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Old 04-24-2014, 06:16 AM   #61
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Where in Georgia are you, Sojourner? I think the jurisdictions even around metro Atlanta can vary widely. (I'm in metro Atlanta/Gwinnett).
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:39 AM   #62
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I haven't gotten many tickets throughout the years, but I've just paid them and been done with it. I guess I decided it wasn't worth fighting and if technically I was in the wrong it was reasonable that I should pay the fine. If you can avoid the points without much trouble, great.
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:17 AM   #63
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.....I remember thinking on the day that this happened, right as I passed over the yellow stripes, "Hmmm, I guess technically I wasn't supposed to do that." ....
It might be best to keep this to yourself when you talk to the prosecutor.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:34 AM   #64
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In some cases, taking a defensive driving course will prevent an insurance rate bump.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:53 AM   #65
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I haven't gotten many tickets throughout the years, but I've just paid them and been done with it. I guess I decided it wasn't worth fighting and if technically I was in the wrong it was reasonable that I should pay the fine. If you can avoid the points without much trouble, great.

Like you, I haven't had many tickets. In fact only one and it was in 1988. However, my GF's young teenage daughter has managed to get 3 speeding tickets this past year and I was stunned by the racket of it all. The city seems quite fine with changing what the ticket was (totally unrelated to the infraction) in return for a higher fine. Of course you have to pay the attorney fee also. But then it is not on your driving record. From the outside looking in this whole process seems ridiculous. It is more of a game of increasing revenue in exchange for decreased insurance rates, with the original infraction totally irrelevant to the process.


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Old 10-06-2014, 02:58 PM   #66
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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.

Part of me wants to plead not guilty and have my day in court to try to get this dismissed and avoid the fine. I think I have a fairly strong case, but it's definitely not a slam dunk. Is it worth the extra time and hassle to try to fight it, just to save $140? I have not had a traffic citation in over 15 years prior to this, so my experience with the municipal court system is basically nil.

Appreciate any and all opinions!
Thought I'd post a quick update to this, kind of as a "lessons learned" recap.

I ended up pleading "nolo" and paying the fine back in May. I had thought of trying to meet with the prosecutor, but he announced in court that day that anyone wanting to meet with him would likely be there in the courtroom waiting around until late afternoon, due to his packed schedule. Since it was about 10:00am at the time, I decided that paying the fine and getting out of these was a better use of my day.

Fast forward about four months, and I get a bill from my auto insurance company for the next 6 month period. Surprise, surprise - my rates have skyrocketed from $320 to $590! That's an 84% increase. Turns out that I lost the "three year safe driver" discount. I talked to someone from my insurance company, and they said basically there is nothing they can do since that discount can only be applied if you have no moving violations on your record over the past 36 months.

For me, it seems clear now that I should have pled Not Guilty and taken the case before a judge. Even if I had lost and had to pay some court costs (worst case scenario), I still wouldn't be much worse off than I am now. And I think there was at least a 50-50 chance I could have won my case.

So the net result of all this is that I'm going to end up paying roughly $1,400 additional in insurance premiums over the next 2.5 years due to this minor traffic infraction and poor decision to plead nolo.

Am I alone in feeling that the overall financial penalties for these kinds of minor traffic infractions are excessive? Or do most people just chalk it up to the cost of driving and occasionally getting caught doing something wrong?

Would be interested in any thoughts or opinions.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:07 PM   #67
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Thought I'd post a quick update to this, kind of as a "lessons learned" recap.

I ended up pleading "nolo" and paying the fine back in May...

Fast forward about four months, and I get a bill from my auto insurance company for the next 6 month period. Surprise, surprise - my rates have skyrocketed from $320 to $590!

...

Am I alone in feeling that the overall financial penalties for these kinds of minor traffic infractions are excessive? Or do most people just chalk it up to the cost of driving and occasionally getting caught doing something wrong?

Would be interested in any thoughts or opinions.
Wow, that sucks. Yes, even one offense for a minor moving violation can do that.

In April I was ticketed in a nearby town for not coming to a full stop (I thought I did, but I admit I was slightly distracted and may not have). In Texas we typically have an option to take a traffic safety course (I think once every three years) and have the ticket "dismissed" (still have to pay the fine, of course).

I thought about doing that, but the city I was ticketed in also had a "deferred adjudication" option as well. What that means is that if your recent driving record is clean and you have no outstanding tickets or warrants, we enter a conditional guilty plea requesting deferred adjudication, and if we don't have any more tickets or other legal problems in the next 90 days, we sign a notarized affidavit to that effect, present it to the clerk at the traffic court, and the ticket is dismissed. (And yes, I still had to pay the $158 fine.) In July, I dutifully submitted that to the clerk, she tapped a few keys on the computer and said it was dismissed. (Technically it has to be dismissed by the judge but I'm told that's a rubber stamp in the absence of aggravating circumstances.) But my auto insurance -- with USAA -- just posted renewal in November and our premium dropped by 6% and the safe driver discount is there -- so I have to trust that the system worked.

All that said, many insurers won't raise your rates for one minor ticket if you've been ticket and accident-free long enough (usually three years, I think, but that probably varies by state). How long has it been since your last ticket? If more than three years, I'd be looking at other insurance companies.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:33 PM   #68
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Based on my last speeding ticket, in a well known speed trap, and DW having a similar experience in a different well known trap, I'll fight.

In this state that means giving an attorney $500 to make it go away. Much cheaper in the long run.

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Old 10-06-2014, 07:53 PM   #69
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Am I alone in feeling that the overall financial penalties for these kinds of minor traffic infractions are excessive? Or do most people just chalk it up to the cost of driving and occasionally getting caught doing something wrong?
I'd have to consider the expense of the out of the ordinary claims, the type where someone is seriously injured, they are out of work for lengthy periods of time or perhaps even for life (legitimately, not a scam). The last number I heard for a week in intensive care was $100,000 and that was over a decade ago. A couple of those and you're at the limit of many policies. A medivac helicopter ride can easily run $40k.

Now add in the expense of the insurance company's attorneys, win lose or draw.

This stuff (serious accidents) happen literally every day. That money comes from somewhere, that that "somewhere" is the other policy holders. And when one of them does something - anything - that makes the company believe that that person is a higher risk, they will charge you for it.

I know that doesn't do anything to make you feel better about it. But I think that is why.
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Old 10-06-2014, 08:02 PM   #70
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Well, I'll have one less thing to worry about in my yearly migration. Florida town infamous for speed traps disbanding police force - CBS News

I never got a ticket there, mostly because some kind soul put a billboard up outside of town warning people. But it was an extremely nasty speed trap, and existed solely for the purpose of fleecing the migratory old people. Glad they're doing this.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:29 AM   #71
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From the outside looking in this whole process seems ridiculous. It is more of a game of increasing revenue in exchange for decreased insurance rates, with the original infraction totally irrelevant to the process
I agree. Years ago I was ticketed for speeding. I pled not guilty and went to court on the assigned date. The courtroom was packed and it became clear my case was not going to be called until late in the evening. The police officer pulled me aside and said "At this rate I will never get home for dinner. How about we reduce the charge to a seat belt violation? You will pay a fine, but no points." I have heard of many other examples of this arbitrariness.

The fact that local courts/prosecutors are so agreeable to plea bargain a traffic ticket so far away from the original violation as long as a fine and other costs are paid shows that the system has become more about revenue generation for cash-strapped municipalities then it is about traffic safety. How can this not degrade people's respect for law enforcement and their government over time?
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:01 PM   #72
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:45 PM   #73
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Officers assigned to traffic enforcement and parking meter maids are of course supposed to write tickets. That being said , "Chicken S**t tickets are really not a big % of those issued. Plenty of blatant violations , at least in larger cities .

There haven't been " Ticket Quotas " for decades. They do have " Productivity goals and standards ' .

Guess what happens to someone who does not meet the " Productivity Standard " . ----------- Disciplinary action .
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:54 PM   #74
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There haven't been " Ticket Quotas " for decades. They do have " Productivity goals and standards ' .

Guess what happens to someone who does not meet the " Productivity Standard " . ----------- Disciplinary action .
We never had ticket quotas. We could write as many as we wanted.

Seriously, there was never any incentive, spoken or unspoken, to write chicken poop tickets to raise revenue where I worked. There were so many blatant violations no one needed to. It was really like shooting fish in a barrel. I knew of no agency that did have any such incentive. But I worked in the Washington D.C. area and anyone who has driven around there knows how easy it would be to write lots of tickets that deserved to be written.

That said it would be foolish to claim that it doesn't happen as the evidence is plentiful that it does. I'm just happy I never was in that position.
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Old 10-07-2014, 04:42 PM   #75
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In NYC over the years, there were news stories about parking enforcement agents writing fake tickets to meet quotas by taking down plate numbers and make/models of cars and saving them for later to write bogus tickets. The poor car owners would get notices for these unknown and unpaid tickets and late fines for being in locations nowhere near where they actually were, then either paying the fines or fighting them in court if they had rock-solid proof. The authorities found a pattern among the dismissed tickets and came down on the corrupt agents but they caused a lot of needless grief and cost innocent people time and money.
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:46 PM   #76
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Wow, that type of insurance increase is way too high IMO. You might want to get quotes from other insurance companies.

We got a parking ticket last year for ~$70 (I think) for meter expiring! Parking was only something like $2/hour but 1-2 hour limit. The meter maid waited for the clock to expire, while we saw her from a distance walking back to our car. She did not even get a chance to place the ticket on the windshield and handed directly to us. She had all the info typed up and must have hit print as soon as it expired. She said too late since ticket was printed before we got to the car.
We saw the same thing being done to other cars later in the day.
Revenue source for the government basically.
And, it appears, for insurance companies too (for moving violations).
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:44 PM   #77
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We never had ticket quotas. We could write as many as we wanted.

Seriously, there was never any incentive, spoken or unspoken, to write chicken poop tickets to raise revenue where I worked. There were so many blatant violations no one needed to. It was really like shooting fish in a barrel. I knew of no agency that did have any such incentive. But I worked in the Washington D.C. area and anyone who has driven around there knows how easy it would be to write lots of tickets that deserved to be written.

That said it would be foolish to claim that it doesn't happen as the evidence is plentiful that it does. I'm just happy I never was in that position.
As I live in the DC area, I know they do it (quotas) here. I got a ticket at an intersection where two cars were waiting. The other one quickly headed back to the station (1 mile away), and after getting the ticket, the other officer did the same. Apparently they got the one ticket written they needed. That was ok, I work 3 miles from the courthouse and had vacation time to burn that year so I showed up and got the ticket dismissed. Only cost me 4 hours of vacation time and $6 for parking. (That said, Walt is right, they drive abysmally around here)
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Old 10-08-2014, 03:51 PM   #78
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As I live in the DC area, I know they do it (quotas) here. I got a ticket at an intersection where two cars were waiting. The other one quickly headed back to the station (1 mile away), and after getting the ticket, the other officer did the same. Apparently they got the one ticket written they needed. That was ok, I work 3 miles from the courthouse and had vacation time to burn that year so I showed up and got the ticket dismissed. Only cost me 4 hours of vacation time and $6 for parking. (That said, Walt is right, they drive abysmally around here)
It could be, but it would be a surprise to me, or perhaps things have changed. Another possibility is that the station received complaints from citizens about a specific location. Residential streets were constants sources of complaints. As one traffic officer put it "When you set up radar and all the moms come out bringing you chocolate chip cookies you know there's a problem".

Depending of one's perspective this is called:

A. Being responsive to the community.

B. Harassing innocent people while burglars and rapists run amok.
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Old 10-09-2014, 10:02 PM   #79
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I agree. Years ago I was ticketed for speeding. I pled not guilty and went to court on the assigned date. The courtroom was packed and it became clear my case was not going to be called until late in the evening. The police officer pulled me aside and said "At this rate I will never get home for dinner. How about we reduce the charge to a seat belt violation? You will pay a fine, but no points." I have heard of many other examples of this arbitrariness.



The fact that local courts/prosecutors are so agreeable to plea bargain a traffic ticket so far away from the original violation as long as a fine and other costs are paid shows that the system has become more about revenue generation for cash-strapped municipalities then it is about traffic safety. How can this not degrade people's respect for law enforcement and their government over time?

It's called, in the legal arena, "let's make a deal". Generally, it's worked by the prosecutor and defense attorney to save court time. It can also save the defendant attorney fees, offer lower fines, and potentially reduced jail time. Saves taxpayers money as well. You hear about people pleading to a lesser offense all the time. It's generally a win/win situation for everyone. Victims have to agree to the bargain, or it doesn't get done, and often the arresting officer as well. Also, a guilty plea makes civil compensation easier for a victim. The offenders admitting to the offense. I've never heard of a police officer negotiating a deal. Often the cop's making overtime to sit and wait - easy money. Some like the overtime money, others prefer time with family to overtime. It's a sensible arrangement.


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Old 10-10-2014, 09:47 AM   #80
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I think there was at least a 50-50 chance I could have won my case.
What are you basing that on?

One solution that is slowly gaining traction in North America is the adoption of in-car DVRs (video cameras). In cases like yours, if you truly were innocent, you could simply bring the video evidence to your case and it would have been quickly dismissed.

On the other hand, I suspect that the vast majority of those video cameras (and I have one in both of my own cars) will simply show video of the citizen clearly committing the act they're being accused of committing. But at least in those cases, you could neglect to mention that you had video evidence of the incident and hope to argue your way out of it in the absence of such evidence.
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