Here’s the latest Reader Q – along with my reply:
I’m a college student who hasn’t been able to afford a radar detector as of yet. Recently I was driving on a state highway in a long, flat, straight stretch with few other cars on the road and I got going pretty fast. I think I got up to around 95 before a cop turned around in the grass between the two sides of the highway and pulled me over. I decided to comply and be polite and just play scared college student, and used the fact that it’s my birthday. Anyways long story short after having me wait about 15 minutes the officer says that I could be charged with reckless driving at 95 (I’m in Indiana and the posted speed limit was 60) but he had kids of his own my age so he’d let me off with giving me a ticket that had me going 70. At this point is there anything I can do about the ticket, or do you have any advice or anything about the process of dealing with a speeding ticket?
I’d definitely fight it. As you probably know, it’s not just the fine for the “speeding.” It will also be the higher insurance the mafia will hit you with – probably – once they find the record of the ticket (they check). Particularly because you are in your young 20s – the insurance mafia is merciless to young guys. Be aware/take into account that even though it is just one ticket, it will be active on your DMV rap sheet for three years, maybe five. If you get another ticket before the first one drops off… it is guaranteed the mafia will take you to the cleaners. So… fight it.
First, I recommend visiting the National Motorists Association web site (www.motorists.org) and getting their ticket fighting packet.
This will give you specific pointers as regards challenging radar and so on.
You might also:
Approach the prosecutor/commonwealth attorney and ask whether he would accept a guilty plea to a non-moving violation (for example, defective equipment) that carries no DMV points and the payment of a fine. They want your money above all. This often works; I have used this tactic myself.
Immediately as for a continuance. In many states, you are automatically entitled to at least one. This will push your court date out – and to another day. Hopefully, to a day the cop who gave you the ticket won’t be in court. Often, if that happens, the judge will dismiss the case – though he may just give you another date. Worth a try, anyhow – it costs you nothing, no matter what the outcome.
Finally: Buy the got-damned radar detector! Yes, they are expensive. So are tickets – and insurance premium surcharges. Often, much more so than the cost of the detector. If you are convicted, this ticket is probably going to cost you at least $150 in fines – plus the very real likelihood of several times that in higher insurance on account of the ticket. The detector would have saved you money.
And not just that time.
Every time you drive, you are fair game – open season – unless you always drive the speed limit. If you don’t, do the smart thing – and buy the detector!