Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Fighting traffic tickets?

Got a client for a speeding ticket...what can I really do fo saulgoodmanwannabe02/06/17
California specific information: file a trial by written dec becksquire02/06/17
Reduce below insurance points threshold or improper equipmen triplesix02/06/17
NJ attorney here: 1) Ask for trial and hope cop doesn't s sjlawyer02/06/17
Another NJ Attorney here: 1. Ask Prosecutor to give your isthisit02/06/17
holy sh*t, WTF are you guys smoking? Any time I got a tic dingbat02/07/17
Every ticket I've dealt with has gone the Unsafe Driving rou isthisit02/07/17
Many many judges won't take that plea - Some might, but the sjlawyer02/07/17
I used to be on the muni court circuit. Typically on speede orange902/08/17
I prosecute traffic tickets in TX. Ask to be dismissed firs whipster02/07/17
Traffic plea deals depend heavily on a local jurisdiction's alphadog1502/08/17
When it comes to routine, uncomplicated motor vehicle offens anothernjlawyer02/08/17
saulgoodmanwannabe (Feb 6, 2017 - 6:54 pm)

Got a client for a speeding ticket...what can I really do for her?

I've never handled a simple traffic offense, I usually take misdemeanor cases where some weed was found as well and the offer is usually dismiss the speed violation, plea to the weed.

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becksquire (Feb 6, 2017 - 7:54 pm)

California specific information: file a trial by written declaration and hope officer doesn't respond. If officer responds, then request court trial. Arrive at court trial and beg for non-moving violation. Have one in mind. You can google local ticket clinics and see what they usually argue it down to.

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triplesix (Feb 6, 2017 - 8:00 pm)

Reduce below insurance points threshold or improper equipment. Some localities it is hard to do unless you are a part of the local chill bro network.

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sjlawyer (Feb 6, 2017 - 8:11 pm)

NJ attorney here:

1) Ask for trial and hope cop doesn't show (like above)
2) Ask pros for an unsafe (no point) violation. It will cost your client an extra 250 but no pts
3) beg (ymmv)

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isthisit (Feb 6, 2017 - 9:31 pm)

Another NJ Attorney here:

1. Ask Prosecutor to give your client an Unsafe Driving plea. Unless your client is a serial bad driver or a boozer, this will work. No points just a heftier fine.

2. If no Unsafe driving, ask for a trial and hope the cop doesn't show. If he does, get your Perry Mason on as above. Then consult your client to take a Defensive Driving Course to eliminate 2 points from his record.

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dingbat (Feb 7, 2017 - 11:31 am)

holy sh*t, WTF are you guys smoking?

Any time I got a ticket in NJ I had it turned into a non-moving violation - often for the same nominal penalty (but added court costs)

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isthisit (Feb 7, 2017 - 12:14 pm)

Every ticket I've dealt with has gone the Unsafe Driving route.

I think this is where I say YMMV.

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sjlawyer (Feb 7, 2017 - 12:26 pm)

Many many judges won't take that plea - Some might, but the prosecutor AND judge are doing you a favor.

Generally, it's hard to convert a speeding into a non-moving violation. A careless driving, sure. There are even a few towns/cops who write carelesses for cell phone violations, which is a massive gift. But a speeding, on it's face, can't be supported by a non-moving plea. Maybe on a low speed, but then, I'm not sure why you got pulled over.

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orange9 (Feb 8, 2017 - 10:14 am)

I used to be on the muni court circuit. Typically on speeders, your only option is the unsafe. If your client has a 2 point speeder, odds are he was given a break on the road already because most cops will not bother pulling anyone over for doing less than 15 over. I have had a few prosecutors and judges give me a 4-100 or a 120.9 on a 2 point speeder, but it is definitely not the norm. If your client has a 4 point speeder or higher, at least you have something to work with- 4 points to zero on the unsafe looks like you did work, or amending it to a lower speed or a careless also shows work. I have hated anytime I have walked into court with a 2 point written because I know my options are usually very limited.

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whipster (Feb 7, 2017 - 7:30 am)

I prosecute traffic tickets in TX.
Ask to be dismissed first if it is a first offense. I usually cut a lot of slack if they aren't repeat speeders.
If that doesn't work, see if a defensive driving class can be taken.
If not, ask for the lowest fine and deferred adjudication.
Finally, go to trial if you have to.

Be positive and friendly with the prosecutor, it makes a big difference.

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alphadog15 (Feb 8, 2017 - 6:29 am)

Traffic plea deals depend heavily on a local jurisdiction's policy. I've dealt with traffic courts in both upstate and downstate NY, and they were generally amenable to a lenient plea deal converting a moving violation into a non moving violation, at least with a first time offender. They just wanted their money, quick and easy.

Other jurisdictions may have a tough local prosecutor with a zero tolerance attitude to certain offenses. So YMMV.

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anothernjlawyer (Feb 8, 2017 - 10:45 am)

When it comes to routine, uncomplicated motor vehicle offenses (speeding, careless driving, etc..), your leverage as defense counsel rarely exists in the strength of the State's proofs. Rather, it exists in your ability to aid in the speedy processing of the case, and your ability to delay that process if the State won't give you at least some concession.

In NJ, municipal judge and municipal prosecutor positions are part-time assignments. Most of the municipal prosecutors have their own law offices, as do a lot of the judges. The municipal court session lasts until the case list has all been heard. A Prosecutor's / Judge's ability to churn through the list quickly are, to everyone involved, very desirable qualities.

On a minor speeding ticket, a lawyer can show up, cut a quick deal with the prosecutor, walk his client through the plea, and have his client out the door using up less than 5 minutes of the Court / prosecutor's time. In the alternative, the lawyer can demand discovery, call for a trial, spend 25 minutes cross-examining the officer (who the prosecutor has to call to come into court) and basically delay everybody's dinner for an hour. Also, for the prosecutor / judge, dealing with an experienced lawyer is a lot easier than trying to explain the entire process to some pro-se who insists that he couldn't have been speeding because he goes to church every weekend, yells that the cop is lying, claims his speedometer is broken and it's not his fault, demands a trial and starts quoting the Declaration of Independence, etc..

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