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It pays to avoid a ticket -- or fight one
MSN Money ^ | July 15, 2003 | Chris Solomon

Posted on 07/15/2003 11:22:14 AM PDT by mvpel

The best advice is simply not to speed, at least not brazenly. But if you get nailed, fight it -- because a $50 ticket can cost you thousands once your insurer gets wind of it.

 By Chris Solomon

Now is a very bad time to have a lead foot.

States facing yawning budget gaps are finding new money by pinching speeders more frequently -- and pinching them harder, too. Texas lawmakers recently added $30 to fines for speeding tickets. California has added a surcharge of between $7 and $20, depending on the severity of the violation. And the Illinois Legislature is set to tag an additional $4 to the cost of a minor speeding ticket.

True, four more bucks won’t change your life, but the fine is usually the least of your worries. Even one speeding ticket can begin to turn your name to mud in your insurer’s eyes. More than one can cost you thousands of dollars in higher premiums.

Insurance companies say punishing speeders is well warranted: In one study, California drivers with one speeding citation in a three-year period had a crash rate 50% higher, on average, than those with no infractions -- and the crash rate more than doubled for those who had two or more tickets, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute, industry-sponsored research groups.

A ticket from Johnny Law does seem to slow people down, at least for a bit. A study of Ontario traffic statistics, published in the British medical journal the Lancet, found that a conviction for a moving violation cut the risk of a fatal crash in the following month by 35%. The benefit evaporated by four months after the conviction. Assigning penalty points to a driver’s license -- especially for speeding tickets -- reduced the risk of fatal crashes more than convictions without penalty points.

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Keeping your nose clean
Still, as long as running late is an American pastime, people will speed. And there are ways to protect yourself and your premiums. First, reduce your likelihood of getting snagged by the speed gun in these ways:


The traffic stop and its aftermath
You get pulled over anyway. Now what do you do?



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: insurance; police; speeding; tickets
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1 posted on 07/15/2003 11:22:15 AM PDT by mvpel
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To: mvpel
2 other pieces of advice:
Don't tell your insurance company, lag time between you getting the ticket and them finding out about the ticket can be as much as 6 months, but the surcharge clock starts ticking the minute you get the ticket which leads to #2
Remind the insurance company when the surcharge should end, they tend to have the same lag time (or more) taking charges off as adding them, unless you bug them about it, find out what their surcharge period is for a ticket (2 or 3 years depending on your company) and the day after the appropriate anniversary call them
2 posted on 07/15/2003 11:28:48 AM PDT by discostu (the train that won't stop going, no way to slow down)
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To: mvpel
In parts of Florida you have bulk firms which represent people for as little as $35.00.

It pays to fight tickets in certain states. It pays to ask.

Ps buy a license plate sheild.
3 posted on 07/15/2003 11:29:31 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: All
A Recall AND a Fundraiser? I'm toast.
Let's get this over with FAST. Please contribute!

4 posted on 07/15/2003 11:29:56 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: mvpel
When I was young and foolish, I fought two speeding tickets in court...Won one when the cop didn't show and lost one 'cause, well, I was guilty.
5 posted on 07/15/2003 11:34:01 AM PDT by Drango (Just 5 a day will end pledge drives on FreeRepublic.)
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To: mvpel
I served on the Grand Jury for the first time in my county about 10 years ago. Since then, the few tickets that I have gotten (I use to drive about 70,000 miles a year) I ALWAYS fight. They almost never get through the grand jury unless someone was injured or it was a DUI. Most of the time the DA would call and try to "settle" with me, I respectfully say no then they let me "sweat" for a few months and then drop the charges. the down side? We have an illegal court system that you have to go to first. You are always found guilty then you can contest it, request a jury trial, pay your "bond" (= to your fine), and then the legal court process starts. You miss a day's work to go to this sham traffic court and then they keep your "bond" for up to two years when the statue of limitations runs out.
6 posted on 07/15/2003 11:37:38 AM PDT by CCCV
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To: mvpel; Catspaw; LouD; Crow; steveegg; afraidfortherepublic; petuniasevan
Any advice for my husband who recently received a speeding ticket from a rent-a-cop in the Town of Ripon in Fond du lac County?

He was on his way out of town and apparently started his acceleration to the highway speed before he completely cleared town. Was clocked at 49 in a 35.

Pertinent facts:
1) Driving a rental car.
2) Rental car with Illinois plates.
3)Unfamiliar with the area, he was on his way home from calling on a customer in Green Lake.

His court date is this Thursday. I want him to try to get it changed to a non moving violation of some kind or at least get the miles over speed limit reduced, he just wants to pay it and be done with it. He's very embarrassed. Been driving 25+ years with no traffic violations.

To top it all off, our insurance premiums are already sky-high because we have 2 teeneged drivers!!

7 posted on 07/15/2003 11:43:32 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: Trust but Verify
The website where I describe my ticket-fighting experiences is http://www.aidoann.com/

As for your husband's situation, take a look at the laws regarding the setting and posting of speed limits, the 35mph limit at that point might not be legal.
8 posted on 07/15/2003 11:45:36 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: discostu
Sure-fire method to avoid speeding tickets:

Don't speed.

I'm 40 years speeding ticket-free.
9 posted on 07/15/2003 11:52:59 AM PDT by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Trust but Verify
Also, the fact that he was driving a rental car with Illinois plates are not pertinent to the issuance of the ticket. That he was unfamiliar with the area is something to say to the judge to try to get him to go easy on you. The fact that he's got a 25-year clean record would also be a pretty large mark in his favor in front of most judges.

Given that, I think he'd have a pretty good shot at getting it kicked down or out, unless the town in question is running a ticket mill. Where is Ripton anyway?
10 posted on 07/15/2003 11:54:00 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: MineralMan
I hope you're not one of those obnoxious people who drive exactly 65mph in the leftmost lane and create a dangerous traffic situation for everyone else. :-D
11 posted on 07/15/2003 11:54:44 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: MineralMan
Cops can pull you over and give you a ticket for *anything* they want. They were pulling over cars 3-4 at a time last week. I got pulled over as well, the cop claimed that I was driving on the "zebra" lines (shoulder, basically) which was a lie. I had a passenger in my car, so I am fighting it.
12 posted on 07/15/2003 11:55:30 AM PDT by BrooklynGOP
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To: mvpel
I hope you're not one of those obnoxious people who drive/ride at highway speeds on residential streets and create a dangerous traffic situation for everyone else.
13 posted on 07/15/2003 11:56:27 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: mvpel
Strange are the ways of insurance companies. I got a ticket for 75 in 55 MPH zone, owned up to my insurance company. I also said on the questionaire that I drove 5500 miles per year.

They paid no attention to the ticket, and reduced my insurance rate because of low mileage.

But I don't fancy another...
14 posted on 07/15/2003 11:59:09 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: mvpel
The point about the Illinois plates is this: Wisconsin cops have it in for Illinois drivers. And let's be honest, all municipalities are using traffic and parking fines to fill their budget gaps these days.

Ripon is just outside of Fond du lac, Wisconsin. There is the City of Ripon and the Town of Ripon. A friend of my husband's who is more familiar with that area said the T of Ripon cops are Rent-A-Cops and have an overinflated sense of their importance.

15 posted on 07/15/2003 11:59:17 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: Trust but Verify
He wasn't ticketed in Rosendale? That's a shock. Rosendale is the #1 speed trap on our side of the state. Ripon must be taking lessons from them.

You can take it to court, but make sure you've got your evidence--did this happen where the speed is reduced from 55 to 45 or 35 in too short a distance (that's Rosendale's trick)? If so, what is the distance between the two signs? Is the officer's radar gun working correctly?

I can come up with more, but if the officer doesn't show up for court, have your hubby ask for a dismissal.

16 posted on 07/15/2003 11:59:52 AM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Trust but Verify
Agree with #8.

Also, read VERY CLOSELY into the State's, counties and City's traffic laws. I have beaten a ticket for exceeding the recommended speed limit during incement weather ( I was doing 40 in a 55 but hit water and hydroplaned) - because the officer did not write on the ticket his recommended speed limit as required by State law.

17 posted on 07/15/2003 12:01:48 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: Catspaw
It wasn't Rosendale but it sounds like the same set up. They perch themselves in a spot where they can catch people as they are leaving town and ratcheting up their speed and they pounce on them. The jackass even said something to him like, "I bet you thought because you left the curbed streets behind you were in the clear, didn't you?" What a jerk.
18 posted on 07/15/2003 12:02:39 PM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: Trust but Verify
The point about the Illinois plates is this: Wisconsin cops have it in for Illinois drivers.

That bit of anecdotal evidence doesn't carry any legal weight in court, is what I was trying to say.

19 posted on 07/15/2003 12:04:04 PM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: Trust but Verify
Considering that it's 14 over, I doubt that the "deal of the day" that some courts do for those that just show up will completely wipe it off the record. Even if the court does offer it, it will usually simply be changing the citation to something that offers less points but still offers the same fine. Example, more than 10 years ago, I was pulled over for doing 16 over. The "deal of the day" in my case was to reduce my 4-point 16 over ticket to a 2-point defective speedometer, but the fine remained unchanged.

As for actually fighting it, the only circumstance that MAY be considered is the fact that it was a rental he was driving. Even then, it's likely that the most that would be done is to reduce the ticket to a defective speedometer. That would require a testing of the speedometer, not an easy task with a rental.

20 posted on 07/15/2003 12:04:30 PM PDT by steveegg (Help kill this tagline - donate to FR today - https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate)
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To: Trust but Verify; Catspaw
Considering the ossifer (sp-intentional) said that, I'll bet that he has court duty that day.
21 posted on 07/15/2003 12:07:33 PM PDT by steveegg (Help kill this tagline - donate to FR today - https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate)
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To: mvpel
I understand, it was mostly for the benefit of fellow Wisconsin Freepers, who know it is probably a huge factor in why he was pulled over.
22 posted on 07/15/2003 12:07:39 PM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: Trust but Verify
What state?

BTW only change a plea to "no contest" NEVEr "guilty"
23 posted on 07/15/2003 12:08:08 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: mvpel
Ref. Bump
24 posted on 07/15/2003 12:09:34 PM PDT by StriperSniper (Frogs are for gigging)
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To: steveegg
I don't care about the money. It's the points and the moving violation. If they offer him defective speedometer, he'll take it.

BTW, the fine is only $75. What's up with that? Most fines for speeding I know of are $160+.

25 posted on 07/15/2003 12:09:54 PM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: longtermmemmory
Wisconsin.
26 posted on 07/15/2003 12:10:22 PM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: mvpel
“You’re a pack animal; don’t stick out of the pack,” says Casey Raskob, a Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., attorney who focuses on traffic-related cases.

Hmmm .. so the police are the lions culling out members of the 'herd' ?

Disgusting.

27 posted on 07/15/2003 12:10:34 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (We are crushing our enemies, seeing him driven before us and hearing the lamentations of the liberal)
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To: Trust but Verify
When you're coming into Rosendale on 23 from the east (Rosendale is just east of Ripon), you're coming down a small hill. The speed drops from 55 to 35 in a heartbeat. If you're not doing 35 or under when you hit the sign, the cop in the unmarked cop car sitting at the hardware store parking lot on the left side (coming into town) joyfully turns on his lights & siren, saying, "Got me another one!" and whips out his ticket book. I saw it happen in front of me the 1st time I was on the road & slammed my brakes on hard, just in case there was another officer around. From then on, I reduced my speed to 28 about a 1/2 a mile from the sign. If I got honked at, I didn't care. I've never gotten a ticket.

His favorite cars: red ones. They just *LOOK* fast.

28 posted on 07/15/2003 12:11:08 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Trust but Verify
does wisconsin do a "with hold of adjucation" where you pay the court costs (same amount as fine) but there are no points on you license?

(the speedometer trick does not work anymore)
29 posted on 07/15/2003 12:12:59 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: BrooklynGOP
It might be a hard fight. We'll pull over people in groups in spots like that just because the locations are marked clearly, making testimony in court easier.

You may get lucky though if the cop is a new guy like me. The testimony we have to present is like a little complicated dance ("I was approx. 50 feet from the corner, traffic was moderate heading southbound, the traffic control devices were functioning and hanging approx. 30 ft. from the ground, etc."), and we're not as good at doing it as the more experienced officers. If the cop is from the Highway unit you're really in trouble. I saw one of them beat 6 guys in a row at court a while ago.

30 posted on 07/15/2003 12:14:20 PM PDT by newwahoo
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To: Trust but Verify
all municipalities are using traffic and parking fines to fill their budget gaps these days.

Not in Ohio. The state govt. (republican gov. and legislature) is cracking down on speed traps. In the infamous South Bloomfield speed trap, you used to have the lights timed so it was impossible to get through without hitting a light. Now, the lights are timed to help you through and while there used to be a cop there 24/7, now I rarely see one.

31 posted on 07/15/2003 12:15:11 PM PDT by staytrue
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To: Catspaw
I wish I had the ticket with me. I think the ticket was on Hy 23 or just before he got to Hy 23. To me, what they're doing is unconscionable. To increase they're revenue, they're making people pay a terrible price in increased insurance costs.
32 posted on 07/15/2003 12:16:17 PM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: mvpel
He is. He is a self appointed guardian of the roads and enforcer of all laws, written and unwritten. If he weren't a godless atheist, he'd be a saint. Ask him. He'll tell you.
33 posted on 07/15/2003 12:16:43 PM PDT by Badray (Molon Labe!)
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To: BrooklynGOP
You should fight it! My husband got stopped once because the officer thought he didn't have his seatbelt on. After trying to get him to admit it, he wrote him up for "failure to keep right." He fought it and won (cop did not show up to court).

Regardless, it really makes the average Joe angry when police officers want respect from people and run around writing up bogus tickets to fill their quota for the month.

34 posted on 07/15/2003 12:16:45 PM PDT by Gerish
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To: Centurion2000
"Hmmm .. so the police are the lions culling out members of the 'herd' ?"

A red car weaving past others and cutting back and forth across lanes, sometimes two at a time, does tend to stick out. Chances are the driver also deserves the summons.

35 posted on 07/15/2003 12:17:08 PM PDT by newwahoo
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To: mvpel
I used to prosecute traffic tickets for the Los Angeles City Attorney. While it's true that cop no-shows got a large percentage dismissed on the spot, the conviction rate was very high, usually without any reduction in the violation. I'd say it was over 90%.

However, the judge would invariably find one person not guilty for no apparent reason at all. I had proved all the elements of the violation, so I guess he just did it for fun.

36 posted on 07/15/2003 12:17:42 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: steveegg
I'll bet that he has court duty that day.

Oh, I'll bet he does, too.

37 posted on 07/15/2003 12:19:30 PM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: Trust but Verify
$75 for 14 over? That's odd (of course, I'm not speaking from a lot of personal experience; other than the 1 ticket and 1 warning, I know how to drive so as to avoid attention).

I can't stress enough that not all of Wisconsin's courts offer the "deal of the day". It doesn't hurt to find out, though; and if they don't, you can always hope the officer doesn't show up.

38 posted on 07/15/2003 12:20:47 PM PDT by steveegg (Help kill this tagline - donate to FR today - https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate)
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To: newwahoo
Well, this is how it happened. I just merged from Cross Island onto Grand Central and the traffic there is always heavy so they were basically walking between the cars and they pulled me out of the right lane. I am going to ask him what the distance was between my car and him when he allegedly observed me driving on the shoulder and if he could clearly see me. I mean, if there was good visibility between us and he was like 100 feet away, why would I be driving on the shoulder when there were 2-3 cars police cars *on* the shoulder? What do you think?
39 posted on 07/15/2003 12:21:05 PM PDT by BrooklynGOP
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To: newwahoo
If the cop is from the Highway unit you're really in trouble. I saw one of them beat 6 guys in a row at court a while ago.

I've seen members of the Wisconsin State Patrol in court. They're gooood.

The area in question is patrolled by the various municipalities (usually very small departments)--and the county sheriff's department inbetween. In Wisconsin, the State Patrol is rarely off the main highways. In this part of Wisconsin, that's Hwy. 41 & I-43.

40 posted on 07/15/2003 12:23:55 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Gerish
"Regardless, it really makes the average Joe angry when police officers want respect from people and run around writing up bogus tickets to fill their quota for the month."

There is no need to write bogus tickets when so many people drive like maniacs. No one thinks they deserve a ticket, its always the other guy. My dad has never received a ticket in many decades of driving because he never deserved one.

41 posted on 07/15/2003 12:25:25 PM PDT by newwahoo
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To: steveegg
There is a website you can go to that gives information on court activity in Wis. You can pull up traffic convictions by county and date. I have never seen a speeding ticket for ANY amount over be $75.
42 posted on 07/15/2003 12:25:59 PM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: BrooklynGOP
Sounds good to me, Brooklyn. Good luck!!
43 posted on 07/15/2003 12:27:29 PM PDT by Trust but Verify (Will work for W)
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To: BrooklynGOP
You might have a shot. Showing up is a good start. Do you have the ticket with you right now? If you do look at the lower right hand corner and see if the tax reg. number begins with a 93, 92 or 91....
44 posted on 07/15/2003 12:28:48 PM PDT by newwahoo
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To: newwahoo
The problem is, instead of going after the people who are driving like maniacs, they hide out on the side of the road and pluck people out of the smooth-flowing prevailing speed of traffic that just happens to be higher than the arbitrary posted speed limit.
45 posted on 07/15/2003 12:29:31 PM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: mvpel
I've been pulled over about a half dozen times over the last 17 years. The last time I had a ticket that stuck was in 1986. I do a lot of driving for work (as much as 500 miles a week) and I do get burned in the occasional speed trap. But almost everytime I get pulled over, I get just a warning. I do sport an American flag on my back window and a Marine Corps bumber sticker. Maybe that has something to do with the cops giving me a break. Or maybe it's that I'm unfailingly polite to the officer and readily admit that I might have been going a "bit too fast." Cops evidently aren't used to that kind of honesty so they might be more inclined to give you a break.

The one time I did get a ticket, I fought it and showed up in court with a shirt and tie and yes-sired and no-sired everybody. During my testimony, I made sure to point out that the police officer who stopped me was very professional and polite but mentioned that perhaps in an honest mistake, he overestimated my speed.

Others showed up in sneakers and jeans and had sort of a slovenly and sloppy appearance. I got my ticket dismissed. Don't know about the others but I don't think they fared as well as they had sour expressions as they shuffled out of the hearing room.

A cheerful positive attitude is key in this whole process. Cop an attitude and you'll be stuck with an expensive ticket - no doubt about it.

46 posted on 07/15/2003 12:30:09 PM PDT by SamAdams76 (Back in boot camp! 245 (-55))
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To: newwahoo; Gerish
The first & last ticket I got was in 1973. It wasn't even a moving violation. I don't drive nuts. I don't drink and drive. I drive at or under the speed limit. I signal my turns. I don't cut people off. I stop at yellow, not red. Stuff like that.

I have gotten parking tickets, only because the parking meter guys & gals who patrol the courthouse square have superhuman powers and are standing at my car the SECOND the meter goes to 0:00. This claim is also repeated by anyone who has gotten a ticket at courthouse square.

47 posted on 07/15/2003 12:30:52 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: mvpel
Be polite. “Most of the time, the motorist has very little chance. The officer has already has made up his mind,” says Wolfberg, the former cop. “The only real chance the driver has is to be nice.” Act peeved and a trooper may give you the full fine. Some will also flag the citation with a notation, like “ND” -- a note to a prosecutor or to himself (in some states, law-enforcement officers act as prosecutors in traffic court) to give a loudmouth “no deal” in court.

BS in my experience. If you are a nice looking lady a LEO, you will get a break.

48 posted on 07/15/2003 12:31:55 PM PDT by TankerKC (I guess I missed your point.)
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To: Trust but Verify; newwahoo; Gerish
Actually I just mailed the ticket in this morning. What do those numbers mean (93,92,91)?
Oh.. And after that ticket, 15 mins later, right next to my work there is yet another checkpoint. I got pulled over but they let me go. So something was definately up with checkpoints that day. This was July 10th, I think. Anything special going on July 10th, newwahoo?
Also, this is my first ticket, and I have had my license since 18 (I am 25). Would this be a factor?
49 posted on 07/15/2003 12:34:48 PM PDT by BrooklynGOP
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To: mvpel
I'm going to fall back on one of my usual responses when it comes to LE matters in other area. NYC is a unique place and my experiences so far often don't match up with how things are in rural areas and small municipalities. I could write yellow cabs all day long without even touching the great mass of aggressive and dangerous drivers here. We don't really need to pull out one guy from a group thats moving a bit faster than the posted limit.

I have to say though that the scariest drivers I've dealt with so far are the ones that can't speak english. How they get licenses is beyond me.

50 posted on 07/15/2003 12:37:22 PM PDT by newwahoo
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