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Old 09-23-2008, 08:01 AM
 
1 posts, read 10,304 times
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I'm hoping to get some advice. I was recently pulled over in Fairfax County, on Route 1, near the entrance to 95N in Woodbridge. He pulled me over for speeding (which I was, but not as much as he claimed.), but he gave me a ticket for Failure to Obey a Highway Sign. This violation is 3 points on my license. I haven't had a ticket in over 10 years.
So...do I go to court? I don't want the points, but I don't want to waste my time either. The officer was about 18 years old, so I'm sure he has nothing better to do than show up at court.
I was thinking, if I go to court, what would I even say, since I was speeding, but was charged with something else.
Any advice you can give would be much appreciated.
Thx!
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Old 09-23-2008, 08:21 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,778,611 times
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Unless you can prove you are innocent, you're not going to get anywhere by going to court. Just pay the ticket.
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Old 09-23-2008, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Cave Creek, AZ USA
1,772 posts, read 5,594,796 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
Unless you can prove you are innocent, you're not going to get anywhere by going to court. Just pay the ticket.
This is the worst advice I've ever read. Newsflash - the burden of proof lies with the state, not the defendant. I've had very good luck in Fairfax Co. court, even with some judges I've watched throw the book at some others while I waited for my case to come up.

You can go to court and walk around the hallway, find a lawyer right then and there for pretty cheap and that lawyer will make those points go away. As long as you weren't a jerk to the cop, the prosecutor will cut a deal with another lawyer - as long as you pay into their good ole boy network. You can sometimes approach the prosecutor on your own and ask for a break, if you have a good driving record. Or you can just handle it yourself, tell the judge your story and cross examine the cop. I've won that way in Fairfax Co. before too. I've seen judges chew cops out for not having the act together in court and that always works in the defendants' favor.

Bottom line is if you don't fight it, the state wins automatically every time. Make them work for their money. I'd rather pay a lawyer $200 than pay the state $50.
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Old 09-23-2008, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Bettendorf, IA
446 posts, read 1,222,827 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Lee View Post
This is the worst advice I've ever read. Newsflash - the burden of proof lies with the state, not the defendant. I've had very good luck in Fairfax Co. court, even with some judges I've watched throw the book at some others while I waited for my case to come up.

You can go to court and walk around the hallway, find a lawyer right then and there for pretty cheap and that lawyer will make those points go away. As long as you weren't a jerk to the cop, the prosecutor will cut a deal with another lawyer - as long as you pay into their good ole boy network. You can sometimes approach the prosecutor on your own and ask for a break, if you have a good driving record. Or you can just handle it yourself, tell the judge your story and cross examine the cop. I've won that way in Fairfax Co. before too. I've seen judges chew cops out for not having the act together in court and that always works in the defendants' favor.

Bottom line is if you don't fight it, the state wins automatically every time. Make them work for their money. I'd rather pay a lawyer $200 than pay the state $50.
Just curious; how many times have you been to court?
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Old 09-23-2008, 02:45 PM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,951,120 times
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Yeah, really! I'd like to know too ...
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Cave Creek, AZ USA
1,772 posts, read 5,594,796 times
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It's been a long time, since I've been to court, probably 10 yrs. So maybe it's changed. Last two I recall beating in Fairfax Co. was a parking ticket and a failure to come to a complete stop at a right turn on red. Parking ticket was a joke. The no parking sign was missing, the cop was sitting right there, saw me park there, said nothing to me and waiting for me to walk away so he could write me up. I took photos of it and the judge tossed it before I even had to say anything. Cop's photos were the same as mine. Unreal.

The right turn on red one was also BS, as I stopped for the service road first (John Marr Dr. and Rt 236). It would have been crazy not to, but I didn't stop again 10 ft. later at the white line. Besides, the adjacent traffic to my right had a left turn green arrow, so there was no way I could have hit anyone. I just explained that to the judge and he dismissed it. Probably saved a few years of insurance hikes for that one.

BTW, once I went to night court in Pittsburgh and the judge dismissed the whole courtroom because (she really said this) she wanted to go home to watch Nancy Kerrigan skate. It was the '94 Olympics.

Another time I got a summons for failing to pay parking ticket I had never received, was out of the country when it was issued the address they alleged I illegally parked at did not exist. I brought a yellow pages and map to court, started to explain to the judge that this addrss didn't exist. She dismissed it before I could even show her the map.

You really have nothing to lose by going to court, but you lose automatically by not going.
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Old 09-23-2008, 08:18 PM
 
67 posts, read 224,861 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetpeachums View Post
I was thinking, if I go to court, what would I even say, since I was speeding, but was charged with something else.
Any advice you can give would be much appreciated.
Thx!
A Failure To Obey... is actually a lesser charge than speeding, and is what a judge will normally reduce a speeding ticket to if you go to court and have a good driving record. My one and only speeding ticket (54/40) was reduced to the Failure to Obey charge when I went to court.

I'm torn on what advice to give. The cop may have given you the lesser charge because he wouldn't be able to prove the higher charge of speeding (maybe he didn't have a radar gun, who knows). If so, it'd be worth your time to fight it. However, maybe he was just giving you a break and the judge wouldn't reduce it any further. I guess if you have a few hours to spare it wouldn't hurt to try.
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Old 09-23-2008, 08:29 PM
 
55 posts, read 177,080 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetpeachums View Post
The officer was about 18 years old, so I'm sure he has nothing better to do than show up at court.
I'm still trying to figure out what the heck this means.

Do you have any respect for police?
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Cave Creek, AZ USA
1,772 posts, read 5,594,796 times
Reputation: 1060
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOVA.123 View Post
I'm still trying to figure out what the heck this means.

Do you have any respect for police?
The one that got me for the right turn on red looked to be about 21. I'm polite to everyone, no matter their age, and especially polite to cops. Being polite has saved me jail and thousands of dollars once, when the cops wrote a note to the prosecutor that I was a good guy and they'd not object to my getting a deal.

However, younger cops are a little wet behind the ears and their profession tends to attract people who like to exercise their authority. Many of them recently got out of the military and/or are still reservists, and sometimes need a little help in adjusting to dealing with civilians, who have infinitely more rights than the folks they dealt with as an MP. Not at all saying a young cop has less of a leg to stand on, but they tend to be easier to beat in court or even at the side of the road, IF you know exactly how to behave, exactly what your rights are and remain cool, calm and polite.

BTW, the few times I've gotten to cross examine a cop in court, my first question is always, "Officer, would you agree that I was polite and cooperative during the stop?" Unless you've given him a reason to really hate you, chances are he'll automatically make the judge like you.
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,778,611 times
Reputation: 18989
Quote:
Originally Posted by greeniebean View Post
I guess if you have a few hours to spare it wouldn't hurt to try.
Yes, this is the bottom line. I hate to sound jaded, but when the economy goes sour it's very hard to get a ticket dismissed (IMO). No matter how polite you are. Right now they desparately need the $$$ from tickets.

But hey--sometimes I'm wrong. I'd love for this to be one of those times. I wish you the very best of luck, and if you do decide to fight the ticket, let us know how it goes.

ps. Here's an old thread that could be very helpful:
Notorious Speed Traps
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