Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How to avoid paying for traffic tickets!

U.S. speed limit sign, MUTCD R2-1.Image via Wikipedia
Image by Indiana Stan via Flickr
How to avoid paying for traffic tickets!

First off, I've gotten five traffic tickets over the past 17-years, two for speeding and three for moving violations. I paid for only one of them, but I didn't just blow them off!  People who try that end up paying much more, and their lives take a drastic turn for the worse!
I beat paying for most of my tickets by getting them legally dismissed, but it wasn't easy.  My method takes a little extra effort and some luck.--with no guarantees.
Before I share it with you, the best way to avoid paying for tickets is not to get them at all!  That's accomplished by driving safely, obeying all laws, and observing the speed limit. However, should you manage to get one or two, as happens to the best of us, take care of them on time!

When I was a teenager, I missed the payment deadline by two days, and the judge slapped me with a failure to appear which doubled the fine.  Then he warned me that if it happened again, I'd be in for grave trouble...with a capital G!!  It never happened again.

I will now share my method, using the most recent ticket:   I was on a courier run for 'Streetwise Special Delivery', driving medical equipment from San Jose, California to a surgeon's residence in Redding, California....and my boss rented me a fast, six-cylinder Chevy Impala to cover the 670-mile trip.

I made the delivery by 10:15pm, and immediately headed back, stopping just once for coffee.  The drive was smooth, wide-open and a little speedy at times, as the rental car was more powerful than I was used to. I really had to watch the speedometer, which slipped past 80mph a few times.

By 2:30am I was southbound on Hwy 680, just crossing the Dublin 580 interchange in Pleasanton, when the red lights flashed  behind me. A CHP officer pulled me over at Stoneridge Avenue, and gave me a speeding ticket for going 81mph. When I checked the speedometer it read 74mph, but the cop maintained I had already slowed down a bit. This happened on June 8th, 2009.

Here is what I did to beat this.  When the citation arrived by mail, I called the court to request an extension. Most grant you 30 extra days.(some may offer more)  This bought me an extra 60-days. A week prior to that deadline, I called back and scheduled a walk-in appointment in order to schedule a court date to fight the ticket.

I then drove to Pleasanton, waited in line for 20-minutes, sat in court for another 30-minutes, and plead not guilty.  At the clerk's window I asked for the latest court date possible, and was happily appointed February 25th, 2010, almost nine-months after I first got the ticket!

This is the key to success! Extend, extend, extend--but don't miss the court date!  With any luck, so much time will have passed that the citing officer transfers out, or blows off court because it's his day off.  Maybe this is his sleep time, which often happens with graveyard citations. Also, CHP officers do not get paid to appear in court, unless its during their normal work shift. The same goes for city police and sheriff officers.

Plus, if he does show up, what can you lose?  You'll probably end up paying, but the judge may actually reduce the fine. If not, you'll just be granted another 60-days to pay.(or some other payment arrangement)

On February 25th of last month, I walked into a courtroom filled with people and CHP officers, but not mine!   CASE DISMISSED!  The same thing happened long ago with two other tickets that I had legitimate beefs with.  However, neither officer showed, and both tickets were dismissed as well. The other ticket happened down the street where I live, and the San Jose Police officer did appear,  however, the judge ruled he'd set-up an un-authorized speed trap, and threw my case out!

Am I just lucky or what?  Remember now, in each case I extended, extended, extended--to the limit of the law, and my patience seemed to pay off!  I must have saved more than $1000 in fines, and some pretty high insurance premiums over the years, simply because I  figured a way to, at least, improve the odds of beating a traffic ticket!

I won't get cocky though, after all I drive for a living.  It's my job to get things delivered safely!  NO MORE TICKETS FOR ME!

Walking out of court that day, I also managed to chat with CHP motorcycle traffic officer about some interesting traffic facts. He told me they receive no money from traffic fines, and the CHP have no set quotas for issuing tickets.  He also told me that 3 or 4 of every ten drivers display bad attitudes when getting stopped. It makes a big difference!  "The rest are cool, and save lots of money", he said.

He gave an example where he pulled a guy over going 92mph, however,  the driver was so pleasant that he only wrote him for doing 74mph. "Had that same guy cussed me out or gave me trouble, I could have arrested him for reckless driving...which is a huge fine and 3 points on his record",he said..

So remember, drive safely, avoid getting tickets, be nice to cops if you do, and fight them all in court by using my "extend" method.  You just may save yourself some hefty fines, high insurance premiums, and that dreaded 8-hour driving class!

Thanks, and be safe out on the road,

Sincerely,  PeteCam4
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  1. Thank you! I got two tickets within the last two months and I will be sure to try out your method. I also drive for a living and I need a way of getting around the insurance thing because I cannot afford any points on my record. So thanks for the information and I'll try it out and let you know what happened.

  2. Three years ago, I was also cited for two speeding tickets Toronto. They were too expensive and I didn't have enough money to pay them. To get rid of these tickets, I hired a great and experienced lawyer from http://www.nopointstraffictickets.com. I was very pleased with the results! My lawyer really helped me to win!:)

  3. Thanks for sharing those points with us. They should help me out in the long run (I'll also have to share them with a few friends, one of which is a courier in Toronto). Know these things will probably help him avoid a few tickets - not to mention him having less stress.

  4. Nice post! This is very much needed information.
    Speeding Tickets