48 answers

Pleading "Guilty with Explanation" on a Speeding Ticket?

I got a speeding ticket in Romulus dropping my sister off that the airport last week. I am completely guilty. I was doing 60 in a 45 and the police officer (who was a cordial and decent man) wrote me up for the whole amount. It has been a few years since I have gotten a ticket and it wouldn't be such a big deal to me except my husband also just got a speeding ticket recently. Anyway, we are freaking out about our insurance costs going up and my husband is insisting that I attempt to fight the ticket. Pleading "not guilty" is not an option to me. SO I was just wondering if anyone has had success by writing a letter to the court and pleading "guilty with explanation" for a speeding ticket? What would I put in a letter that could help me?? Basically, I just need some mercy because we can't afford the insurance hike. Any ideas?

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So What Happened?™

I called the court and there was an answering system to set up a pre-hearing. I left my ticket information and within a week I had a date for the pre-hearing. I went in early on the day I was scheduled and there was a line out the door of the court before it opened. When I got in, they has everyone sign a sheet. Then one by one they called us in to see a police officer. The officer looked at my ticket and asked me "what do you want to do?" I said, "Ummm, what are my options?" He said,"I can change your ticket to a parking nonmoving violation which is $50 more than what you will pay already, but it doesn't show up on your record, or we can make arrangements for you to see a judge and hear your story." I took the parking ticket and I didn't even have to say anything guilty or not. It was a little too easy, I think they must just give tickets in Romulus by the airport and make a pretty good revenue off the people who are willing to pay $50 more to not have it on their record.

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I was told, and I don't know if this works, to set a date to fight the ticket, then cancel out at the last minute, do this a couple of times then show up. Most of the time the police are no shows after that. I guess if they don't show up you get out of the ticket. I have never tried it.

Hi K.,
What I and my husband have done in the past is get a FORMAL HEARING. On the back of the ticket I think there is an option to do this. I have done the Formal Hearing and then once I am there admit guilt and agree to pay the fine, BUT have the points taken off. This has worked for me and my husband every time. The last time for me was 4 years ago. (I just jinxed myself!) Feel free to E-mail me with any questions!

I'm sorry, but I cannot believe all the people that fight tickets when they are guilty. As a school bus driver for 21 yrs. and a motorcycle rider I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who don't pay attention to the way they drive. I know this sounds really mean but how many times have you sped and NOT gotten stopped. So you have probably been lucky so far and should just pay the ticket, and slow down from now on.

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At first I was going to send you a private note but after reading other responses to you I thought I would make it public. I am a police officer and have been for 10 years now. First, in regards to your request-if you truly have a great driving record, set up an informal hearing and when you get there plead "guilty with explanation". The magistrate will most likely ask you what happened and then will ask the officer what kind of driving record you have. Almost always the officer will make a motion to amend the ticket to impeding traffic if you have a great record. The cost will be anywhere between 100 - 140 but you won't get points and in fact the ticket won't even get reported to secretary of state. You do run the risk of getting the whole enchilada on your record but not usually. I'm not entirely familiar with Romulus but this is how most courts work. It's just considered a reward for those who have good records; it's not because the court is only interested in your money; which leads me to my next point for anyone reading these.

Second, in regards to the "Granholm needs more money" comment. I get this comment all the time and it grinds me. We don't enjoy writing tickets; we don't enjoy having people argue with us that it wasn't them; we don't enjoy putting our lives at risk every time we pull a car over; yet it is part of our job description and a part of our job we can't just ignore it. It's tough writing a ticket in an economy like this knowing that more than likely the person will now have to choose between food, rent or paying the ticket. But like I said, it is part of our job - can you imagine how crazy people would drive if there was no fear of getting an expensive ticket and having their car insurance raised???

Good luck with your ticket!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi K.. I am a former personal auto insurance underwriter. You need to get the ticket dropped. I would go to court (do what you need to do, change the court date, etc.) and apologize. Tell the judge you are sorry and try your best to get the ticket dropped. Waiving the points on your license won't cut it. The insurance company doesn't care about the points on your license. In Michigan, insurance companies have their own point systems. If the ticket is on your MVR and they find it, you will be charged. Also, they won't charge you if they don't find it. Insurance companies do not run new MVRs every time your policy renews. They only do it every three to five years. It costs about $9 every time they run an MVR. It is just WAY to expensive for them to check up on every policyholder every time. My friend had a huge speeding ticket (15-20 miles over the speed limit). The insurance company never found it. They had run her MVR the term before and by the time they ran it again four years later, the ticket was over three years old! It happens all the time! Best of luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,
I did a letter last spring after I ran a stop sign that I did not realize I ran. I admitted I should not have done it, that I was distracted in my thoughts and I regretted it. I stated it was a wake up call to me to pay more attention to the road. The judge dropped the points, but raised the penalty to $160 from $100. (Still better than an insurance hike!) Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Matt says the first thing to do is call and change your court date. That way the police officer won't be there.

1 mom found this helpful

No I dont think that would work, if you wnat to fight the ticket you have to appear in court and if the judge still finds you guilty, and with your explanation he will, you will then have to pay court costs as well as the original ticket. He has the option to reduce it but you still get court costs and that is just a maybe anyway. I would just pay the ticket and take your chances, I work at an insurance agency and I can tell you that they dont check ur record every year.

1 mom found this helpful

There are points, and there are insurance points. You do not want the insurance points, and most people don't even know they exist.

Everything I know about Traffic Law comes from my friend Steve Moss http://www.attorneymoss.com/traffic_ticket.html
He made sure my nephew didn't have points. I believe his price is very reasonable when you consider what those violations could cost over the years. It's worth hiring a lawyer.

You do not want to do this alone.

1 mom found this helpful

I once did "guilty with explanation" by letter for running a red light (it was yellow when I entered the intersection but turned red half way through), and in the letter I expressed willingness to pay the fine but asked for leniency with the points. I had a REALLY good explanation (it was dark, raining, there were construction barrels, it was a confusing 5 or 6 way intersection, and I had just moved to the state, so I was trying to figure out if I was in the correct lane and by the time I noticed the yellow light, didn't feel I could safely stop in time) but I was still denied. Around the same time a coworker disputed a ticket in person and got off, even though she had a really pathetic reason. (She made a right on red when a sign said no turn on red. She claimed she wasn't familiar with the area - hardly true, she lived 1 or 2 towns away - and she said she was "used to" the signs that listed specific hours when you couldn't turn on red and thought it was one of those.

My husband went in person for a speeding ticket that the officer had already written for less than it was. He expressed willingness to pay the fine but concern over the points, so they offered to change it to a parking ticket. The court / city still got their money, and his driving record remained clean.

Based on these experiences, I would highly recommend going in person rather than doing it by mail. I think you'll have better luck in person, even though it's kind of intimidating to some people (like me) to go to court, especially when you know you're guilty.

1 mom found this helpful

I have to agree with Deb K. I've had to do the same thing (ask for my day in court and request that my ticket be taken "under advisement" for 6 months) a few times in the past in different cities and it has always worked since I normally do have a clean record and would like to keep it that way. Most municipalities just want their fine paid and don't care about your insurance rates. If you keep your record clean for another 6 months after your court date, the city has gotten their fine, your insurance rates do not go through the roof, and everyone is happy. Please do not rely on the officer not showing up. It is in their best interest to show up in court and most actually do since rumor has it that court appearances are usually on overtime.

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