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从第一张speeding ticket说开去(上)
作者:home99
发表时间:2015-12-25
更新时间:2015-12-25
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写给准妈妈1
宝宝护理与成长3
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异国他乡

没想到这么多年开了不下200k,总是高速上飞来飞去,在拿到驾照后出了一次车祸、毁了第一辆车之后总是比较小心,却在downtown不经意中拿了第一张speeding ticket!

事情发生在一个周六的早上,也是舅舅要离开的那天,我们一起从亚洲店不紧不慢地开车返回,也不知因为什么话题妈妈与舅舅意见不一,妈妈一时没留意看表,也不敢肯定当时开的什么速度,只是跟着车流,开在中间的车道,直到从后视镜看到后面的车闪灯,颇有些诧异,还以为是自己挡了Emergency的道,赶紧换到右边的车道,但后面的车尾随上来,才意识到坏事了,但全然不知哪里出了问题,也不知警察在后面跟了多久。

因为开的是爸爸的van,还以为车牌过期的问题,摇下窗子,听警察嘴里蹦出speeding的字样,还以为自己听错了。舅舅说没觉得妈妈开得快,怀疑是否因为是中国人被拦下,妈妈说不会。警察环视车内,随即要去Driver’s License 及registration,回到后面的车内,回头就给了张citation,说是在35限速内开了44。琢磨了很久,才明白罚的可能是从45变速到35限速的地方,可能是妈妈没将车速及时减下来,警察让妈妈停下时已经过了至少两三个红绿灯。估计警察在后面已经跟了半天,妈妈因为与舅舅争执,竟然全然不觉,警察可能觉得自己没被放在眼里呢,警察发话前首先朝内环视半天,可能是看孩子系安全带没有吧。

妈妈觉得自己并没超速的意思,完全是following the traffic,而且这是第一次,给个warning还差不多,但与同事和朋友说起,都说罚单就是为了罚款,就当是破财免灾吧!爸爸说警察要想罚你,超速1个mile也是可以罚的,所以最好按限速开。问下来,大致有三种意见,一是认罚交钱,网上即可支付,或寄支票;二是court date那天去法院,罚款照交,只要不影响自己的points即可;三是不认罪,雇用律师(罚款还是要交的,加上律师费)。

心里很是不平,更郁闷的是花了不少钱却找了个很差劲的律师。事发之后一周收到10来封律师们的来信,可能因为我的case是最轻微的speeding,所以找律师实在不是很必要,但因为是周一,要送两个宝上学,所以决定还是找个律师看看。

可能是我的case是小case,又是初犯,打通电话根本没问什么细节,说若想去掉drive license的2个点,要认罚,罚得更多,以“Improper Equipment”脱罪,要去credit card的信息,就挂了。之后没任何消息,发email问,才传来发票的扫描件,长话短说,多花了大概近200元,过了两三月才全部了结。所以有些怀疑当初是否应该自己去,还是应该等同事推荐的律师回复或休假回来。

根据dmv,收到罚单无非以下两种选择:

1. Pay Ticket
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
●Pay the fine
●Plea bargain for a reduced charge
●Receive points on your driving record
●Incur possible jump in auto insurance rates
●Possible option to take driver improvement course to remove driving record points

2. Fight Ticket
(Plead Not Guilty)
●Challenge traffic ticket via trial
●Either represent yourself or hire a lawyer
●Enter not guilty plea and then immediately ask for a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC)
●Possibly lose option to plea bargain for lesser charges

如何应对,网上也有不少经验之谈,大家可以根据具体情况找找看。下面就将找到的一些资料贴出来,与大家一起学习啊!

●Traffic Tickets - Basics
●Types of Traffic Tickets
●Speeding and Red Light Camera Tickets
●The Traffic Ticket "Points" System
●10 things you need to know about driver’s license points
●Do speeding tickets affect insurance?
●Are Speed Traps Legal?
●Avoiding Traffic Tickets and Staying in Line with the Law
●Safe Driving: The Do's and Don'ts

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Traffic Tickets - Basics

More than ninety percent of the people in this country over the age of sixteen are licensed to drive, and there is more than one car registered for each one of them. These figures translate into trillions of miles driven each year with millions of traffic infractions, making traffic control an issue of immense proportions. The first traffic laws and regulations began to appear in the 1920s, and they now constitute a huge part of most state codes.

The primary purpose of traffic-violation regulations is to deter unsafe driving and to educate and reform bad drivers. Studies have shown that traffic offenders generally keep amassing traffic violations, and that most people obey the laws, even when there is no perceived safety reason for doing so, such as waiting for a green light at 2:00 a.m. Compliance with the laws increases when drivers believe they will be caught and decreases when they perceive they can get away with a specific infraction.

Traffic Tickets: "Strict Liability Offenses"

The majority of traffic tickets are issued for "strict-liability" offenses. This means that no particular criminal intent is required to convict a person of the offense. The only proof needed is that the person did the prohibited act. Strict-liability traffic offenses typically include such offenses as:
●Speeding
●Failure to use turn signals
●Failure to yield
●Turning into the wrong lane
●Driving a car with burned-out headlights
●Parking in a handicap spot without the required sticker, and
●Overdue parking meters.

Moving Violations vs. Non-Moving Violations

A moving violation occurs whenever a traffic law is violated by a vehicle in motion. Some examples of moving violations are speeding, running a stop sign or red light, and drunk driving. A non-moving violation, by contrast, is usually related to parking or faulty equipment. Examples include parking in front of a fire hydrant, parking in a no-parking zone, parking in front of an expired meter, and excessive muffler noise.

Processing Traffic Tickets

Many jurisdictions provide for administrative processing of most traffic tickets as minor offenses or "infractions", thereby removing them from criminal court altogether. In those cases, an offender is not subject to incarceration or large fines and is not entitled to a lawyer or a jury trial. (Note: The fine for speeding tickets can be quite large, as some states impose a fine based on the rate at which the offender was exceeding the speed limit.) Even though most traffic tickets are handled in an expeditious manner in the court system, a "conviction" for a traffic infraction can have a negative effect on a person's driving privileges and insurance rates.

Certain traffic violations are considered more serious than infractions, and can rise to the level of a misdemeanor crime (or felony), especially if the offense involves injury to a person or destruction of property (such as leaving the scene of an accident). People accused of these more-serious traffic violations are entitled to all constitutional protections provided to criminal defendants, including the right to a court-appointed attorney and a jury trial.

Traffic Tickets: Get Help Now

Even good, safety-focused drivers can be charged with a traffic violation. If you have been charged with breaking a traffic law and would like to learn more about your rights to "fight" the ticket, the best place to start is to speak with an experienced Traffic Ticket Attorney in your area. A Traffic Ticket Attorney will evaluate all aspects of your case and explain all options available to you -- including the administrative procedure and driving record penalties you can expect -- and will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

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Types of Traffic Tickets

Speeding

Speeding is one of the most common reasons for a traffic ticket. Learn about the different types of speeding laws and find links to resources on state speeding laws and common penalties for speeding.

Distracted Driving

With the rise of cell phone use, distracted driving is at an all-time high. Learn about general distracted driving laws, driving while texting, handheld cell phone use laws, primary enforcement laws, and more.

Driving Without a Valid Driver's License

In every state, it’s unlawful to drive without a valid driver’s license. Find your state’s law related to driving without a license to learn about operating a vehicle without proof of license and the accompanying penalties.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime in most states, especially if anyone was injured in the crash. Learn about the elements of hit-and-run offenses and a driver’s duties after an accident.

Reckless Driving

Most states have laws prohibiting drivers from driving “recklessly” or with a “willful” disregard for the safety of others. This section provides information on acts that are considered reckless, like racing and eluding police.

Running a Red Light or Stop Sign

Running a red light or stop sign is one of the most dangerous offenses a driver can commit. Find your state’s traffic control signal laws to learn about the penalties involved and whether it’s lawful to turn on a red light.

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Speeding and Red Light Camera Tickets

The use of motion-activated cameras to enforce speed limits and red lights has become more ubiquitous in the 21st Century. Red light cameras, as they are commonly called, take pictures of automobiles when they enter the intersection while the light is red. Speeding cameras, though much less common in the U.S., use similar technology to photograph motorists who exceed the speed limit. The cameras, usually mounted on or near traffic signals in busy intersections, also photograph license plates in order to identify and then send a citation to the offender.

In the interest of due process, a law enforcement official typically reviews the photographic evidence to make sure a violation has occurred before a citation is sent. And, similar to traditional enforcement of traffic laws, most red light camera systems allow motorists to be in the intersection while the light is red for about a half-second before issuing a citation (which also reduces the urge to slam on the brakes when approaching a yellow light when a camera is detected).

For an overview of how states regulate the use of automated enforcement cameras, see "State Traffic Camera Restrictions."
Controversy Over Red Light Cameras

While law enforcement groups and traffic safety advocates claim red light cameras (and speeding cameras) save lives, critics say such cameras actually increase accidents and are more about boosting municipal revenues than making roads safer.

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHA) conducted a study of red light camera systems in 2005, concluding that such systems increase highway safety while reducing crash-related costs. The National Motorists Association directly challenges their study, claiming such cameras are ineffective, costly and in violation of due process.

Much of the controversy related due process of the law has to do with the way evidence of speeding or running a red light is verified, since it is collected by a machine, and how the violation is served. Los Angeles County Superior Court, for example, ruled that photo enforcement of traffic laws is unenforceable because there is no live witness to testify against an offender. However, most juridictions verify photo evidence with a traffic officer before issuing a citation.

Also, there is some confusion over whether or not the citation must be served in person, since traditional speeding and red light tickets are handed out by the officers who personally witness the offenses. Mail service of citations generally has been upheld as lawful, but usually only if the defendant has the chance to acknowledge receipt of the citation or requests personal service. Failure to respond to a mailed photo enforcement ticket typically results in a default guilty judgment against the offender.

Arizona, which has since abandoned the use of speeding and red light camera tickets, had allowed defendants 30 days to notify the court about waiving personal service of the citation (with a default judgment after 30 days).
Federal Law & Regulation

In a 2008 appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, car owners in Chicago claimed the city's red light camera system violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. They received a $90 citation in the mail for running a red light (someone else had been driving their car at the time).

The federal judges ruled against the appellants, stating the following in their opinion:
"No one has a fundamental right to run a red light or avoid being seen by a camera on a public street."

Therefore, federal courts have affirmed the right of municipalities to use speeding and red light cameras. Additionally, lawsuits challenging the use of private companies to operate red light cameras have been dismissed or defeated.

As of 2011 (and with a compliance deadline of 2014), states are required to adopt the National Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). These guidelines address how yellow light timing durations are set, which may help resolve some of the arguments by motorists claiming they were cited for going through intersections with unreasonably quick yellow lights.

Per federal regulations, tickets are issued only if the driver enters the intersection once the light has turned red.

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The Traffic Ticket "Points" System

Each state has a system that assigns a point value to different kinds of traffic offenses, used by the state's motor vehicle department to keep track of the driving records of all licensed drivers in the state. More serious offenses have higher point values, whereas minor violations are assigned minimal points. For example, in one state, failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign might be worth two points, while driving thirty miles per hour over the posted speed limit might be valued at four points. An example of how the points might break down is given below. Although this listing of offenses is not exhaustive and point systems vary from state-to-state, this example shows the relative values that might be assigned by a particular state, based on the seriousness of the offense.

Six Points
●Manslaughter, negligent homicide, or another felony involving the use of a motor vehicle
●Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
●Failing to stop and give identification at the scene of an accident
●Reckless driving
●Unlawful blood-alcohol content (BAC) level
●Refusal to take a chemical test
●Fleeing or eluding a police officer

Four Points
●Drag racing
●Impaired driving
●Any blood-alcohol level in a driver under twenty-one years of age
●Sixteen miles per hour or more over the legal speed limit
●Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle

Three Points
●Careless driving
●Disobeying a traffic signal or stop sign or improper passing
●Eleven to fifteen miles per hour over the legal speed limit
●Failure to stop at a railroad crossing
●Failure to stop for a school bus or disobeying a school crossing guard

Two Points
●Ten miles per hour or less over the legal speed limit
●All other moving violations of traffic laws
●Refusal of breath test for alcohol content by a driver under twenty-one years of age

If a driver accumulates a certain number of points within a given time frame, his or her driving privileges can be suspended. Insurance companies also have access to this information and may use it as a basis to raise insurance premiums.

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10 things you need to know about driver’s license points
By Michelle Megna

Scoring points is a good thing, unless it's on your driving record. Still, if you know how your state's point system works, you'll have a better game plan for keeping your license -- and your auto insurance rates low.

Excessive points and violations are among the things that can make you a high-risk driver in your insurance company's eyes. If you have points on your license, your best bet is to compare car insurance quotes. In order to pick the best insurance company for you, learn how to compare car insurance.

Here are 10 things every driver should know:

1.Auto insurance companies don't rely on state motor vehicle department point systems -- they use their own.

Both state motor vehicle departments and insurance companies use point systems to track your speeding tickets and other violations, but they are separate assessments. DMV points are applied when you are convicted of certain traffic violations. If you accumulate too many points within a certain period of time, your license is typically suspended or revoked.

Insurers don't generally pay much attention to DMV points because they use their own point system when deciding how much to raise your rate. Based on the infraction, your rates rise by a predetermined amount at certain thresholds.

"For example, one Minnesota insurer assigns 4 points to a chargeable accident with a claim of $750 or more and 3 points to a speeding conviction for 10 mph over the limit. Its surcharge schedule shows the rate for a driver with 7 points would be multiplied by 1.27 -- that is, a 27 percent increase," says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insure.com.

2. Not all states use point systems.

There are nine states that don’t use points to keep track of bad drivers, but that doesn't mean you're off the hook if you rack up violations. These states simply monitor your driving record to determine if your license should be suspended or taken away. For instance, in Oregon, if you have four accidents or four convictions -- or a combination that totals four -- in a 24-month period, you lose your license for 30 days. And because auto insurers review your driving record, violations can affect your rates.

States that don't currently have a driver’s license points system are:

Hawaii
Kansas
Louisiana
Minnesota
Mississippi
Oregon
Rhode Island
Washington
Wyoming

3. Violation points add up and can result in losing your license.

Most moving violations result in points on your record. For example, reckless driving, speeding, illegal turns, not making a complete stop, drunk driving and at-fault accidents all incur points. Each state assesses points under its own laws, but the more serious the violation, the more points you get. Penalties for too many violations or accidents on your record vary greatly from state to state.

In California, points ranging from zero to 3 are assigned based on the severity of an offense. Your license will be suspended for six months and you'll be on probation for a year if you get:

4 points in 12 months
6 points in 24 months
8 points in 36 months

4. Some violations don't trigger points, but you still have to pay the ticket – and insurance increase.

In general, non-moving violations and minor offenses will not result in a point assessment. That means parking tickets and fix-it tickets for things like broken lights will not add points, though you still have to pay the fine. In some states, though, serious violations such as DUI mean an automatic license suspension, so no points are given, but your auto insurance rates will certainly go up.

5. Texting tickets can ring up driving points.

Almost all states ban texting while driving, but less than half consider texting behind the wheel a moving violation. If you're ticketed in a state where texting violations add points to your driving record or are considered moving violations, an insurer may raise your premiums upon review of your driving record. Generally it is treated as any other minor traffic infraction would be.

States with a texting law specifying that violations add points and/or is considered a moving violation include:

Alabama: 2 points
Colorado: 1 point
District of Columbia: 1 point and is a moving violation; 3 points if it is judged to have caused an accident.
Florida: 3 points and moving violation for second ticket within five years; 2 points if texting ticket received in school safety zone; 6 points if found that unlawful use of wireless communications device results in a car crash
Georgia: 1 point
Kentucky: 3 points
Maryland: 1 point and a moving violation; 3 points if the texting contributed to an accident
Missouri: 2 points
Nebraska: 3 points
New York: 5 points
New Jersey: 3 points for third offense
North Dakota: moving violation
Nevada: first offense not considered a moving violation; repeat offenses add 4 points
Vermont: 2 points for first offense and 5 points for a subsequent offense
Virginia: 3 points
West Virginia: 3 points for third offense
Wisconsin: 4 points

6. Points can stick to your record for one to 10 years, depending on the violation and your state laws.

In many states, driving record points dog you for two to three years for lesser offenses, but there are exceptions. For instance, in Virginia and Michigan, points stick for two years from the date of conviction. In California, points for minor offenses remain on your record for three years, but DUI and hit-and-run points last for 10 years. In Nevada, points stay on your record for just a year, but major offenses including DUI result in automatic license suspension, rather than points.

7. If you get a ticket and points on your license, there are ways to ease the insurance pain.

Many states allow you to take a defensive driving course to dismiss a violation before it shows up on your record, with the exception of major offenses such as DUI. Rules vary so check with your state insurance commission to find out details. In Virginia, drivers also earn "safe driving points" in addition to demerit points. Safe driving points are assigned for each full calendar year that you hold a valid Virginia driver's license and drive without any violations or suspensions. You can accumulate a total of five safe driving points and you may use these safe driving points to offset demerit points.

8. Some states assign license points even if you're not driving a car.

In Michigan, if you are convicted of DUI on a snowmobile or other off-road recreational vehicle, points can haunt your driving record.

9. When children are involved, seatbelt tickets may mean points.

You won't typically get points if cited for failing to wear your seatbelt, but in New York, if you are ticketed for having a child in the car under age 16 without a seatbelt, the violation adds 3 points to your driving record.

10. In some states, if you're busted by a red-light camera, you get a ticket but not points.

Typically, if you get a ticket for running a red light, you also get driver's license points. But in some states, if you are caught by a red-light camera, you don't get points. Other states tack on points for running red lights regardless of whether a camera or a cop busts you. For example, Arizona assesses 2 points for red-light tickets, from either a camera or law enforcement. New Jersey, however, tacks on 2 points only if you get a traditional ticket from a police officer.

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Do speeding tickets affect insurance?

●Will a ticket raise my insurance?
●How much will my rates increase?
●How many points is a speeding ticket?
●How long will a ticket affect my rates?
●What happens if I get a ticket out of state?
●Can I keep a ticket off my insurance?

Your first thought, when you see the flashing lights of a cop car in the rearview mirror, is "Uh-oh."

Your second thought: "How much is my insurance going to go up for this?"

Some speeding tickets may not raise your rate much or at all, depending on where you live and what other flaws are on your driving record. Others can dramatically affect your car insurance rates for years.

To affect your car insurance, a ticket of any kind – speeding, DUI, reckless driving -- must be considered a moving violation and must appear on your driving record.

Will a ticket raise my insurance?

Some traffic violations do result in an insurance increase, but many don’t. Every company makes its own rules about which violations bring about a surcharge and how big that surcharge is, unless the state has very specific rules for insurers to follow.

These are major violations that typically guarantee a rate increase:
●DUI or other impaired driving
●Refusing breath or blood test for impairment
●Reckless driving (this may include major speeding violations in some states)
●Failure to stop after an accident
●Fleeing from police
●Racing
●Driving on a suspended license

If you have a clean record, the minor violations below might not bring a rate increase. If you already have a minor violation on your record, though, it’s much more likely the second one will bring a rate increase.

If you were involved in an accident at the same time you received the ticket, you are likely to get a surcharge for the accident or the ticket, but not both.

Some violations, such as no proof of insurance or not carrying your driver’s license, are typically correctable if you show proof to the court, which then dismisses them. If you don’t provide evidence, the violation would go on your record.

●Speeding
●Texting (in states where texting is a moving violation)
●Failure to yield
●Improper passing
●Improper turn
●Following too closely
●Driving without insurance or no proof of insurance
●Passing a school bus (some companies consider this a major violation)
●Expired or missing driver’s license
●Child-seat violations

Many violations are not typically considered rating factors and thus are unlikely to affect your premiums, such as:
●Seat-belt tickets
●Texting and cellphone violations (in states where they are not a moving violation)
●Equipment violations such as broken lights
●Failure to display license plates
●Noise violations
●Parking violations
●Registration violations
●Failure-to-appear violations

How much will my insurance rates increase after a ticket?

Everything depends on your insurance company and what state you live in.

Based on Insurance.com's analysis of more than 490,000 auto insurance quotes and data gathered by Quadrant Information Services, here's how much common infractions will affect your rates, on average:
●Reckless driving: 22 percent
●DUI first offense: 19 percent
●Driving without a license or permit: 18 percent
●Careless driving: 16 percent
●Speeding 30 mph over the limit: 15 percent
●Failure to stop: 15 percent
●Improper turn: 14 percent
●Improper passing: 14 percent
●Following too close/tailgating: 13 percent
●Speeding 15 to 29 mph over limit: 12 percent
●Speeding 1 to 14 mph over limit: 11 percent
●Failure to yield: 9 percent
●No car insurance: 6 percent
●Seat belt infractions: 3 percent

For more tailored results, use the traffic ticket calculator to enter your own age, type of dwelling, state, marital status, and length of time you’ve been with your car insurance carrier.

No two companies will raise your rates the same amount. Some won’t raise your rates after a single minor violation. Others will.

Here’s an example of just how different rate increases can be from company to company: For a driver in Apple Valley, Minnesota, with two speeding tickets 11 mph over the limit, one carrier wouldn't return a rate at all; five others increased rates anywhere from 13 to 121 percent.

We strongly suggest you compare car insurance quotes after a violation.

How many points is a speeding ticket?

Your state may assign demerit points for some violations and suspend your license or fine you when that total reaches a certain level. Point systems vary widely by state, but too many points can bring an SR-22 requirement that automatically makes you a high-risk driver who'll need high-risk auto insurance.

But any points your state assigns after a ticket are different from the ones your insurance company uses to calculate your rates. Insurance companies make their own calculations based on your record, but each makes its own judgments about which violations to count. Each makes its own decisions about accident fault, too.

In order for an insurance company to raise your rates, your ticket must appear on your state motor vehicle record, or MVR. An MVR shows your license status, traffic violations and accident reports.

Your rates won’t increase until the insurer checks your MVR. Some may check your MVR at every renewal; some may check only every year or two, especially for longtime customers with clean records.

How long will a ticket affect my rates?

The look-back period differs by state and by company.

You should expect at minimum to be rated on violations, accidents and suspensions for the last three years. Some companies go back to the date of the incident, and others go back to the day of conviction.

Many companies will look back five or even 10 years for major violations such as a DUI. For instance, in California insurers aren’t allowed to offer a good driver discount until 10 years have passed after a DUI violation.

And, just as a violation doesn’t raise your rates until your insurer sees the offense on your MVR, the surcharge won’t stop immediately when a violation falls off your record. You will have to wait until the next policy period when your insurer pulls your MVR.

What happens if I get a ticket out of state?

Expect it to show up on your record.

Most states have reciprocal agreements that automatically share information on citations. The Driver’s License Compact has been signed by 45 states and Washington, D.C. Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin are not members, but they share and receive information just the same.

If your driving privileges are suspended in a state you are visiting, your home state typically will suspend your license as well.

Some states may not assign driver’s license points to out of state convictions, especially minor ones. But insurance companies will rate you on a violation no matter where it occurred, if it appears on your MVR and is considered a surchargeable offense.

4 ways to fight a speeding ticket

To keep a speeding ticket off your record, you can contest it in court, or you can plead guilty in a way that keeps the infraction off your driving record.

If you keep a ticket off your motor vehicle record, your insurance company cannot rate you on it.

Contest the ticket: You are pleading not guilty. You will need to notify the court that you want a contested hearing. Typically you will be offered another chance for mitigation or a deferral.

You can go to court yourself or hire a traffic attorney. If you are accused of a major violation such as a DUI, you should hire a lawyer.

If you win, the charge is dismissed and will not appear on your MVR. If you lose, the penalty will stay the same and the conviction will appear on your record, and you may have to pay court costs as well.

Ask for mitigation: You are pleading guilty but offering an explanation. The court may reduce the fine, but the conviction would go on your record. In some states, though, the judge may amend the charge to a non-moving violation, or you may have the option at this point of seeking a deferral or defensive driving class.

Seek a deferral or defensive driving class: You are pleading guilty but asking to have the conviction deferred. If you complete a class or go a certain period of time without another violation, the charge will not appear on your MVR. Typically you will pay a fine and fees that are as large as or even larger than you would have under the original violation, but your record will remain clear and your insurance rates will not rise.

You must contact the court before your appearance date to ask about these options.

Some jurisdictions will not offer deferrals or traffic school for certain violations, such as school- and construction-zone tickets or extreme cases of speeding.

Limit the damage: If a conviction on the original charge seems inevitable, you might want to ask for a continuance to delay a conviction past your next renewal date. In addition, a defensive driving class, even taken after the fact, can remove points from your motor vehicle record. While it cannot erase a conviction from your insurance company’s calculations, the class might bring a discount that softens the blow from the surcharge.

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Are Speed Traps Legal?

One of the most common interactions motorists have with the police is a traffic stop (and resulting citation) for exceeding the speed limit. Often, the police car seemingly comes out of nowhere, perhaps hidden behind a tree-lined curve in the road. But are speed traps—the common term for stealthy speed enforcement methods—even legal?

Basic Speed Trap Laws

As with most laws enforced at the state or local level, it depends. It also depends on how different jurisdictions define the term.

The California Vehicle Code (CVC 40802), for instance, prohibits the use of “marked road traps” and “unjustified speed limit traps.” A “marked road trap” is defined as a section of highway “marked, designated, or otherwise determined” for measuring the speed of a vehicle by calculating the time it takes to travel that distance. An “unjustified speed limit trap” is a specific section of highway with a lower speed limit that is not justified by a traffic survey conducted within the past five years.

Motorists use the term "speed trap" to describe a whole range of stealthy police tactics used to enforce speed limits and other traffic regulations. Most of these methods are perfectly legal in most states, even California. So an officer with a radar gun parked behind a tree-lined curve in the road, or otherwise hidden from view, is not violating the law in California or virtually anywhere else.

Since speed enforcement laws differ from state or local jurisdiction to the next, check your local laws for more specific guidance. Generally, though, police are not required to conspicuously announce their presence when enforcing speed limits.

Hidden Cameras and Hidden Officers

The use of hidden cameras to enforce speed limits is another matter. Arizona, for example, used hidden radar guns to check motorists’ speed and then snap photos of speeding vehicles’ license plates. Speeders would receive citations in the mail. But the governor halted the program in 2010 in response to civil liberties complaints. See “Speeding and Red Light Camera Tickets” for more details.

In any case, officers may not use methods of entrapment—the act of encouraging motorists to break the law—in order to induce an arrest. Although the act of hiding by police officers often is called entrapment, that is not the case. If you are speeding, the fact that the officer was hidden from view is irrelevant if you were not influenced by the officer to exceed the speed limit.

Additionally, an officer hiding out on private property must comply if a property owner asks them to leave. But even if a dispute arises between a property owner and an officer who ignored requests to leave, any tickets or arrests made by the officer remain valid and cannot be challenged on that fact alone. So even if the officer is found to be trespassing, you are still on the hook for that traffic ticket. Homeowners often welcome officers to their driveway in the interest of taming traffic near their homes, or at least do not mind their presence.

Suppose an officer parks on a private road or driveway clearly marked with a "no trespassing" sign? The same rule would apply: The property owner may file a complaint against the officer for disregarding the sign, but any legal stops or arrests made from that location remain valid.

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Avoiding Traffic Tickets and Staying in Line with the Law

Although the best advice for avoiding traffic tickets is always to drive within the law, it often happens that even law abiding drivers receive tickets. Driving within the speed limit is not a guarantee that you will be free from traffic tickets. Besides paying the ticket off, these little slips of paper can lead to other problems, like higher insurance rates, points on one's license, and anxiety. So, it's always best to avoid them. What follows are some tips that may help you in avoiding traffic tickets.

See the Highway Patrol

The best way to be able to spot the police is to ensure that you have good visibility from your car. You can do this by cleaning all your windows whenever you fill up at a gas station, and wiping down your mirrors, as well. If you have large stickers on any of your windows, it may be a good idea to remove them. Also, be sure to occasionally check your rearview mirror for excessive vibration. If your rearview mirror is excessively vibrating, you may be losing visibility out of the back of your car. This problem can be remedied by adjusting your mirror, checking the suspension on your car, or making sure the wheels are in balance.

Recognize Highway Patrol Vehicles

It is a good idea to learn how to spot highway patrol cars, whether they are driving around you or parked on the side of the road. Highway patrol cars are typically large sedans with siren lights mounted on the top and/or sides of the car.. However, many highway patrol jurisdictions employ patrol cars that have smaller, sleeker profiles. In addition, the lights that are routinely mounted on the tops of vehicles are now mounted inside of the car near the windows. In other words, it is not always easy to spot a highway patrol car.

Highway patrol cars often wait for speeders near highway on-ramps. When driving through an overpass followed by an on-ramp, it is always a good idea to look around for any parked cars, check your speed, and drive safely. In addition, highway patrol cars often work in teams, with one car checking speeds using a radar gun while parked on the overpass, and another car waiting issue a traffic ticket. As a result, it is always a good idea to be aware for cars that are not moving on an overpass.

Remember that highway patrol officers will almost always know the road better than you will, as it is their job to drive it almost every day. Because of this, the highway patrol usually has the upper hand in giving out speeding tickets. Bear in mind that you may receive a ticket from a highway patrol car that is driving in your opposite direction. With their powerful engines, it's easy for them to make a U-turn and catch up to you if they think that you are breaking the law. Another highway patrol tactic is to use pace cars on service roads to see if the cars are speeding.

Highway Patrol Motorcycles and Airplanes

The highway patrol does not only use cars. These law enforcement agencies regularly use motorcycles and airplanes, as well. Highway patrol motorcycles can usually be recognized by their large size and rear radio-antenna. In addition, most law enforcement motorcycles are designed to have the rider sitting upright, so you don't have to worry about sport bikes where the rider is leaning forward.

Some highway patrols use airplanes and other small aircraft to issue speeding tickets. However, these planes can only be used in certain areas, and not around major airports or other commercial flying lanes. Normally, planes are used by Highway Patrol in rural areas where there are large stretches of highway. By looking out for a few signs, you will be able to tell when you may be monitored by an aircraft. First, roads often have signage that informs drivers that their speed is being monitored by an aircraft. Second, there will be large, perpendicular white lines painted alongside the road, often in the shoulder, spaced at intervals of one mile.

Spotting an aircraft flying overhead is much more difficult than spotting a highway patrol car or motorcycle. However, if you happen to see a small aircraft flying parallel to the road you are on, your speed may be being monitored from above.

Don't Get Noticed

One of the best ways to avoid a speeding ticket or other kind of traffic ticket is to avoid getting noticed while you're on the road. Be sure not to call attention to your car or your driving. To this end, you can:
●Make sure that if your windows are tinted, they are within the acceptable limits of the state in which you are driving. Officers will often look at cars more carefully if they have very dark windows. In some states, like CA, having windows tinted too darkly can lead to a ticket.
●Do not flash your headlights at drivers that are moving more slowly than you unless you are sure that you are driving within the speed limit. By flashing your lights at slower drivers while speeding in the fast lane, you call attention to yourself.
●Only drive in the left lane when passing slower vehicles. Some states even prohibit driving in the left lane except for passing.
●Try to avoid any extra additions to your car that may bring attention. These can include things like extra large spoilers, oversized wheels and lighted under-carriages.
●Avoid bumper stickers, unless you can be sure that they won't offend. Even simple bumper stickers that support you favorite sports team may offend an officer.
●Be careful when using radar detectors. If a police officer sees a radar detector, he may issue a ticket even if he was willing to give a warning before Some states even prohibit the use of radar detectors.
●If you decide to personalize your license plate, be sure it will not be offensive. A license plant "10SNE1" (tennis anyone?) is fine, but something like "SPD DMN" (speed demon) may get you in trouble.
●Keep a clean, good looking car. If your car is dirty, dented and generally looking shabby, the officer may be more inclined to keep a closer eye on you and issue a ticket. In addition, repairing cracked windows is a good idea, not only for making you less noticeable, but also for your safety while on the road.
●Replace your worn tires. Bald tires make driving that much more dangerous, and the officer may be more likely to cite you.

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Safe Driving: The Do's and Don'ts

Maybe you just got your driver's license, or maybe you have been driving for years, but feel that it is time for a brush-up on good driving techniques. Here are some tips for behind the wheel behavior that might save you from getting a ticket or getting in an accident.

THE DO's

●DO always wear your seat belt.
●DO keep children in tested and approved car seats, no matter how much they beg or plead to get out. If you need, take frequent breaks so that little ones can stretch their legs.
●DO review the official rules of the road for your jurisdiction periodically, and follow them always.
●DO follow the speed limits.
●DO pay attention when you are driving, even if you are familiar with the area. A surprising number of accidents happen only blocks from home!
●DO be courteous toward other drivers.
●DO give pedestrians the right-of-way in crosswalks.
●DO make room for bicycles.
●DO pay for your parking tickets or traffic tickets on time, unless you plan to contest them.
●DO keep a winter survival kit in your car for bad weather conditions. A good survival kit should contain a cell phone, matches, flares, a working flashlight, food, water, and blankets.
●DO make sure that your spare tire is in your car and that you have a working jack.
●DO make time for routine preventative maintenance on your car. Breakdowns can be dangerous and costly.
●DO plan your route out in advance for long car trips and keep a map or atlas in the car in case you get lost.

THE DON'Ts

●DON'T drink and drive, and don't get in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs.
●DON'T make assumptions about what other drivers are going to do. Just because someone has their turn signal on does not mean they are actually going to turn. They may be like the rest of us, and have forgotten that it is on!
●DON'T assume that other cars know what you are doing, either. Make sure that you use your turn signals and give yourself, and the cars around you, plenty of room to maneuver.
●DON'T tailgate other cars, pass on shoulders, fail to yield, run stoplights or stop signs (even if no one else seems to be around), or break any other rules of the road on purpose. If you act like you are above the law when you operate a car, you will sooner, rather than later, find out that you are not.
●DON'T play your car stereo so loudly that you are disruptive to others, or so loudly that you are unable to hear train signals or emergency vehicle sirens.
●DON'T talk on your cell phone and drive at the same time. If you need to make or answer a telephone call while you are driving, pull over at a safe place, use the phone, and then resume your journey.
●DON'T engage in other activities, while driving, that distract your attention or reduce your reaction time. Eating, changing clothes, or putting on makeup while driving is dangerous. In some states, if you are caught doing these things while driving you can be cited for "driver inattention" and given a ticket.
●DON'T treat a car like it is a toy. It is not. Don't use your car to play chicken, race, or give another car a friendly "tap."
●DON'T let your emotions and frustrations get the best of you. Don't engage in road rage, no matter how irritating another driver might be to you.
●DON'T leave valuables in your car, especially in places where they can be seen, no matter where you are parked.

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