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I've spent a lot of time in traffic court too, but on the other side of the equation as jthurber80. In Florida, I can tell you that going to the attorneys is a no-brainer. In my experience, the "Ticket Clinic" type specialists are extremely effective. The worst case I've ever experienced was having to pay court costs and attend traffic school. No points, no hit to the insurance rates. Many times the charges were dropped on a technicality like radar gun calibration. HOWEVER, the going rate down here is more like $200.00 or less for non-criminal infractions. I think there's collusion between the attorneys and the judges; the judges just process the attorney cases through as quickly as possible to get the cases cleared and off their dockets. I like it because I don't have to appear anywhere at any time, I mail the ticket to the attorney, pay over the phone with debit card, and if needed, take the "class" online via website.



If the price where you are is really $2,500, I think jthurber is right; you have nothing to lose by showing up and seeing if the judge will work with you. I got popped in Phoenix at 120 on the VFR when I was briefly working in AZ. I tried to find a traffic attorney; apparently they don't have ticket attorneys there. So I went to the hearing, the judge said $300, and I was on my way.
 

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I have one speeding ticket, which was about a year ago. That's my whole ticket history.



I called 3 attorneys, one came highly recommended. It turns out it's 300 bucks for speeding tickets but pretty much 2000 + bucks for reckless driving. Apparently in Washington state a wheelie is always a reckless driving punishable offense, which is a gross misdemeanor.
 

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A 15-mph wheelie is reckless driving? So, what's the charge for driving a two-ton SUV while talking on the phone?



Silly me. Cellphone-yakking soccer taxi jockeys are a FAR higher proportion of the electorate than motorcyclists.
 

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SEE THE EVIDENCE!. If you are going to defend yourself in this case you have the right to see the evidence that the police have in implicate you. Ask to see it. If they cannot produce it upon demand then ask for a motions hearing and have the judge produce the tape or have it disqualified as evidence. It's that simple.

If it is obious that you were acting malicious then I suggest you pay the fine. However, if the act does not look malicious then ask for a jury trial and ask your peers. Bring you life driving history to court as evidence that you are a law abiding motorcyclist and that this case on its merrits should be dismissed because the act was unintentional.
 

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If Wa. is like Ca. traffic school only works if your last ticket is 18 months or older. I got a 74 in a 50 and took the class online, no points. Unfortunately, 17 months later to the day, 67 in a 55 cost me a point.
 

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Unfortunately this is a criminal infraction, a gross misdemeanor. Year in jail maximum penalty. No traffic school for me.
 

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Before my big accident I got the same ticket, wheelie & speeding.



To make a long story short I paid a $900.00 fine, they dropped the misdemenor charge to an infraction, but I did have to get booked into jail (in a wheelchair).



I did have to secure a lawer though, the prosecutor was some zelot who wanted me off the street for good. She got her wish btw.



(the lawer cost $600.00)



Good luck. Expect your insurance to go through the roof.
 

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Stuff gets plea-bargained down all the time.



Although if you're in criminal court you might not want to represent yourself (a fool for a client and all...) but you could still plead not guilty at the arraignment and see if you can strike a deal.



If that fails then pay the attorney.
 

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It ain't the dang $100. It's the insurance rates. I've got two points on my record right now so I lost my CA good driver discount.



Of course I lost my status about a week after the new rig got parked in the garage. It leaves less money for hookers and beer.
 

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I'm leaning towards forking over the 2500 bucks and having Jeannie Mucklestone (the local attorney who does this stuff here and knows how to defend motorcycles and is the most recommended Seattle traffic attorney) talk in my hearing instead of me. She knows all the judges and the courts and everything. She says 95% of the time she can keep it out of trial, and she always tries to get it dismissed.
 

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I have an interesting isurance policy. "pleasure vehicle is in suspension" I call in a voicemail that I will be using the bike and it is covered for 24 hours.

100-300, comp, collision, uninsured the whole works=$96/year.

The loop-hole is getting closed and my run might be up in June. I had a good 6 years with a second bike added for $35/year.
 

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When you get to jail, the trick to "lasting" and not being sold by your cellmate to some 485lb makeup-wearing Juggernaut named "Daisy" for ten cigarettes is to pick out the meanest, toughest SOB on the cellblock and Immediately tear-into his ass. I mean it's gotta be "Shock and Awe", Baby!

Other than that, can't help ya'.

Break a Leg.

(HEY! that's not such a bad idea! with a broken-leg, they'll send you to one of those "hospital prisons". Of course, there are an awful-lot of mophandles and KY Jelly in hospitals...............)
 

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There is no ticket. It's a criminal infraction with an intial hearing and a court date afterwards, which has yet to be set unless I plead no contest and they drop it to a traffic offense, which will probably happen, especially if I get a fancy lawyer.



As a criminal infraction if it goes to trial conviction is a major deal.



You think I'm considering getting a 2500 dollar lawyer for a ticket I could just pay?
 

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The cop was helpful too. After threatening me with jail on the spot, and then issuing a reckless driving ticket, he then told me he was "just glad you didn't kill yourself." Nice of him. I wasn't even speeding; the speed limit there is 30 mph, and once the front wheel touched down I was probably going 25.
 
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