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Old 03-31-2014, 09:10 PM
 
2 posts, read 1,449 times
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Hey everyone. I got a traffic ticket for cutting off a cop in Alexandria, VA, so it's a ticket for failing to yield right of way. I was coming out of the library and thought the oncoming traffic was far enough (like three blocks) that I had enough time to get onto the main road and then turn right. Apparently the cop thought otherwise and pulled me over.

I'm 19, a new driver (only had my license for about three months), and have never been to traffic court. So I don't have any points, positive or negative. I think this is a four point violation that stays on for three years. I also have USAA for my insurance. The ticket is about $92 (since I probably don't have enough time now to mail it in, it's like $95 online). The actual fine is $30.

I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice in regards to how the Fairfax County traffic court operates and what would be my best course of action. I've been looking at other threads here, but there's kinda some contradicting info and I don't know what to do. I have class on the day that my court date is scheduled for, but I'm willing to miss it. But is it really worth it and should I just pay the fine? I honestly thought I had enough time to do what I did, but I don't know whether this is a strong enough case to plead "not guilty". I mean, I do have a clean record, but I don't know if that's worth anything. Also, I'm not sure if Fairfax offers traffic school as an alternative, but I would ask for that if it was an option. Would it be better to plead guilty and ask for leniency? My boyfriend was in the car as well. Would it be good to bring him in as a witness?

Thank you for any advice!
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:42 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
7,627 posts, read 12,604,680 times
Reputation: 7266
Only you know whether you should plead not guilty or not. None of us were there. But I fail to see what motive an officer would have to pull you over and cite you if there was really that much distance. But you'll have to decide. If you decide to plead guilty then plead guilty with an explanation. The judge should let you say something. Explain what you believed was a safe maneuver but apparently you were mistaken. Ask for leniency and you never know. You can request traffic school if you want.
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:18 AM
 
2,185 posts, read 2,979,906 times
Reputation: 1617
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Originally Posted by Bigfoot424 View Post
Only you know whether you should plead not guilty or not. None of us were there. But I fail to see what motive an officer would have to pull you over and cite you if there was really that much distance. But you'll have to decide. If you decide to plead guilty then plead guilty with an explanation. The judge should let you say something. Explain what you believed was a safe maneuver but apparently you were mistaken. Ask for leniency and you never know. You can request traffic school if you want.
I remember I got a ticket a long time ago, I was making a right turn, a cop was making a left turn. Doesn't the person turning right have the right of way? Well he ticketed me. Now I think the law is if the person making the left turn is in the intersection they have right of way, but he wasn't. We pretty much both made our turns at the same time. I think it was a pretty d!ck move to ticket me, I didn't cut him off or endanger anyone. I was just minding my business making a right turn. But it was one of those 'power trip' moments, so what are you going to do. It happens though.

OP, I've found you're better off just staying away from cops on the road whenever possible. You never know when one is having a bad day is itching to write up a ticket. I think the vast majority of cops do a really good/fair job, but some don't.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:22 AM
 
469 posts, read 974,915 times
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I would ask the DA about a lesser charge...like defective equipment. The officer was speeding without his emergency lights on.....we've all seen them do it. Perhaps, traffic school would come into play.....what was the speed limit....do the math...how many feet away was he....be assertive to overcome the fact that you didn't get your DL until 19. Do you wear glasses?
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
2,786 posts, read 3,865,660 times
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If the Police car was equipped with a video camera, you are going to have to TRY to dispute the video. Many US Police officers also wear a microphone on their uniform that records to the video system, so your conversation MAY have been recorded, too. If that is the case, you are not going to have much chance of winning.

The video is evidence, as is what you said, to the officer, at the time that you were stopped by him/her.

The judge will listen to the testimony of the Police officer, and view any evidence that may be presented in court. Then you get to try to argue your side of the situation. Remember, this is traffic court, not the Supreme Court of the USA. Cases are dealt with fast, as the case load is huge.

Jim B.

Toronto.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:49 AM
 
1,344 posts, read 4,440,752 times
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Originally Posted by canadian citizen View Post
Cases are dealt with fast, as the case load is huge.
That's probably the key thing to remember. Traffic court is run like a business.

It might be a learning experience to go. Try and talk to the DA for 15 seconds, plea down, and you might get a reduced charged. And then you'll pay some court costs.
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:14 AM
 
1,339 posts, read 3,228,365 times
Reputation: 2228
Quote:
Originally Posted by FCNova View Post
I remember I got a ticket a long time ago, I was making a right turn, a cop was making a left turn. Doesn't the person turning right have the right of way? Well he ticketed me. Now I think the law is if the person making the left turn is in the intersection they have right of way, but he wasn't. We pretty much both made our turns at the same time. I think it was a pretty d!ck move to ticket me, I didn't cut him off or endanger anyone. I was just minding my business making a right turn. But it was one of those 'power trip' moments, so what are you going to do. It happens though.
If this was at a traffic light and if it was green for you, then you had the right of the way. The person making the left turn (opposite direction) has to yield to oncoming traffic - whether it is going straight or making a right turn.

In the absence of a traffic light, if you are making a right turn from a parking lot or a smaller road on to a road, you still have the right of way over a car on the busy road trying to make a left on to the parking road/smaller road.

Am I correct about the two situations?
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:40 AM
 
2,185 posts, read 2,979,906 times
Reputation: 1617
Quote:
Originally Posted by kutra11 View Post
If this was at a traffic light and if it was green for you, then you had the right of the way. The person making the left turn (opposite direction) has to yield to oncoming traffic - whether it is going straight or making a right turn.

In the absence of a traffic light, if you are making a right turn from a parking lot or a smaller road on to a road, you still have the right of way over a car on the busy road trying to make a left on to the parking road/smaller road.

Am I correct about the two situations?
I think that's right. But I think if the person making the left is already in the intersection performing their turn the right turner has to let them go, and can't just try to zip in front of them. In my case we both had green lights but the cop wasn't in the intersection, we both pretty much started moving simultaneously into the intersection. It was a long time ago, I don't care about it. I just happened to run into one of the 'power trip' guys that day. Maybe the OP did too, who knows. Probably not much he/she can do about it though except go to court and hope for leniency. FWIW most of the cops I've come into contact with in my life have been relatively fair and honest.
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Old 04-01-2014, 11:45 AM
 
1,344 posts, read 4,440,752 times
Reputation: 1485
Quote:
Originally Posted by FCNova View Post
But it was one of those 'power trip' moments, so what are you going to do. It happens though.
Unless there are some other details, this sounds like text book power tripping.

He/she was probably just ticked you didn't yield to a cop car, even if you had the right of way. But don't let it taint your view of all cops. There are a-holes every where.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
7,627 posts, read 12,604,680 times
Reputation: 7266
Quote:
Originally Posted by homebeyer2013 View Post
I would ask the DA about a lesser charge...like defective equipment. The officer was speeding without his emergency lights on.....we've all seen them do it. Perhaps, traffic school would come into play.....what was the speed limit....do the math...how many feet away was he....be assertive to overcome the fact that you didn't get your DL until 19. Do you wear glasses?
How do you know he was speeding?
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