First ticket in 20 years - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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First ticket in 20 years

Guys, fate has finally caught up with me. I got my first ticket in 20 years tonight on the way home from Richmond, VA. I was caught on Route 301 in Maryland. I was written 9 miles over (64 in 55 zone). But I was actually going 78. The officer said since I have a clean record, he reduced it to 64. He had instant on, so my V-1 could not have saved me. Plus there was only one other car on the road and it was dark. I could not have seen him at all.

Will there be points on my record?

I think I am going to court and see what the judge has to say. The fine is set at $80 but I am not going to pay it until court date. What do you guys think? Or should I just pay it?

Is it worth to hire a lawyer to fight this?

What should I do?

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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 07:34 PM
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Traffic school
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 07:39 PM
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Clean for 20 years?

Pay it off.

Check with the Motor Vehicle Department of the state that issued your driver's license and see if that state implements points system. Less than 10mph over the speed limit, I'd say 2 or 3 points.

Take the driver's ed (commonly offered by the local AAA) so that you can get both insurance discount and point deduction.

I don't think it's worth reducing a point or two by hiring a lawyer who would ask for more fees than class tuition for aforementioned driver's ed. The officer already commended your clean record and reduced the charges (substantially) from going 23mph over the speed limit to 9mph. I wouldn't push it.

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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 07:41 PM
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nope no need for lawyer, you're guilty. Pay up and take the points like a man.
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 07:44 PM
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nope no need for lawyer, you're guilty. Pay up and take the points like a man.
Darn, I thought that avatar was elau.
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 08:07 PM
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So, did he ask you why you're speeding? What did you say? That you're late for jogging?
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 08:10 PM
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Take the driving school. The cost will be about the same as the fine but you won't have points and insurance won't get a ripple. Problem with the "just got one in 20 years so just take the points" is that, should you get #2 in the next 3 years it starts costing you in your insurance bills.

The traffic school is fun, 3 hours of listening to folks give the "I wutn duin nutin" rants. The 17 year old speeders are the best as they justify their speeding and their skill set.

Yes, I got my first one in nearly 10 years last February for 81 in a 65.

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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 08:22 PM
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I disagree. It is ABSOLUTELY worthwhile to go to court in Maryland. Points equal insurance problems.

At the risk of jinxing myself, it has been nearly 10 years since my last speeding ticket in Maryland. I need to contact the MVA as you can pay a fee to have your driving record 'expunged' after a number of years. This is very important since a clear record is very helpful if the day ever comes that you are involved in a serious (lawsuit/jail) traffic offense. It used to be 7 years before you could expunge your record.

Twenty or so years ago you could plead 'Not Guilty' in Maryland and tell the judge your sob story. I listened to several people whose cases were called ahead of mine admit they were speeding and then told their story. The judges always ruled, "Guilty by your own admission." so I learned to say that I was not certain of my speed at the time the officer stopped me. Not a lie since how often do you know exactly what you speed is and you may not have known you were exceeding the limit. I got points eliminated by that strategy but still got the fine.

That defense is riskier now since Maryland instituted the "Guilty with an explanation" plea. You basically plead guilty but you are giving the judge a chance to go easy on you based on your sob story. If you plead "Innocent" you better be able to prove it.

With your record, expect to pay the fine but the points will be cut by half and possibly eliminated entirely. You could also get lucky and have the case dismissed if the officer fails to appear although you are sometimes rescheduled if the officer has provided a compelling reason for his absence in advance. I think the officer dropped your speed to encourage you to NOT show up because "Aw, it's only one point." and he gets the easy win.

Whatever you choose to do, wear a suit or jacket and tie (no hat or caps, please) and be VERY respectful. Wish the judge "Good morning/afternoon, your Honor". Tell your story briefly in as natural a voice as you can muster (practice ahead of time, you'll be surprised how shaky your voice will become when you speak in a court room). Answer the questions asked, precisely. Do NOT volunteer anything further. Remember to thank the judge, afterwards.

DO NOT WATCH JUDGE JOE BROWN, etc. for hints on appropriate courtroom behavior. I have yet to see a Judge laugh while court was in session.

Bring your check book or a charge card as you will have to pay the cashier before you leave.

Here's a breakdown Maryland's point system.

Maryland MVA Point System - Guide to MD MVA Points & Suspensions - DMV.ORG

The Point System

In Maryland, each moving violation offense is assessed a number (or point value) from one to 12. You must be convicted of the offense for the points to go into effect on your driving record. The higher the number, the more weight the offense has against your record (and ultimately your bank account).

These amassed points for infractions remain on your driving record indefinitely. But the real measure of how well you're doing is simply what you've accrued for the past two years at any time.

Three to four points over the course of a two-year period will result in the MVA issuing a written caution. The warning is just a friendly heads-up that accruing another infraction will result in more stern measures.Amass five to seven points in a two-year period and the MVA will insist you sign up for a Points System Conference (PSC) and/or attend a Driver Improvement Program (DIP). The programs are offered by various third-party providers across the state and the fees vary with each.

When you tally eight to 11 points in a two-year time frame, you might start questioning whether you are becoming a detriment to the road. You will have plenty of time to ponder because, at this point, the MVA will suspend your license.

Hitting the high-water mark, or accruing at least 12 points in a two-year period, will result in the MVA sending out a "notice of revocation." You will be asked to relinquish your license to an MVA office and once the revocation period expires you'll have to apply for a new license.

What you may deem as rather strict punishment, the state sees as concern for the greater good. So when you tip the total at as little as three points gathered in a two-year period, you most likely will see a form of action taken, albeit not a harsh one. Exceed that by much more and watch out―you just might end up enrolled in driving reform school.
Points per Offense
Most moving infractions that do not cause an accident are assessed one point. Maryland has a comprehensive list of offenses and the points attached to them, but here is a quick overview of the most frequent:

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs - 12
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs - 12
Unlawful use of your driver's license - 12
Loaning or borrowing a driver's license - 12
Speeding (9 miles per hour (MPH) or less) - 1
Speeding (10 MPH and over) - 2
Speeding (30 MPH and over) - 5
Driving without a license - 5
Speed contests - 5
Driving alone with a permit - 5
Driving without proof of insurance - 5
Reckless driving - 6
Driving with a suspended license - 3
Failure to stop at a red light - 2
Failure to stop for a school bus - 2
Improper turn - 1
Clicking off your lights to evade identification - 8
Failure to yield - 1

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear View Post
Yes, I got my first one in nearly 10 years last February for 81 in a 65.
I thought it was a 68.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 08:25 PM
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You may not have to do any of the above. For a fairly small fee - usually less than the ticket - an attorney will either get the case dismissed (very easy to do) or reduced to a non-moving violation (meaning you don't have to sweat points).

Here's how dismissal works:

The attorney shows up on the court date. If the officer isn't there when your case comes up, he moves that it be dismissed. The officer has to be present to testify as to how he got you. If the cop is there, the attorney asks for a continuance. That means the case is postponed to another date. This can continue ad-nauseum, but the cops know the story, so they only show up if someone they ticketed that day was a real prick.

When it's dismissed, it's gone. You only pay the lawyer for their time.


Here's how reduction in charge works:

Because you have a clean record, the lawyer asks the DA to reduce your charge to a non-moving violation. Alternately, depending on how your state works, the ticket can be put on what Illinois called "court supervision". This means that you pay a fine, but after x number of months without a repeat offense, the ticket drops off your record permanently. It never goes on your record before that time, and you don't have to plead (I don't think).

Every state has something similar. A traffic attorney's office will knock this out in nothing flat. I did it for a ticket in Dallas, and I don't even live in Texas. $75 total, saving over $150 in the process.
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