Email The Judge To Contest Your Speeding Ticket

from the sounds-smart dept

Someone I know was on vacation in South Carolina earlier this year and got a speeding ticket. According to the local law, she was then required to show up in court – even though she lived 3,000 miles away in California. She got around this by hiring (for about the price of the ticket itself) a lawyer who could represent her, instead. Clearly, such laws are designed to the benefit of local lawyers (and the local police coffers), but one judge in the Northwest is being a lot more reasonable about things. He’s letting motorists charged with moving violations email him to explain the circumstances and plead their cases electronically. Once he understands the details, he’s often willing to drop or lessen the charges. This, of course, is how things like traffic violations should be handled. There’s no reason to make people show up in court, except under some specific circumstances. This policy frees up court time and makes for a much fairer system. Of course, unfortunately, those are two reasons why it’s unlikely to catch on in many places.

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Comments on “Email The Judge To Contest Your Speeding Ticket”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It'll never happen in California

Here in California, speeding tickets are known as “wallet rape”, basically because there are so many things setup to prevent you from contesting them, it’s obvious that it’s just to make money:

you have to go to court twice (2 days pay)

if it’s you word against the cop, the cop *always* wins

you’re guilty until proven innocent

there’s no concept of “reasonable doubt”

you cannot contest to a higher court

you have to go to court where you were caught, not your local one

if you appeal in writing the cop gets 6 weeks to file a report

if you lose, you have to go to a court-appointed traffic school not a local/cheap one (if you get the option of traffic school)

a certain [sounds like a lizard] insurance company actually sponsers speed cameras/radar

Adam says:


I don’t know why you need to send E-mail. Several years ago I got a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt, and my court date coincided with a midterm. On my lawyer’s (and father’s) advice, I just wrote a nice letter to the judge and sent a check for the fine. He cut the the fine in half and they sent me a refund.

I’m not sure how well this would work for actually contesting a ticket, but email is just another form of communication.

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