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Your Options

This site is designed to demonstrate that thereís only one choice in the three options that are available to you.... FIGHT THE TICKET. Even if you go to court and lose, your fines will be no higher than they would have been if you hadnít contested it. The important aspect to consider is that your insurance premiums are going to go up for years. This will be far greater than the amount of your ticket.

HOW SHOULD I PLEAD?

There are four types of pleading available to you that you can enter for your ticket.
Guilty. ďI made a mistake, hereís my money, raise my insuranceĒ.
Guilty with an explanation. ďI made a mistake, but let me tell you why, before I give you my money, and you raise my insuranceĒ.
NoloContender. Itís the Latin translation for ďNo ContestĒ. ďAll right Iím guilty, but I just donít want to tell you. Hereís my money, raise my insuranceĒ.
NOT Guilty. This is what you should be interested in.

Not guilty does not necessarily mean that you did not commit the crime. All it means is that the prosecutor now has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you DID commit the crime. The prosecution has the burden of proof, not you. If the citing officer does not show up for the trial, thatís not your problem, itís theirs. You just have to enter a simple motion to dismiss due to the prosecutionís lack of a witness.

DO YOU NEED A LAWYER?

Youíre only going to need a lawyer if your sentence features jail time as a possibility. Some of the citations that could involve jail time would be a DUI or a DWI; driving a vehicle on a suspended license, an accident involving a hit and run, or if a felony was committed while you were using your vehicle. Drug or weapon possession, robbery, manslaughter, hit and run; all of these would obviously incur a jail sentence. If your case involves any of these points, a lawyer is highly recommended. If not, calculate the cost of the attorneyís fees, weigh them against the fine and work out how much youíll be paying in insurance premiums. Some attorneys specializing in traffic tickets will charge between $50 and $100 for their services. You may be able to plea bargain for a driving school certification in lieu of a larger fine.

You really canít handle the above without the use of an attorney. Secure one for these purposes. Most attorneys have a reasonable relationship with prosecutors, and they know their way around the court system far better than you ever could. If you feel that the pricing is okay, and the services that you will be retaining will assist you in making a good settlement, consider utilizing their specialties to help you out; remember that it will be easier on you in the long run.

Once youíve hired an attorney, you have lost control over how your case will be handled because he will be the one taking care of it. However, you gain the advantage of his knowledge of the legal procedures and youíre still the one with the most detail regarding the events surrounding the particular citation.

Industry statistics state that if you do testify on your own behalf and you ultimately convict yourself by stating the wrong thing, about 9/10 of all traffic cases would not have benefited from the use of an attorney.

DRIVING SCHOOL

One of the most popular forms of plea bargaining available to you is referred to as a driving school, or another variation of the same thing. You, the defendant agree to attend a driving school and they provide a completion certificate from a school thatís licensed in you local jurisdiction. If you attend and pass, the charges will be dropped. Usually youíre allowed to participate in this program once a year. Sometimes you can get a discount on your car insurance by mentioning that you have successfully completed driving school; just donít tell them that you went because of a speeding ticket.

Usually, this is the most painless way to get rid of the charges that are against you. Driving schools normally cost $35 to $50. Itís possible that a court cost will also be included or added to this fee. Usually, the total cost will be less than your speeding fine. You might want to consider this possibility, if you feel that your case is weak and you may not have a chance of winning. If youíve got a good case, save the option of the driving school for a time when you may need it more.

SPEED DEFENSE

Speed defense implies that your need to speed was a determining factor in protecting yourself. Perhaps you were doing 55 in a zone where everyone else was doing 70, and in order to avoid the possibilityl of an accident, you had to accelerate to match the speed of the surrounding traffic.

You might also have a tailgater behind you, coming up rather quickly causing you to accelerate to get out of their way, in order to protect yourself. These defenses donít usually work. Donít feel that your case will be dismissed simply on the evidence that you may present about these particular situations. Itís not a good choice to pursue this type of defense.

There are some areas in New York State that give you an unusual opportunity to beat your speeding ticket. Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City are four cities that give you the opportunity that we were speaking about before. In general, if you receive a ticket in those cities, there is no way of fighting it. You donít get to see a real judge, you donít get a chance to appeal, you canít plea bargain, and you donít have any right to discovery. The courts are required by law to maintain a 65% success rate on convictions in order to maintain the revenues. The only good part of this whole system is that since youíll be seeing an administrative individual rather than a judge, they are not authorized to put you in jail. Your only hope for success in this type of situation is to continue to postpone your appearance as many times as possible, hoping that the officer who issued the speeding citation does not show up on the appearance date. Thatís the only way you can possibly win a case like this. The system is legal, constitutional, and efforts to change it have been vetoed by the Governors for years, simply because they know that it generates cash flow. Just try not to get a ticket in any of these locations.

 
 

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Content Edited by Nick Jones
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