for you, and stops your insurance carrier from dropping you. It has nothing to do with not paying the fine.

deni's avatar

You guys are being really obnoxious. I know exactly the type of situation the OP was in….the same EXACT thing happened to me 2 years ago. A 50 went down to a 35….I was doing 57 I think….7 miles over the speed limit is nothing. And the only reason it went down to 35 was because UP AHEAD there were some houses closer to the road. Calm down guys geez.

OpryLeigh's avatar

If you can get on a driving course I definitely recommend it. I was caught speeding for the first time last year and I attended one to avoid getting points on my licence (I still had to pay the fine) and I learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here in the UK these courses only last about half a day and you can only do them after the first time you have been caught speeding. Since then I have been a lot more aware of the speed limit and driving safely.

I do think you should take responsibility for your actions and not play the blame game. Many of us have been in this position and it’s a pain in the arse but, regardless of why you were speeding, you still broke the law and the police officer was perfectly right to pull you over.

Ron_C's avatar

@john65pennington The reason for the strict traffic law enforcement to give the police a reason to inspect who is in the car? Sounds even more big brother than the video cameras in New York and London. I expect that only really stupid criminals are caught breaking traffic laws.

How about a new Tennessee public safety campaign; “If you are going to rob a bank in our state you better be a safe and courteous driver!”

blahblahblah0's avatar

Y’all don’t have a clue…it IS all about the money each city/county can make through traffic violations!! Of course, the normal, average person will be fined even with an intelligent and accurate defense (of radar, pacing, vascar, etc.) when fighting the ticket in court. It’s always the “officer’s” word against yours. THAT’S the problem with the legal system. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Why is it that those high-school educated, bullies with a gun and badge are given more credence than we, the average citizens?

blueiiznh's avatar

@blahblahblah0 because most drive like shit and don’t even know the traffic laws or abide by them

bomyne's avatar

You are supposed to slow down before the speed limit sign, so that’s not a good defense I’m afraid.

You admit to being over the limit, so you need to just pay the fine.

However, the bigger problem is that you admitted to being distracted. In future, make sure not to let anything distract you when driving, not even a family situation. The situation on the road can change in an instant, if you are distracted and the situation changes, you could end up being the one in hospital, putting another road user in hospital… or worse.

Always remember that a motor vehicle is a deadly and dangerous weapon. Be careful with it, and don’t get distracted.

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