Winning at Traffic Tickets

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
If you are surprised to see this topic on Saverocity you have been living under a rock for the past 3 years. We aren't just about travel (that's Travelocity you crazy fool) we are about winning at life. I thought it would be neat to share my Traffic Ticket experience with you here, I got off with a win, though in fairness I didn't fight that hard, and may have left something on the table.

I have to say, it was quite the experience. Here's how it started out:

A State Trooper watched me overtake across double yellow lines. He then raced up behind me and tailgated me for about 4-5 miles, after which time I found out he was a State Trooper :) Him being a fastidious officer of the law also noticed that I had not changed my address with the DMV.

So I received 3 tickets for one stop. What to do? Note that this is a State specific scenario, so check your own rules and regs -and as ever, YMMV. I find more cops want to mess with me, but more judges want to let me off the hook - its a British thing.

I'm a principled type of guy, so my instinct was to confess guilt, after all, the Trooper watched me overtake, and watched my speed get up to an alleged 54 in a 40. And, I hadn't changed my address with the DMV.

Key Point
There is a huge problem with the legal system, and you probably won't notice it until you dig deeply. The problem is that if you admit Guilt to certain crimes there is a mandatory sentence. So you can't say 'hey Judge, yeah, I did it but its my first time', or, any other mitigating reason. If you admit guilt, you accept a predetermined judgement.

For my scenario this would have meant 7 points on my license for the overtaking and speeding alone, which would have:
  • Increased my insurance premiums
  • Created a penalty payment in NYS (annual charge)
  • Put me way into the realm of losing my license.
If you get 11 points your license is suspended, this can be extended by 4 points to 15 points with a qualified defensive driving course.

So, my doing the 'right thing' would have meant penalties for the 3 tickets, state penalties for being a risky driver, insurance premium penalties, and being very close to having my license revoked. What does one do?

In NY there are 3 responses that are allowed:
  1. Guilty
  2. Guilty with mitigating circumstances
  3. Not Guilty
You might think that the pleading of #2 with mitigating circumstances is the option to elect here. However, doing so also admits guilt, so you get the automatic 7 points, but you might get a discount on the overall fees associated.

The only plea that you can make to avoid points is Not Guilty. I made this plea.

I firmly believe that I have fair and valid reasons for the defense of each ticket, and I was prepared to discuss them today in court. However, I was not able to do so. Instead, when I reached the front of the line for the Town Prosecutor he simply offered to change all three tickets into one charge of 'failing to obey a mechanical road signal'. IE the court decided to rip up all the tickets and the eye witness reports of the State Trooper, and instead invent a charge that would be acceptable. And this all happened before I had the chance to explain my story.

I went from overtaking a vehicle, speeding away, and not changing my address to either failing to fully stop at a Stop sign, or perhaps running a red light... totally invented 'crimes' intended to avoid discussion and create revenue for the Town.

The Wrap
I elected for a not guilty defense today because of two important reasons. The first is, you should not be afraid to challenge a charge. You should never attempt to lie or perjure yourself, but if you are able to express a truthful explanation of your situation, you shouldn't be intimated against doing so. And in the situation I was in I couldn't lose. Admitting guilt, and then explaining myself would have not created the outcome you might expect from that decision. The only way to create the outcome that might be considered fair was to plead not guilty and explain myself.

So it is a no lose situation, admit guilty = accepting a sentence, claim innocence = refusing the sentence until you are heard, or until the court offers you a solution that works for them.

Why the share?
Frankly, I could not have posted this. It would reduce exposure and liability for me to do that. However, I feel that it is important to highlight the flaws in the legal system here. I believe it is honest, good people who would admit guilt, but there has been some betrayal of trust along the line. Criminals (not that I am one) know that you can just show your face in court and they will pretend you ran a red light or parked in front of a fire hydrant. Good people they are screwed. That's wrong.

Disclaimer
OK here's the gig - you read this and go all crazy and get thrown into Jail and want to sue me. Before you do, please note that the above is simply my story at winning with a Traffic ticket, and what I learned today. I also learned that you can retain a lawyer to deal offer legal advice and guidance (which this post is not) for a few hundred bucks. So, the extent of your law suit against me should you follow this advice and NOT retain a lawyer will be for the amount of money such a lawyer would have cost you. Let's say $300-$500 I'll counter sue you for being daft too.
 
R

RamboAroundTheWorld

Guest
Traffic lawyers are WAY cheaper than "a few hundred bucks". Most will knock out your tickets, assuming they're all from one stop, for around $100.


What you have to hope for now is that the cop doesn't show up.
 

PNW-MSSER

Level 2 Member
My workplace offers legal insurance with defense of traffic tickets as a benefit (We pay $8 a month) , I know countless defense cases wherein the cop didnt showup or the ticket was let go on technicalities (WA state has laws about when a trooper can point radar at you etc.) , however admitting guilt to the officer will usually count against you always. I would suggest to get a lawyer who charges money differently based on ticket getting dismissed.
 

MarkD

Level 2 Member
So what were you prepared to say in your defense? Wait, let me put on my boots first. OK go ahead.
 

Jack

Keep Calm and Carry On
I've been to traffic court several times. I went to one that was similar to what your experience was, where they offered a plea to a charge that was fairly harmless to your driving record as long as you could pay the clerk that day. I think it was around $100. They really didn't want to hear any stories and the judge was not sympathetic if you did not immediately take the plea deal. I didn't have to watch too many cases ahead of me to realize that taking the plea and paying the $100 was the smart thing to do. Another time I was in a nearby city and when I walked in they said if I had never received a ticket in that town before and I had $50 cash to pay the clerk they would tear up the ticket. They just asked if you had a ticket before in that town and everyone said no and paid the $50. A third court I went to did not do any deals and so I got stuck paying the ticket. My takeaway was that for the most part, traffic court exists to raise money for cities so they try to process people through the court as efficiently as possible and they aren't really interested in any sort of punishment towards your driving record.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
Traffic lawyers are WAY cheaper than "a few hundred bucks". Most will knock out your tickets, assuming they're all from one stop, for around $100.


What you have to hope for now is that the cop doesn't show up.
Cool - I guess it depends on the type you get. For $100 I would have retained one, but the ones I looked at alluded to more. I think if they really were $100 here then it would be a big selling point (and written in big Internet Marketing letters)

Regarding the cop, it wasn't even an option, the prosecutor simply dropped all the charges - it never went to trial. I just made a plea of not guilty and he said 'ok, how about we say you ran a stop sign, deal?'
 

johnny cash

Level 2 Member
Tickets are all about revenue. No one is interested in safety and fairness. Prosecutors will happily reduce your tickets, and will initiate the process, as you experienced firsthand, as long as it brings in some money.
 

MarkD

Level 2 Member
The truth :)
I'll play Devil's Advocate here for the sake of discussion and to poke the bear a little... :D

This thread could be titled "Lucking Out at Traffic Tickets".

There really wasn't anything that you did to affect the outcome other than your not guilty plea. In essence you just delayed a decision longer and bet on a compromise resolution which worked out for you. It very easily could have gone the other way with the prosecutor electing to pursue all three charges. If the officer would have shown up to court then you would probably have been found GUILTY since the charges were true by your own admission (i.e. you were not going to lie in court).

I'm just trying to get my money's worth for that pint I'm buying you on Saturday. ;)
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
I'll play Devil's Advocate here for the sake of discussion and to poke the bear a little... :D

This thread could be titled "Lucking Out at Traffic Tickets".

There really wasn't anything that you did to affect the outcome other than your not guilty plea. In essence you just delayed a decision longer and bet on a compromise resolution which worked out for you. It very easily could have gone the other way with the prosecutor electing to pursue all three charges. If the officer would have shown up to court then you would probably have been found GUILTY since the charges were true by your own admission (i.e. you were not going to lie in court).

I'm just trying to get my money's worth for that pint I'm buying you on Saturday. ;)
Bring it!

You are very wrong IMO - that's really why I posted this.

I didn't luck out.

If the cop had come, and I had been found guilty of all three charges then I would be in the place as admitting guilt to all three charges.

Cash wise, I may have incurred an additional surcharge to the tickets
Time wise, I would have lost some time vs pleading guilty
Points wise, I would be in the same place.

There was no real downside, other than perhaps some potential money in an absolutely worst case situation. Furthermore, the most important issue is the points - they come with penalties that are greater than the cash penalties or surcharges of the actual tickets. There is a state penalty for above 6 points, and an insurance premium penalty. There is no way that pleading not guilty could increase the number of points, it is only a chance to win.
 

MarkD

Level 2 Member
I agree it was more like a hedged bet with better odds - really your only choice. Is that winning or gaming the system? I guess so. It's kind of like the dealer in 21 (prosecution) showing two face cards (20) and you holding 15. You can fold (FAIL), hit and draw a 7 or higher (FAIL), or hit and draw a 6 (WIN). Your only choice was to hit.

Just goes to show that if you're guilty - deny, deny, deny. It's the American way - but don't tell my kids that! We always told our kids the punishment would be less severe if they took responsibility and were honest up front. Does it really work that way? Probably not.

Quote: "I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." President Bill Clinton

Our legal system is so screwed up. And our health care. And our political system. And our <fill in the blank> but it's still the best place to live.

That's all I got. Did I do OK?
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
I agree it was more like a hedged bet with better odds - really your only choice. Is that winning or gaming the system? I guess so. It's kind of like the dealer in 21 (prosecution) showing two face cards (20) and you holding 15. You can fold (FAIL), hit and draw a 7 or higher (FAIL), or hit and draw a 6 (WIN). Your only choice was to hit.

Just goes to show that if you're guilty - deny, deny, deny. It's the American way - but don't tell my kids that! We always told our kids the punishment would be less severe if they took responsibility and were honest up front. Does it really work that way? Probably not.

Quote: "I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." President Bill Clinton

Our legal system is so screwed up. And our health care. And our political system. And our <fill in the blank> but it's still the best place to live.

That's all I got. Did I do OK?
Considering you already owed me the drink I think its OK to admit defeat now.

Yeah, the win comes from the ability to know when pleading not guilty, even when logically you can see a case for guilty is the smartest option. I don't think that good, law abiding folk realize this, and therefore the system is beating them.
 

MickiSue

Level 2 Member
Supporter
In MN, most counties have a system whereby, if you have a previously clean driving record, and you pay the ticket cost, it won't go on your record. BUT.

For the next three years, if you get caught with a moving violation (as opposed, say, to a parking ticket), the original one goes on your record, along with the new one. There was a bunch of outrage about this practice, about a year ago, claiming that only those who had the funds to pay the ticket upfront could benefit.

Well, that's not really true. If you don't show up, you'll owe the ticket, a penalty for not paying, and, if you're really lucky, end up with a warrant for your arrest. If you fight it and win, good for you. But if you fight it and lose, you pay the ticket, and you have your auto insurance go up by outrageous amounts for longer than three years, and for much more on a yearly basis than just paying the ticket would have been.

I used it once, many years ago. My husband used it two years ago, when he broke a little known law that, if there's a cop car on the side of the road, you have to either a)move to another lane--which wasn't possible--or b) slow down 20 MPH. He'd only slowed down 10.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
Hence, lawyers. Use them.
Disagree. Lawyers aren't for everyone and every pocket. Once you have a bit of wealth then ok. Again, part of the reason for posting this was to show that no lawyer was involved or needed in this case.

I simply signed a box 'not guilty' answered my name and was offered a plea.
 

smittytabb

Moderator
Staff member
Disagree. Lawyers aren't for everyone and every pocket. Once you have a bit of wealth then ok. Again, part of the reason for posting this was to show that no lawyer was involved or needed in this case.

I simply signed a box 'not guilty' answered my name and was offered a plea.
Right, I've done the same without a lawyer too. But it can backfire. I choose not to give legal advice precisely because I am not a lawyer.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
Right, I've done the same without a lawyer too. But it can backfire. I choose not to give legal advice precisely because I am not a lawyer.
yeah, and I'm not giving legal advice either, I am telling a story. However, I do object to the notion of not being able to share such things for fear of litigation. I talked about it in a post on Financial Advice where the Advisor is too scared of the threat of losing his CFP marks and losing what is perceived now to be Fiduciary standards to offer the best advice for the client. We need more Good Samaritan laws....

PS head over to the improvements thread when you have a moment, I want your input on the Destinations/Trip reports stuff you talked about.
 

Annie H.

Egalatarian
In CA we have a system where you can go to traffic school for most offenses and not get points or insurance dings but I think you can only use it once every 3 years or something.

If it weren't for plea bargaining the American legal/court system would grind to a halt.
 

cocobird

Level 2 Member
No doubt to avoid "wasting" the court's time and to maximize the revenue to a municipality are reasons for "dumbing" down tickets.

Related to that is a funny story that occurred in San Francisco. Many years ago, I was ticketed for boarding on the back of the bus despite having a monthly pass. The ticket cost was high and subject to a special increase because it wasn't a parking ticket. The city had decided to increase tickets for non-parking violations by 40 percent. Much to my dismay, and the reason I fought the ticket, is that the city classified tickets as parking and everything else was a moving violation. I didn't want the points on my license either, so went to court, where it was dismissed. The funny part of the story is that tickets issued for not picking up after your dog were also considered "moving" violations. :rolleyes:
 

smittytabb

Moderator
Staff member
yeah, and I'm not giving legal advice either, I am telling a story. However, I do object to the notion of not being able to share such things for fear of litigation. I talked about it in a post on Financial Advice where the Advisor is too scared of the threat of losing his CFP marks and losing what is perceived now to be Fiduciary standards to offer the best advice for the client. We need more Good Samaritan laws....

PS head over to the improvements thread when you have a moment, I want your input on the Destinations/Trip reports stuff you talked about.
Just tidy up your disclaimer so it is clear you aren't giving legal advice...OK, bopping over to improvements to check it out.
 

Domat

Level 2 Member
Was this in NYC? I did not think they do that here. In NJ it is a way of life. the prosecutor will ask if you want to pay 450 or so and get no points or whatever the fine was and points. Also in NJ forget about the cop not showing up. In NY you will be let off but in NJ it just means you will have to come back and hope the cop shows up that time.
 

vike

Level 2 Member
Very interesting thread. I will definitely keep these points in mind next time ticket(s) happen. Reminds me of what a lawyer friend told me 20 years ago - always contest a traffic ticket!
 

youpaiyou

Level 2 Member
The truth :)
To piggy back off Matt's point, entering a plea of "not guilty" is not the same as saying "I am not guilty." A plea is not a statement in the normal sense, it is an "answer." When someone enters a plea of "not guilty" he/she is essentially enforcing his/her right to a hearing wherein the burden of proof lies with the city/county/state/federal government. Thus, as Matt correctly pointed out, one can plead "not guilty" and then tell the truth about how he/she drove 80mph in a 50mph or, alternatively, remain silent.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
To piggy back off Matt's point, entering a plea of "not guilty" is not the same as saying "I am not guilty." A plea is not a statement in the normal sense, it is an "answer." When someone enters a plea of "not guilty" he/she is essentially enforcing his/her right to a hearing wherein the burden of proof lies with the city/county/state/federal government. Thus, as Matt correctly pointed out, one can plead "not guilty" and then tell the truth about how he/she drove 80mph in a 50mph or, alternatively, remain silent.
Exactly, and I wanted to bring this up in the post, as I think it is where most people will make the naive mistake of thinking to say "not guilty" was a lie.
 
R

RamboAroundTheWorld

Guest
@Matt - when you pled down, did you include to have the new infraction not be included on your driving record?
 

StaticCharge

New Member
I don't think that good, law abiding folk realize this, and therefore the system is beating them.
Welcome to America. We already knew this.
Seriously though, have you looked in the yellow pages under "traffic law"?

Disagree. Lawyers aren't for everyone and every pocket. Once you have a bit of wealth then ok.
In MO, $75 will get you a good traffic lawyer (court costs will vary with violation). They also handle legal matters not traffic related. And because the legal system is as convoluted as it is, often necessary, but still widely available to all income levels. See: yellow pages.

Again, part of the reason for posting this was to show that no lawyer was involved or needed in this case.
Good point, but also depends on jurisdiction. And if $75 means I don't have to "be present between the hours of 3 and 7 pm on the second Tuesday of the month" to personally contest, that's good ROI.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
Welcome to America. We already knew this.
Seriously though, have you looked in the yellow pages under "traffic law"?



In MO, $75 will get you a good traffic lawyer (court costs will vary with violation). They also handle legal matters not traffic related. And because the legal system is as convoluted as it is, often necessary, but still widely available to all income levels. See: yellow pages.



Good point, but also depends on jurisdiction. And if $75 means I don't have to "be present between the hours of 3 and 7 pm on the second Tuesday of the month" to personally contest, that's good ROI.
You are speaking from the perspective of American with the Royal 'We'? I am pretty sure that many people don't know what is going on and do plead guilty thinking it is the right thing. Further to which, my own personal approach to life is to figure something out by myself, and if I succeed then assess whether to repeat it or offload it. That is everything from booking round the world trips, to gut renovating an apartment, to changing the battery on an iPhone.

It is about being able to understand a product/system/technique before turning to the most expensive solution available, that way you can ensure that the lawyer is competent rather than being led by them.

Anyway, I'm keen to hear some of your success stories like this, rather than hear how you think me figuring this out was pointless and a waste of time.
 

StaticCharge

New Member
You are speaking from the perspective of American with the Royal 'We'? I am pretty sure that many people don't know what is going on and do plead guilty thinking it is the right thing. Further to which, my own personal approach to life is to figure something out by myself, and if I succeed then assess whether to repeat it or offload it. That is everything from booking round the world trips, to gut renovating an apartment, to changing the battery on an iPhone.

It is about being able to understand a product/system/technique before turning to the most expensive solution available, that way you can ensure that the lawyer is competent rather than being led by them.

Anyway, I'm keen to hear some of your success stories like this, rather than hear how you think me figuring this out was pointless and a waste of time.
Okay, where to begin...

[JOKE]Welcome to America[/JOKE] Because you're British. Sure it was glib, and a cheap shot, but it was just a joke and you appear to be reading too much into it. I'll put more effort in next time.

You are "pretty sure that many people don't know what is going on and do plead guilty thinking it is the right thing." Citation needed. I am pretty sure most people do have an some understanding about their options vis-a-vis traffic violations and the justice system. As evidence I submit the hefty section of the phone book dedicated to lawyers, many of whom specialize in "traffic law". I'll grant that this will vary significantly from state to state, and likely correlates to the ratio of revenue generation to "justice" meted out by the court of a given jurisdiction. Missouri may lie further to the revenue end of the spectrum, as my speeding violations have been pleaded (via lawyer) down to "faulty tail light" and "noisy exhaust", but I stand by my assertion that we are not alone or even an outlier.

This is not a secret. When I got my first moving violation, the first person I asked about paying the fine said something to the effect of "why would you do such a thing? Have a lawyer take care of it. Wait... I have his card here somewhere. He's cheap and effective." More than one lawyer has volunteered to me that I could just as easily go before the court and request the same that he would, but his fee eliminates my inconvenience of doing so.

Congrats to you for figuring this out on your own. Sincerely, I mean that. I didn't say that before, and you expended a lot of text in sharing it. My "success stories" are that I didn't spend hours preparing, travelling to and from, and presenting my case. Maybe you consider that the most expensive solution, and from a monetary standpoint perhaps you're right. But my time, like everyone's, is finite here. And mine is worth $75 to not have to go and do it myself.

And nowhere did I say that you "figuring it out was pointless and a waste of time". Must you take everything so personally?
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
Okay, where to begin...

[JOKE]Welcome to America[/JOKE] Because you're British. Sure it was glib, and a cheap shot, but it was just a joke and you appear to be reading too much into it. I'll put more effort in next time.

You are "pretty sure that many people don't know what is going on and do plead guilty thinking it is the right thing." Citation needed. I am pretty sure most people do have an some understanding about their options vis-a-vis traffic violations and the justice system. As evidence I submit the hefty section of the phone book dedicated to lawyers, many of whom specialize in "traffic law". I'll grant that this will vary significantly from state to state, and likely correlates to the ratio of revenue generation to "justice" meted out by the court of a given jurisdiction. Missouri may lie further to the revenue end of the spectrum, as my speeding violations have been pleaded (via lawyer) down to "faulty tail light" and "noisy exhaust", but I stand by my assertion that we are not alone or even an outlier.

This is not a secret. When I got my first moving violation, the first person I asked about paying the fine said something to the effect of "why would you do such a thing? Have a lawyer take care of it. Wait... I have his card here somewhere. He's cheap and effective." More than one lawyer has volunteered to me that I could just as easily go before the court and request the same that he would, but his fee eliminates my inconvenience of doing so.

Congrats to you for figuring this out on your own. Sincerely, I mean that. I didn't say that before, and you expended a lot of text in sharing it. My "success stories" are that I didn't spend hours preparing, travelling to and from, and presenting my case. Maybe you consider that the most expensive solution, and from a monetary standpoint perhaps you're right. But my time, like everyone's, is finite here. And mine is worth $75 to not have to go and do it myself.

And nowhere did I say that you "figuring it out was pointless and a waste of time". Must you take everything so personally?
Sorry for not getting back to you on this. Yeah, I took your reply personally because you used a lot of "We/I" and "You" phrasing. In this case I took the time to figure this out from scratch myself and it worked - could it be better by using a lawyer, probably, but that isn't the answer that works for me. That said, I might well use a lawyer now I know how it works.

As you mention I am British, I got my GC without a Lawyer by doing the same sort of research. I think that it is empowering to take things that you don't know and handle them successfully. A pertinent example of where the 'get a lawyer' approach fails is when a person is threatened by a lawyer on behalf of someone. There is an abusive power there where people are scared of authority and the system.

I noticed this reply when coming here to start a new thread on DIY, totally the same idea, I carried sheet rock tonight into my new home in order to 'understand' the job, in the future I will outsource it, but the more hands on I am the more I can understand the scope of work. As an example, my last apartment that I also gut renovated alongside contractors I was quoted $75K for the job. I ended up with a team of 2 people for about $20K, this new project will probably cost me $3K. So if we consider value, I can be 'earning up to $75K for the 4-6 weeks that I am involved since I understand the scope of the task, and because I am ok with being hands on.

But yeah, if I write a post saying how I am exited about changing a lightbulb by myself, or the battery in an iphone, or whatever it is that I figured out and the reply is 'huh, we all know that' then I am going to get a bit shirty :)

Hope that makes sense.
 

PWMTrav

Moderator
Staff member
OK, I'm not your lawyer, this isn't legal advice, I doubt I'm even licensed in your state.

Matt's right. This isn't a legal question, topic, or even thread. This is basic odds. You have 3 options:

1. Sign the ticket and mail in the fine. 7 points, insurance surcharge.
2. Appear in court, plead guilty to the original charges. 7 points, insurance surcharge, court fees, lost time.
3. Appear in court, plead not guilty. Worst case, 7 points, insurance surcharge, court fees, lost time.

In most states and with most traffic violations, the biggest cost will be to your ongoing higher insurance premiums. If that applies to you, option 3 is the most rational because it will leave you only marginally worse off than #1 in the worst case, but has non-zero odds of putting you in a significantly better place.

Regarding $75-100 traffic lawyers, who the hell is appearing for you for that sum? They have to be working on volume. Mind you, I'm not a traffic lawyer, but that seems low for anything but an attorney who will already be at court that day representing 10-15 other people and doing for them basically what Matt did. That's not to say the lawyer won't help, they at least know local procedure, probably know the prosecutor pretty well, and can generally work something out just by way of familiarity with the process. Absolutely hire a guy if it comes down to not knowing what to do.

Now, back to the right and wrong. Showing up at court to be heard is your right. It isn't wrong to do it. Taking option #3 I suppose can be seen as taking advantage - courts are overburdened. If every traffic stop that showed up to court that day pled not guilty AND the prosecutor decided to pursue the charge, you'd be holding traffic court into next decade. That takes judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement resources away from more serious crimes. It's in the best interest of the public - meaning me, you, and everyone else - for the prosecution to offer a plea that closes the matter that day and without trial. But keep in mind what I've said - for a more serious crime, this tactic isn't going to work, at the very least the plea offered isn't going to be stroke a check and walk away. For that, get a lawyer. Not the $100 variety, either.

Let's address taking advantage, now. Using an easy example that Matt provided us, take an illegal pass with a couple of other tickets thrown in for fun. Someone like me might be inclined to pay the ticket for the illegal pass, since yeah, I tried to cheat and got caught. What about the speeding, though? I'd like to hear what the officer has to say about the observed speed and how he ascertained that. I bet I don't know how fast I was going if I passed someone over the double yellow lines because I'm looking at the road, so unless I kept speeding with a cop behind me, I bet he might not either. Maybe the speeding ticket was gratuitous and gets tossed - not likely with a stationary officer using a radar gun, but if he's following me, maybe. Then with the expired whatever, maybe I show up and get that suspended as long as I remedy it within X days. I'm making all of this up and it isn't to be taken as actual advice in specific situations, but in Matt's case, why the hell not show up to court?

It comes down to this: We, as a society, have established rule of law. The legitimacy of that requires certain rights and responsibilities. It doesn't mean you should break laws and then clog up the courts as a dismissal tactic, essentially hoping someone does something more serious than you did and requires the public resources to pursue prosecution. But it does mean that if you're accused of something, you get to show up to court and not feel bad about exercising that right.

If you get off, realize it's because you did something relatively minor that society still thinks is wrong because it could lead to something more major. It was minor enough that resources wouldn't be diverted to your prosecution. Learn your lesson and don't do it again - it may not work out so well next time. Maybe the judge or prosecutor remembers you and decides twice is a pattern. Or maybe you double line pass someone and sideswipe a kid on a bike. Either way, don't do that shit and you don't end up in court.
 
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