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Old 04-18-2014, 03:15 PM   #21
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Good advice IMO.
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:22 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Sojourner View Post

And yes, $140 does seem like a lot to me for this kind of thing. The last ticket I got way back in the 90's was for a similar violation and cost all of $60!
Sounds like a chronic condition
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:32 PM   #23
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I know! One that recurs every 20 years or so. Paying $140 this time might just be the cure for it.
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:39 PM   #24
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Why do you think you have a good case? While it isn't clear to me what you did, it sounds like it was not within the letter of the law. That is what they will look at in deciding the case.

While you and I may feel that the infraction is minor and didn't create a danger, if it was a violation your don't have much of a defense. It would be the same as getting caught doing rolling stop through a remote intersection with no other cars anywhere nearby. Is it an innocuous violation? Yes. Did it create a danger? No. Will you be found guilty? Yes. The judge will look at the law.
If everyone who committed such a violation got a ticket, there wouldn't be any deficits in the cities' coffers. You were obviously singled out (maybe it was deserved on the basis of traffic or some other factor.) Still I would consider going to court to fight it if you really believe what you did caused NO DANGER at all. I would ask the officer what it was that made him stop you. Does he always stop EVERYONE who does this? (If he says "yes", even the judge will know he is not truthful.) If he says "no" ask him why your violation was so "egregious" that he chose to exercise his discretion and "get" you. Ask if he is under pressure to write more fineable tickets (the judge may will know if this is the case). If you know a lawyer (friend), pick his brain. There are whole books on beating tickets. Check your library or NOLO, etc. to find them.

Just my $.02 worth, but, IMHO, this is EXACTLY the kind of "infraction" which needs to be taken to court. Even if you technically violated the "law", you may be able to get the judge to throw it out (hey, he drives too!) There is also a limited chance (1 in 20?, 1 in 10) that the officer will not show up. In most cases, the judge will throw it out on the spot if that happens.

Overall, I'm taking a SWAG that you DO have a chance to beat this.

Finally, even if you lose, you have sent a message to the judge, the officer, the "system", etc., that some folks will fight. If enough folks do so, the capricious nature of "civil" crime enforcement may become a little less so.

I support "law and order", but sometimes, it can become just "someone was having a bad day and you are it." Good luck. As always, YMMV.
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:47 PM   #25
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If you fight the ticket and lose, you're going to have to pay court costs on top of the ticket. You're $140 fine may become $300+ if you lose. Based on your description of the incident, I would say its 50/50 whether or not you can beat the ticket depending on the judge. Some traffic court judges think everyone is guilty. Some are predisposed to think cops love writing tickets for no reason other than the fact that they can, and let people off all the time. So you're basically flipping a coin for $150 or more and you going to waste half a day. Personally I would plead no contest and pay the fine. Its not worth the hassle.
I can neither confirm nor refute the contention that court costs will be added if you go to court in YOUR jurisdiction. In the jurisdictions in which I received a ticket, court costs were added whether you pleaded guilty on the spot (with the officer - you subsequently mail the fine), pleaded guilty in traffic court, or if you had a bench trial. The "system" loves it when you plead guilty. Even if you have to pay the fine, you can make them "earn" the money (assuming you have the time and inclination.) Again, just my $.02 so YMMV.
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:52 PM   #26
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If everyone who committed such a violation got a ticket, there wouldn't be any deficits in the cities' coffers. You were obviously singled out (maybe it was deserved on the basis of traffic or some other factor.) Still I would consider going to court to fight it if you really believe what you did caused NO DANGER at all. I would ask the officer what it was that made him stop you. Does he always stop EVERYONE who does this? (If he says "yes", even the judge will know he is not truthful.) If he says "no" ask him why your violation was so "egregious" that he chose to exercise his discretion and "get" you. Ask if he is under pressure to write more fineable tickets (the judge may will know if this is the case). If you know a lawyer (friend), pick his brain. There are whole books on beating tickets. Check your library or NOLO, etc. to find them.

Just my $.02 worth, but, IMHO, this is EXACTLY the kind of "infraction" which needs to be taken to court. Even if you technically violated the "law", you may be able to get the judge to throw it out (hey, he drives too!) There is also a limited chance (1 in 20?, 1 in 10) that the officer will not show up. In most cases, the judge will throw it out on the spot if that happens.

Overall, I'm taking a SWAG that you DO have a chance to beat this.

Finally, even if you lose, you have sent a message to the judge, the officer, the "system", etc., that some folks will fight. If enough folks do so, the capricious nature of "civil" crime enforcement may become a little less so.

I support "law and order", but sometimes, it can become just "someone was having a bad day and you are it." Good luck. As always, YMMV.
I respectfully disagree. Law is pretty clear, he violated it, and the system requires he pays appropriate fine. He needs to have something better than "did-my-action-cause-danger?" defense. And as a tax payer, I'd hate to see our court mired in dealing with such clear cut cases. The officer did his job. The citizen must do his part. Pay the fine and move on.

When I initially read only the subject line, I thought the OP was erroneously cited and want to challenge the system for justice. Instead, he is just looking to avoid paying fine on something he did wrong (by law). The word "integrity" comes to my mind ....
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:33 PM   #27
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I respectfully disagree. Law is pretty clear, he violated it, and the system requires he pays appropriate fine. He needs to have something better than "did-my-action-cause-danger?" defense. And as a tax payers, I'd hate to see our court mired in dealing with such clear cut cases. The officer did his job. The citizen must do his part. Pay the fine and move on.

When I initially read only the subject line, I thought the OP was erroneously cited and want to challenge the system for justice. Instead, he is just looking to avoid paying fine on something he did wrong (by law). The word "integrity" comes to my mind ....
It's nice to know there is a driver out there who has never broken a traffic law without getting a ticket ! How would you feel if an officer followed you around and wrote you ticket every time you "did wrong (by law)".
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:48 PM   #28
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It's nice to know there is a driver out there who has never broken a traffic law without getting a ticket ! How would you feel if an officer followed you around and wrote you ticket every time you "did wrong (by law)".
I paid the ticket, and went to school to erase the record. Sure, I felt bad about it. But trying to get away from paying for it when it is clearly my fault? That's not me. If that's you, then, more power to you.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:00 PM   #29
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I respectfully disagree. Law is pretty clear, he violated it, and the system requires he pays appropriate fine. He needs to have something better than "did-my-action-cause-danger?" defense. And as a tax payers, I'd hate to see our court mired in dealing with such clear cut cases. The officer did his job. The citizen must do his part. Pay the fine and move on.

When I initially read only the subject line, I thought the OP was erroneously cited and want to challenge the system for justice. Instead, he is just looking to avoid paying fine on something he did wrong (by law). The word "integrity" comes to my mind ....
Okay, we can agree to disagree, then. Let me explain a bit where I'm coming from. I have two (former) LEO friends (still friends, just no longer LEOs). They have both said at one time or another and in different ways "Give me six blocks and I can find a reason to stop anyone." THEIR point was that it was pretty easy to use traffic laws to stop and check someone out. It could be as simple as a light out (one of more than one) on your license plate for instance.) MY point is that it would be difficult to drive more than a few miles without technically violating some traffic law (do you always make a car-bobbing dead stop at every stop sign - it's the law, you know.) Most LEOs don't stop everyone every time for a 2 mph roll through a stop sign. One of my LEO friends says, "If I see both sides of your face from behind at a stop sign, I won't stop you - unless I want to."

So, the traffic laws are much more often ignored by LEOs than one might think. Blatant violations - especially those indicating aggression - will usually bring swift response from LEOs.

So (if you believe me) it's just as likely the LEO who stopped OP was looking for something else, was having an off day, was under pressure to write tickets, etc. as that OP actually did something dangerous. Now, if everyone were stopped every time for every infraction seen by a LEO, my argument would fall apart. I don't think anyone here would suggest such a situation.

Still, you are correct that the law is the law. My suggestion is that we have judges to sort this stuff out. Let them earn their money. YMMV, and with all respect, ko'olau.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:28 PM   #30
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Ko'olau - I heard you. Unfortunately, the officer is not on this forum to defend his action .

Have you been to a traffic court lately in CA? Jam packed. I don't know about it in OP's state. If it is anything like where I live, paying the fine is NOT worth spending a day in court.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:35 PM   #31
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Okay, yet another opinion.

Traffic courts are probably highly local, procedures vary widely so what works in one jurisdiction may be irrelevant in another.

That said, if you're still working and have to take time off I'd just pay it. If you're retired and feel like taking the time, show up for court. First thing is to determine if the officer who wrote the ticket is present. If not, it's a slam dunk to plead not guilty. No witness, no evidence, the judge will almost certainly dismiss it rather than continue it for yet a third time. That works in MD, perhaps not in GA.

Otherwise show up with the photos (enlarged to at least 8x10 please) showing the lines were faded and not clearly visible and plead not guilty. The judge may or may not buy that.

And it's worth a shot to ask to have a talk with the state's attorney and ask about pleading to a lesser offense. Where I worked they were extremely overworked people and didn't have time for that but GA may be a bit more laid-back.
The only times I've been tempted to fight a ticket is when I felt there were extenuating circumstance like it appears in this case. I agree with Walt if you are retired, by all means fight it. If you are working probably not worth it.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:38 PM   #32
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Ko'olau - I heard you. Unfortunately, the officer is not on this forum to defend his action .

Have you been to a traffic court lately in CA? Jam packed. I don't know about it in OP's state. If it is anything like where I live, paying the fine is worth spending a day in court.

True but it is worth noting that both Walt and Utrecht are retired LEOs.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:46 PM   #33
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True but it is worth noting that both Walt and Utrecht are retired LEOs.
...

I meant to say "NOT worth" and since corrected it. I don't know about others but I am not the one who want/can spend a day in court to avoid $140 fine, retired or not.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:47 PM   #34
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I would pay the ticket unless you believe for real it was not valid.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:27 PM   #35
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I'd be interested in some opinions on what to do about a traffic citation I received recently. It was for "driving through a no-passing zone to get to left turn lane"... a very minor offense (IMHO). The fine is $140, which seems stratospheric for this kind of minor infraction. I went to traffic court yesterday and got an automatic continuance of my case for another 5 weeks. Now I need to figure out what to do when I go back, because I'll have to either plead guilty and pay the fine, plead "nolo" and pay the fine, or plead not guilty and go back to court later for a bench trial.

What would you do in my situation? I am tempted at this point to just plead "nolo" and pay the exorbitant fine, especially because I understand that by pleading "nolo", the state of Georgia will not assign any points to my driving record (I currently have 0 points). Apparently you can plead "nolo" once every five years for minor violations like this and not receive points..........
Appreciate any and all opinions!
It seems like you've spent a lot of time on this. You went back to the intersection to take pictures. You went to court already and are going back again in 5 weeks. I'm assuming from the statement "Apparently you can plead "nolo" once every five years" you looked this up or have talked this over with someone. You're spending a lot of time trying to beat a ticket for doing something wrong. Doesn't matter if it's a minor infraction. Doesn't matter that other people get away with it. You got caught. Pay the fine.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:39 PM   #36
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.....So (if you believe me) it's just as likely the LEO who stopped OP was looking for something else, was having an off day, was under pressure to write tickets, etc. as that OP actually did something dangerous.. ...
You seem to be confusing violation with enforcement.

Take a rolling stop violation. If you go to court and claim that you should get off because others do it, you'll lose. The question before the court is whether you did in in that particular instance.

Similarly, if you go to court and claim you should get off because the officer singled you out and have ignored similar violations by others, you'll lose (unless you can somehow prove discrimination which is a very high bar).

The only really relevant thing is whether or not in that particular instance you came to a full and complete stop or not. Anything beyond that is simply negotiation, which is common in the interest of expediency.

You seem to be sitting on a very high horse.
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:45 AM   #37
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Cost of citation seems high. But I would pay the fine and chalk it up to the law of averages since no other collateral financial damage is involved. If you have done this more than once ('fess-up!) you should divide the $140 by all the times you did it. So, if you did it nine more times without having been caught the true cost is only $14 per event.

If you are retired, what's your hurry anyway?
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:06 AM   #38
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I can vouch that this is true. Also, depending on the cop, there's a better than avg chance he wont show up which means the ticket has to be dismissed.

Not here... the prosecution can ask for a delay just like OP did....
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:18 AM   #39
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my granddaughter got a speeding ticket a while back for 10 over the speed limit and the fine was 200. it said on the ticket the actual fine was 100. and the court costs were 40. there were also 60. in other fees. I called the sheriff's office and ask what the other fees were. He told me it was the judge's retirement fund. whether he was pulling my leg or it was true I don't know, but it show's that law enforcement looks at the average person as an idiot when it comes to traffic enforcement.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:21 AM   #40
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I read a lot of people are 'letter of the law' here... I think there is a lot of grey....



Let's say that he was two cars back and just eased into the lane at a slow speed... only two tires 'over the line'.... is he guilty?? I do this all the time....


Now, suppose that traffic is backed up 5 lights deep... and the center turn lane is clear (turn lane for both directions).... if he drives down that long line so he can turn without waiting for 5 lights.... is he guilty



OR, another one that I do.... the speed limit is high.... the turn lane is short... I will get over before the 'no passing' paint and slow down in the turn lane.... it makes it safer to not slow down all the other cars... still, this is guilty
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