因为开的是爸爸的van，还以为车牌过期的问题，摇下窗子，听警察嘴里蹦出speeding的字样，还以为自己听错了。舅舅说没觉得妈妈开得快，怀疑是否因为是中国人被拦下，妈妈说不会。警察环视车内，随即要去Driver’s License 及registration，回到后面的车内，回头就给了张citation，说是在35限速内开了44。琢磨了很久，才明白罚的可能是从45变速到35限速的地方，可能是妈妈没将车速及时减下来，警察让妈妈停下时已经过了至少两三个红绿灯。估计警察在后面已经跟了半天，妈妈因为与舅舅争执，竟然全然不觉，警察可能觉得自己没被放在眼里呢，警察发话前首先朝内环视半天，可能是看孩子系安全带没有吧。
妈妈觉得自己并没超速的意思，完全是following the traffic，而且这是第一次，给个warning还差不多，但与同事和朋友说起，都说罚单就是为了罚款，就当是破财免灾吧！爸爸说警察要想罚你，超速1个mile也是可以罚的，所以最好按限速开。问下来，大致有三种意见，一是认罚交钱，网上即可支付，或寄支票；二是court date那天去法院，罚款照交，只要不影响自己的points即可；三是不认罪，雇用律师（罚款还是要交的，加上律师费）。
可能是我的case是小case，又是初犯，打通电话根本没问什么细节，说若想去掉drive license的2个点，要认罚，罚得更多，以“Improper Equipment”脱罪，要去credit card的信息，就挂了。之后没任何消息，发email问，才传来发票的扫描件，长话短说，多花了大概近200元，过了两三月才全部了结。所以有些怀疑当初是否应该自己去，还是应该等同事推荐的律师回复或休假回来。
1. Pay Ticket
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
●Pay the fine
●Plea bargain for a reduced charge
●Receive points on your driving record
●Incur possible jump in auto insurance rates
●Possible option to take driver improvement course to remove driving record points
2. Fight Ticket
(Plead Not Guilty)
●Challenge traffic ticket via trial
●Either represent yourself or hire a lawyer
●Enter not guilty plea and then immediately ask for a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC)
●Possibly lose option to plea bargain for lesser charges
●Traffic Tickets - Basics
●Types of Traffic Tickets
●Speeding and Red Light Camera Tickets
●The Traffic Ticket "Points" System
●10 things you need to know about driver’s license points
●Do speeding tickets affect insurance?
●Are Speed Traps Legal?
●Avoiding Traffic Tickets and Staying in Line with the Law
●Safe Driving: The Do's and Don'ts
Traffic Tickets - Basics
More than ninety percent of the people in this country over the age of sixteen are licensed to drive, and there is more than one car registered for each one of them. These figures translate into trillions of miles driven each year with millions of traffic infractions, making traffic control an issue of immense proportions. The first traffic laws and regulations began to appear in the 1920s, and they now constitute a huge part of most state codes.
The primary purpose of traffic-violation regulations is to deter unsafe driving and to educate and reform bad drivers. Studies have shown that traffic offenders generally keep amassing traffic violations, and that most people obey the laws, even when there is no perceived safety reason for doing so, such as waiting for a green light at 2:00 a.m. Compliance with the laws increases when drivers believe they will be caught and decreases when they perceive they can get away with a specific infraction.
Traffic Tickets: "Strict Liability Offenses"
The majority of traffic tickets are issued for "strict-liability" offenses. This means that no particular criminal intent is required to convict a person of the offense. The only proof needed is that the person did the prohibited act. Strict-liability traffic offenses typically include such offenses as:
●Failure to use turn signals
●Failure to yield
●Turning into the wrong lane
●Driving a car with burned-out headlights
●Parking in a handicap spot without the required sticker, and
●Overdue parking meters.
Moving Violations vs. Non-Moving Violations
A moving violation occurs whenever a traffic law is violated by a vehicle in motion. Some examples of moving violations are speeding, running a stop sign or red light, and drunk driving. A non-moving violation, by contrast, is usually related to parking or faulty equipment.Examples include parking in front of a fire hydrant, parking in a no-parking zone, parking in front of an expired meter, and excessive muffler noise.
Processing Traffic Tickets
Many jurisdictions provide for administrative processing of most traffic tickets as minor offenses or "infractions", thereby removing them from criminal court altogether. In those cases, an offender is not subject to incarceration or large fines and is not entitled to a lawyer or a jury trial. (Note: The fine for speeding tickets can be quite large, as some states impose a fine based on the rate at which the offender was exceeding the speed limit.) Even though most traffic tickets are handled in an expeditious manner in the court system, a "conviction" for a traffic infraction can have a negative effect on a person's driving privileges and insurance rates.
Certain traffic violations are considered more serious than infractions, and can rise to the level of a misdemeanor crime (or felony), especially if the offense involves injury to a person or destruction of property (such as leaving the scene of an accident). People accused of these more-serious traffic violations are entitled to all constitutional protections provided to criminal defendants, including the right to a court-appointed attorney and a jury trial.
Traffic Tickets: Get Help Now
Even good, safety-focused drivers can be charged with a traffic violation. If you have been charged with breaking a traffic law and would like to learn more about your rights to "fight" the ticket, the best place to start is to speak with an experienced Traffic Ticket Attorney in your area. A Traffic Ticket Attorney will evaluate all aspects of your case and explain all options available to you -- including the administrative procedure and driving record penalties you can expect -- and will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Types of Traffic Tickets
Speeding is one of the most common reasons for a traffic ticket. Learn about the different types of speeding laws and find links to resources on state speeding laws and common penalties for speeding.
With the rise of cell phone use, distracted driving is at an all-time high. Learn about general distracted driving laws, driving while texting, handheld cell phone use laws, primary enforcement laws, and more.
Driving Without a Valid Driver's License
In every state, it’s unlawful to drive without a valid driver’s license. Find your state’s law related to driving without a license to learn about operating a vehicle without proof of license and the accompanying penalties.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime in most states, especially if anyone was injured in the crash. Learn about the elements of hit-and-run offenses and a driver’s duties after an accident.
Most states have laws prohibiting drivers from driving “recklessly” or with a “willful” disregard for the safety of others. This section provides information on acts that are consideredreckless, like racing and eluding police.
Running a Red Light or Stop Sign
Running a red light or stop sign is one of the most dangerous offenses a driver can commit. Find your state’s traffic control signal laws to learn about the penalties involved and whether it’s lawful to turn on a red light.
Speeding and Red Light Camera Tickets
The use of motion-activated cameras to enforce speed limits and red lights has become more ubiquitous in the 21st Century. Red light cameras, as they are commonly called, take pictures of automobiles when they enter the intersection while the light is red. Speeding cameras, though much less common in the U.S., use similar technology to photographmotorists who exceed the speed limit. The cameras, usually mounted on or near traffic signals in busy intersections, also photograph license plates in order to identify and then send a citation to the offender.
In the interest of due process, a law enforcement official typically reviews the photographic evidence to make sure a violation has occurred before a citation is sent. And, similar to traditional enforcement of traffic laws, most red light camera systems allow motorists to be in the intersection while the light is red for about a half-second before issuing a citation (which also reduces the urge to slam on the brakes when approaching a yellow light when a camera is detected).
For an overview of how states regulate the use of automated enforcement cameras, see "State Traffic Camera Restrictions."
Controversy Over Red Light Cameras
While law enforcement groups and traffic safety advocates claim red light cameras (and speeding cameras) save lives, critics say such cameras actually increase accidents and are more about boosting municipal revenues than making roads safer.
The U.S. Dept. of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHA) conducted a study of red light camera systems in 2005, concluding that such systems increase highway safety while reducing crash-related costs. The National Motorists Association directly challengestheir study, claiming such cameras are ineffective, costly and in violation of due process.
Much of the controversy related due process of the law has to do with the way evidence of speeding or running a red light is verified, since it is collected by a machine, and how the violation is served. Los Angeles County Superior Court, for example, ruled that photo enforcement of traffic laws is unenforceable because there is no live witness to testify against an offender. However, most juridictions verify photo evidence with a traffic officer before issuing a citation.
Also, there is some confusion over whether or not the citation must be served in person, since traditional speeding and red light tickets are handed out by the officers who personallywitness the offenses. Mail service of citations generally has been upheld as lawful, but usually only if the defendant has the chance to acknowledge receipt of the citation or requests personal service. Failure to respond to a mailed photo enforcement ticket typically results in a default guilty judgment against the offender.
Arizona, which has since abandoned the use of speeding and red light camera tickets, had allowed defendants 30 days to notify the court about waiving personal service of the citation (with a default judgment after 30 days).
Federal Law & Regulation
In a 2008 appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, car owners in Chicago claimed the city's red light camera system violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. They received a $90 citation in the mail for running a red light (someone else had been driving their car at the time).
The federal judges ruled against the appellants, stating the following in their opinion:
"No one has a fundamental right to run a red light or avoid being seen by a camera on a public street."
Therefore, federal courts have affirmed the right of municipalities to use speeding and red light cameras. Additionally, lawsuits challenging the use of private companies to operate red light cameras have been dismissed or defeated.
As of 2011 (and with a compliance deadline of 2014), states are required to adopt the National Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). These guidelines address how yellow light timing durations are set, which may help resolve some of the arguments by motorists claiming they were cited for going through intersections with unreasonably quick yellow lights.
Per federal regulations, tickets are issued only if the driver enters the intersection once the light has turned red.
The Traffic Ticket "Points" System
Each state has a system that assigns a point value to different kinds of traffic offenses, used by the state's motor vehicle department to keep track of the driving records of all licensed drivers in the state. More serious offenses have higher point values, whereas minor violationsare assigned minimal points. For example, in one state, failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign might be worth two points, while driving thirty miles per hour over the posted speed limit might be valued at four points. An example of how the points might break down is given below. Although this listing of offenses is not exhaustive and point systems vary from state-to-state, this example shows the relative values that might be assigned by a particularstate, based on the seriousness of the offense.
●Manslaughter, negligent homicide, or another felony involving the use of a motor vehicle
●Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs
●Failing to stop and give identification at the scene of an accident
●Unlawful blood-alcohol content (BAC) level
●Refusal to take a chemical test
●Fleeing or eluding a police officer
●Any blood-alcohol level in a driver under twenty-one years of age
●Sixteen miles per hour or more over the legal speed limit
●Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle
●Disobeying a traffic signal or stop sign or improper passing
●Eleven to fifteen miles per hour over the legal speed limit
●Failure to stop at a railroad crossing
●Failure to stop for a school bus or disobeying a school crossing guard
●Ten miles per hour or less over the legal speed limit
●All other moving violations of traffic laws
●Refusal of breath test for alcohol content by a driver under twenty-one years of age