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patch41 patch41 is offline
 
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Have you ever fought a traffic ticket?
Old 01-24-2013, 09:03 PM
  #1

DH had a minor accident driving to work. We've had very cold weather and a little dusting of snow. He slid on a patch of ice and his car went a few feet off the road. There was no damage to the car, he just couldn't get his car out of the little gulley he landed in.

When it happened, he called me and I immediately drove out to where he was (rural area). It was sunny and the roads were "dusty" looking from salt use in previous days. They weren't icy, but you could clearly see a patch of black ice where the slide started--there were tire tracks--about 15-20 ft. long--and they led to where his car was. The tire marks were NOT skid marks, you could just see the wet looking tracks coming from the ice and on the dusty road surface.

So a police officer arrived shortly thereafter. He had a bit of an attitude from the start. He immediately suggested that dh was going too fast, but dh pointed out the ice and said that he wasn't going over the speed limit. P.O. had called a tow truck, so I left him and DH to wait and went on to work.

The P.O. ended up giving DH a ticket for going too fast for conditions! It's absolutely ridiculous because anyone could clearly see what had happened, and he would have gone much farther off the road if he had been going too fast. We really want to fight this ticket, but without any proof, won't it be futile? Has anyone had any experience with this? Do you think we have a case? Should we get pictures of where it happened? We didn't even think to take photos when it happened...Any other advice?

The tow truck cost $90--which really made me mad since we have AAA, but the officer had called for this one...and the ticket is $120. Plus DH will have 2 points against his driving record. He has had a good driving record up until now.


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Old 01-24-2013, 09:07 PM
  #2

I would definately try to fight it! the officer has no proof you drove to fast!!! he arrived after the scene- what does he know about your speed... you drove the car and know that you werent- that it was just ice!!! I cant believe a police would act that way! Ridiculous!!!!
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fight it
Old 01-24-2013, 09:25 PM
  #3

No BTDT, but it sounds as though it's worth fighting. It's been a while since I lived where it snows, but IIRC, there is no such thing as a "safe" speed when there is black ice. So what does it mean that he was going "too fast"?

From what I have heard, if the officer fails to show up, the ticket will be dismissed. I do not know if this is true.

For the $120 ticket, I would be on the fence about fighting it. But the 2 points will hurt your rates for a while. So I say go for it. You may even want to ask your insurer for advice.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:38 PM
  #4

Fight it! That's ridiculous! And good luck!
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:50 PM
  #5

I don't know the laws in your state, but it's true in Calif. that if the officer does not show up for court, you win. He may have a different attitude, if he realizes he was wrong. However, most officers I know believe they were right, or they wouldn't have given a ticket. That doesn't mean he WAS right, just that HE believes it. I would definitely fight it, especially if you can do it without losing money for taking the time off. The pp was correct: there ISN'T a safe speed on black ice. Maybe you could politely ask what speed he feels DH should have been going? Whatever speed he says, ask if that absolutely would have been safe on black ice. If he's truthful, he'll probably say "no". Then you've got him. Good luck!


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Old 01-25-2013, 02:08 AM
  #6

Quote:
I don't know the laws in your state, but it's true in Calif. that if the officer does not show up for court, you win.
grammam speaks the truth as I fought a ticket and the cop no showed. So I won by default.

To quote Homer Simpson

"the two greatest words in the English language De Fault"
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:18 AM
  #7

Wow, I don't see how the police officer can give a ticket without firsthand knowledge of the speeding. I would try to contest the ticket.

I am curious why a police officer had to come? Why did you not just call AAA?

We have cars go off the road all the time here. If there is not property damage and no one was hurt the police are not involved at all.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:26 AM
  #8

I'd try to fight it. The only ticket I've ever gotten was for hitting a guy in an old broken down truck from behind who stopped suddenly in front of me at a yield sign. Nothing was coming and I was expecting him to pause at the sign and go on. When I say hitting, it was actually more of a tap. I don't think I was going over 15 mph. I think he was trying to get me to hit him, because he then tried to claim he was injured. I fought it and the ticket ended up being dismissed. You have nothing to lose!
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:58 AM
  #9

Yes I did fight a bigger ticket than yours and I won. Have husband write down every minor detail that happened. This includes the time, road conditions, traffic conditions, weather, speed, witnesses, when the officer arrived and what both he and the officer said. Only the facts and no biased remarks. Get a printed weather and rod condition report for that day. Do you have pics of the skid marks and his car in the ditch? What you want to do is to recreate the accident for the judge so he can understand exactly what happened. Writing everything down now will kepp DH from forgetting necessary details and it will help him to communicate accurately in court. The last words I heard from the judge were, "In the interest of justice....I dismiss this case". Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:37 AM
  #10

Unfortunately, you can be driving too fast for conditions and still be under the speed limit. Since it will be he said-she said, it could go either way, although the judge may deem the officer as being more credible. You can go to court though, and many times they will reduce to something else. Can't hurt anyway!


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Try it...
Old 01-25-2013, 04:41 AM
  #11

I have had only two tickets in 30+ years of driving and one was regarding an accident. In my case, "fighting" is too strong of a word--even "contesting" is too much. Not knowing any better on the first one, I just went it to discuss it. I thought that was a reasonable thing to do-- They listened to me for all of 30 seconds and said "how about it if we reduced it to this charge, call it mechanical failure, you pay this amount (less by half), and no points lost?" I said "Ok" and we were done. No court or anything-whole appointment was about 10 minutes long.

In the second case, I couldn't get an appointment before the court date but went in and explained my case before the judge. The officer was there but didn't object or anything. The judge gave me a "suspended imposition of sentence" which means it was deferred for one year. I paid $19 in court cost. After one year with no more tickets or accidents, it was removed from my record without ever being reported to my insurance.

I will never just accept a ticket without trying to settle. It is not about guilt or innocence at that point. It is about protecting my driving record and insurance costs. DH is the same way.
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Fight it to
Old 01-25-2013, 07:02 AM
  #12

the deaths. I fight everything though. In your case though this is especially worth it.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:32 AM
  #13

I would fight it. I fought the only ticket I have ever gotten and won. Does your husband have a clean driving record? That will definitely help him. Also, some states (at least in my case this happened) send an officer to court for all tickets. The officer who gave me the ticket did not show up at court, but there was an officer who represented him and all the other officers.

I would go back to the scene of the accident and take pictures of the road where there are NO SKID MARKS!!! That might help to prove he wasn't driving fast. Hope your husband gets out of it!!
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:13 AM
  #14

I fought an unfair ticket and I had a reasonable case. The cop did show up (unless they have a good reason not to, they usually do according to my sheriff deputy friend). The judge reduced my ticket from $200 to $70. BUT fighting in court waives my right to traffic school. Had I known that I would have paid the ticket and kept the ability to get rid of the points. So definitely check into that.
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Thanks!
Old 01-25-2013, 11:43 AM
  #15

Thanks for all of the advice! I think DH is going to fight it. Gromit, usually around here, they do the opposite--they take the points off but have you pay the fine! We'll see what happens. I'll update everyone when the time comes!
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a friend did and won
Old 01-25-2013, 02:20 PM
  #16

he had been cited for speeding,

went to court and said that the
guy behind him was right on his tail\
so he sped up to keep a distance...

if the sheriff doesn't show then you
automatically win

is worth a try
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Yep!
Old 01-25-2013, 02:51 PM
  #17

I bumped a guy at a stop sign this past summer. He pulled ahead and started the turn and then saw a car in the blind spot and stopped! I had no time to react. I got a court date, had to take an afternoon off of work, and got it reduced to impeding traffic which had a $100 fine and no points. The highlite of my story is the morning of my court date, morning announcements came on. I was half listening, half getting my firsties settled, when the p announces that our 5th grade classes were taking a field trip to the very courthouse I was going to! Imagine my mild heart attack! They get to see a lot of traffic court while there! I quickly called my friend, who teaches 5th, and asked what time they would be returning to school. Bus picked up the classes at 2 to come home, my time was 2:30. I sat in the waaaaaaaay back of the parking lot and watched all of those kids (former students and parents of mine) get on the bus. Really???? What were the odds! We laughed about it afterwards.
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