I do stupid things all the time...turn left on red...speed...cross the yellow...pass stopped cars on the right... and so on. But they tell me we're gonna get traffic cameras here soon. Maybe my gas mileage will improve.
My last speeding ticket (first in 7 years) was for 12mph over the limit. The fine was a whopping $157, so I enlisted the help of a local attorney that specialized *only* in traffic cases. The attorney fee was a flat $350, regardless how many times they appeared in court on my behalf, and they said they won a "significant number" of cases (I later found out the significant number was over 95%).
It took approximately five months, but my case was ultimately dismissed (my attorney got the radar evidence suppressed). My view is that it ended up costing me $200 to keep my driving record clean (god how I hate insurance companies, but that is a whole other rant .
A friend of mine who elected to instead take traffic school was informed by the instructor, "You must always fight a traffic citation", and stated that less than 3% of all citations issued in our state (WA) get disputed, and that of those who dispute their citation, more than 70% end with dismissal of the citation.
That was a well-written article, but it was inaccurate regarding traffic school.
You may attend more than once every 18 months.
Let's say you attended traffic school less than 18 months ago, and you just got another ticket. Traffic school will not be offered to you this time, but you can still ask for it...
[*]Appear in person at your arraignment.
[*]Pleed "guilty" or "no contest."
[*]Politely ask the judge to allow you to attend traffic school again.
If your driving record isn't bad, and if your current ticket isn't for some flagrant violation, you will probably get traffic school.
The only drawback is this time you'll have to attend traffic school in person (no internet or video-taped courses), and you'll have to attend for 12 hours -- 16 hours if you got your ticket in Long Beach.
I did all of this, myself, last year (in Long Beach, unfortunately).
This works in WA state (last time I got issued a ticket, anyway). The officer gives you the ticket, and you have to check a box, whether or not you want a court date, or whether you want to pay the ticket. Check the court date box, photocopy the ticket, then write a check for the ticket amount and mail it in. Wait 90 days, take your photocopied ticket into the courthouse and get your ticket thrown out and your money refunded, because you wanted a court date and they did not provide one in the specified time. This way you circumvent the Judge and the Officer if it works, as only a lowly clerk handles the ticket, punches some buttons on a computer and processes it as a paid ticket, not looking at the little checked box. If this doesn't work, then you can follow the advice of the article. Heh heh heh. I hate traffic cops.
Rule 851, California Rules of Court, was amended as of 1/1/03:
(c) [Judicial discretion]
(1) A judicial officer may in his or her discretion order attendance at a traffic violator school in an individual case for diversion under Vehicle Code section 41501(a), 41501(b), or 42005; sentencing; or any other purposes permitted by law.
(2) If a violation occurs within 18 months of a previous violation, a judicial officer may order a continuance and dismissal in consideration for completion of a licensed program as specified in Vehicle Code section 41501(a). The program must consist of at least 12 hours of instruction as specified in section 41501(a). Pursuant to Vehicle Code section 1808.7, a dismissal for completion of the 12-hour program under this subdivision is not confidential.
So, you don't need to enter a guilty plea to go again, but the fact that you went the second time is not confidential, which I assume means that your insurance company might be able to find out about it.
Good advice. I suggest doing this sometime before you get stopped -- it will give you a feel for what kind of infractions you are actually likely to get cited for, as compared to what they will let slide. For example, in a lot of areas, police routinely ignore speeding of up to 10mph over the limit. You will also get a better feel of what NOT to say or do at the time you are pulled over. And, you will get a good feel for what approaches the local judges may go for and what will just p!ss them off.
You will also likely come away with more empathy for the traffic police when you see the Mensa candidates they frequently must deal with.
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