On June 4th, I posted about a speeding ticket that I had gotten. I was looking for advice because I decided to go to court and “fight” the ticket. I was pretty nervous about it. I had never done it before. Friends and my sister-in-law recommended that I fight it, while my Dad thought for sure I would have to pay the ticket which after the $25 court fee would be a grand total of $195!
I arrived at court about 20 minutes early. As soon as I walked in the door, I had to have my handbag, paperwork and bracelet go through the metal detector, and then I had to walk through the large metal detector. The court officer asked if I had a traffic violation and I said yes. She told me to go sit down, that I would be going into the courtroom behind her.
As I sat and waited, I noticed some of the other folks that had to go to court that day. Some we wearing shorts, sneakers. One guy had a nice shirt on and khakis, but he was wearing flip-flops – not a good look for court in my opinion. I was wearing black pants, a tank and a light sweater with flats – not overly dressy, but conservative enough.
Then who walks in but my old real estate agent. I haven’t spoken to her since she failed to seal the deal on our house sale (AFTER WE HAD ALREADY MOVED OUT!) In the end, she was responsible for us losing a lot of money, having to move everything back in and shattering our dream of moving into a new home. (She should have done more to ensure the buyer was legit.) Needless to say, I didn’t get up and run over to her for a big hug. How ironic that we were both in court together! I just sat there and played on my phone for a bit glancing around and sneaking a look in her direction. She was talking to some guy that she knew. We sat pretty far away from each other anyway. Turns out she had a traffic violation too – most likely a speeding ticket.
We all had 11 o’clock court hearings. At a little past 11, about 15 of us were called into the courtroom. The judge, who was a woman, had us all raise our right hand and swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. There was a police officer sitting to her left. He would be representing all the officers that gave out those speeding tickets, mine included. (I was very glad that the officer who wrote my ticket was not there. I just figured if he wasn’t there, I would have a better chance of beating the ticket.) Then, we were all shuttled back outside to sit and wait again. Thank God! I didn’t want the whole lot to hear my “testimony” least of all my ex real estate agent.
At about 11:20, it was my turn. I walked in and the judge said that the officer would begin by stating the details of the violation and that I would have the opportunity to respond.
He restated the incident including the date, time and location. He said it occurred on 4/20 at 1:00 pm on Elm Street.
I thought to myself…….Wait a minute….it wasn’t Elm Street, it was Pearl Street!
“This happened on Pearl Street,” I said. The Judge asked the officer and he agreed. Yes, it was indeed Pearl St. I figured I was off to a fantastic start. The “prosecutor” doesn’t even have the right location! Next, I proceeded to make these points to the judge. (I had also gone back to the scene and took photos and even a video!)
- I was driving on Pearl St. toward Gardner Center. I was behind a pick-up truck. I had just passed the entrance to Dunn State Park when I saw the police car behind me with his lights flashing, I immediately pulled over. My first thought was that he was pulling over the truck that was in front of me. Then I realized it was me that was being stopped.
- First, I want to point out my approximate location. (I show the below picture that I took.) If I was exceeding the speed limit, I was driving safely given the traffic, weather (clear), and road conditions at the time. Road was straight with good visibility.
- Wanted to also point out that the cross-walk is obstructed by the newer pavement. (I point out that in the above picture the cross-walk has been paved over.) My point here was that if the cross walk was painted across the entire road, nice and bright, it would have been a red flag for me to slow down. (I still can’t get over that the speed limit on this stretch of road is only 30 mph! I’ve been on similar roads where it is 45 mph.)
- Right in front of Dunn State Park, the writing in the road is illegible. (Here, I am assuming that it should read “30 MPH”. Along that stretch there are no other posted speed limit signs. (I show the below picture of the illegible writing in the road. Regarding the photos, I show them from where I am standing – neither the judge or the officer could see them clearly from that distance, nor did they ask to see them close-up.)
- Even closer to the high school, the 30 mph speed limit painted in the road is very faded. (I show a picture of the barely legible writing on the road.)
- Was the radar unit on automatic? Isn’t it possible that the larger truck in front of me was clocked? The officer that actually pulled me over was not here to answer this question. (A little Internet research helped me to make that point.)
- I took some video with my camera and I’ve noticed that people exceed the speed limit by about 10 mph here. Drivers would slow down if the road was clearly marked with the speed limit, a sign was posted in this location and the cross-walk was repainted to stretch across the entire road. (I didn’t have the video with me, otherwise, heck, I would have shown them that too.)
- Finally, I have had a clean driving record for over twenty years and would request that be taken into consideration.
The judge looked at the officer and asked if he had anything to add. “No”.
“Well, Mrs. Maloney, I have to give you the benefit of the doubt and dismiss your case.”
“Do I need to do anything further?” I asked.
“No, you are all set.” She takes the document with the fine on it and marks it with a big zero.
“Thank you,” I said.
With that, I walked out of there very relieved. I saved myself $145 (I did have to pay a $25 court fee.) Oh, and my insurance won’t go up! Thank goodness.
Not that I am an expert on how to fight a speeding ticket, but perhaps writing about this experience will help someone else to fight a speeding ticket. If it’s your first time, at least you will have an idea of what to expect.
I wonder how my ex real estate agent made out and the rest of the bunch? I can tell you this, I highly doubt they were as prepared as I was. I think I was too prepared! lol
Rest assured fellow drivers. Even though I beat my ticket, I have learned my lesson. I consider myself to be a safe driver. I am MUCH more aware of the speed limit these days. It’s just NOT worth getting a speeding ticket!
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