Getting a ticket is no fun. But I am going to tell you how you can potentially beat it with very little effort!
I was recently vacationing – and by vacationing I mean tent camping – and was pulled over for speeding.
Here’s the juicy details. So the campsite was set up and a few more supplies needed to be procured: ice, some condiments and firewood to make a big campfire. Driving into the nearest town, I glance in my rearview mirror and see flashing lights. After a few seconds I realize I am getting pulled over. This was rather amusing, you could say, because I had literally just been talking about the last time I had a speeding ticket (which was in 2000 for the record). Also, after stating that fact I had “knocked on wood”, but in actuality used the dashboard, which is far from wood.
The officer asked for my license and proof of insurance, which I provided, and then he disappeared back to his cruiser. A few minutes later he comes back and hands me my license and proof of insurance. He asks a couple questions. First, if I knew why I was pulled over. I had a really good guess but I simply tell him no. Second, he asks if I knew what the speed limit was and again I simply say no. He then hands me a ticket for speeding and tells me to have a good day. My ticket? $114.00 for speeding on a city highway (16-19 MPH).
Ouch! This camping trip just got a whole lot more expensive than I thought it would be!
Here’s the steps you need to take to beat your speeding ticket.
1. Don’t admit guilt
When you get pulled over do NOT admit guilt when the officer asks you questions like “Do you know why I pulled you over?” or “Do you know how fast you were driving?”
2. Be nice
During your interaction with the officer be nice and polite! You want the interaction to be as pleasant as possible. And remember, the officer who pulled you over is simply doing their job.
Take your ticket home and let it sit for 2 weeks. You’re waiting for everything to get entered on their side.
4. Find out the DA
Find out the District Attorney (DA) that will be handling your case. I emailed the clerk of courts of the county where I received my ticket with this email:
Could you please provide me with the contact information – name and mailing address – for the District Attorney that would be responsible for a driving citation I recently received?
Mr. Everyday Dollar
5. Get your driving record
Request your driving record abstract from the state. This typically will cost you about $5.00 and can be done electronically.
6. Write a letter to the DA
Write a letter to the DA explaining your situation including a photocopy of your citation and your driver record abstract. I used this:
June 8, 2012
[insert DA’s name]
[insert city, state, zip code]
Dear [insert DA’s Name],
I am writing to you concerning a ticket I recently received – photocopy included.
I am not contesting the speed I was travelling nor the speed zone in the area. In fact, it was a great reminder to me as I am now more cognizant of both my speed and posted speed zones; especially when transitioning between speed zones.
I have included a copy of my driving record. As you can see I have not had any recent violations.
I would greatly appreciate if a reduction in charges to a non-point violation could be issued. Thank you for your time.
[insert your name]
[insert your address]
[insert your city, state, zip code]
7. Wait patiently by the mailbox
8. Receive letter from DA
This is the most exciting part! A few things can happen here. Back when the DA received the letter, they might have called the officer who issued the ticket to find out more about your traffic stop. This is why you want to be as unmemorable as possible. Officers keep notes on every stop in case they need to go to court over the citation. So if you were being rude, arrogant, or generally an ass to the officer they will tell the DA that. And do you think they’ll cut you any slack? Nope. If the interaction from the officer’s perspective was positive, the DA might just throw the ticket out and that’s what you want.
Here are the possible outcomes:
- Ticket is dismissed – no fine, no points
- Ticket is changed to a non-moving violation – same fine (they still get their money), no points
- Ticket is reduced – fine is reduced, points may or may not change
- Nothing – same fine, same points
The hope is to get the ticket dismissed altogether but any of the outcomes except for number 4 is desirable.
Now, the moment you have all been waiting for! What was in the letter that the DA sent to Mr. Everyday Dollar? They declined my request to reduce the charge to a non-point violation. Boo!
However, in an effort to resolve the matter short of trial, they were willing to reduce my actual speed from 42 MPH to 40 MPH. This moved the citation from a 16-19 MPH fine of $114.00 to a 11-15 MPH fine of $88.80.
A savings of $25.20!
Now that’s Mr. Everyday Dollar-ish!