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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What can I do next?

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.

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

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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.

1 mom found this helpful

I am going through the same thing right now. I have a friend who is an ex-cop. She said you will need to make an appointment for an informal hearing. At that hearing you can't do anything but request a formal hearing as the majestrate has no authority to change the charges - he only hears your excuse.

At the formal hearing you can request that you pay the fine and go to traffic school to deduct the points off of your insurance. Traffic school you can do all online for about $30. You will need to watch a few videos and take a test.

I would be happy to tell you what I know. I am waiting now for my formal hearing. I also talked to the officer and he said this was the best way to do it. The only thing he can do is rewrite the ticket for a non-points offense along with traffic school - the points would be waived.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there,
I recently had the same experience and was so concerned about the points as well. I did do the letter that was "guilty with explanation". In the letter, I explained that I was a mother of two small chilren and understood the dangers of speeding. I told them it was a mistake and that I was sorry. (you know, the whole song and dance) Unfortunately, I was told to just pay the fine and take my points, but at least I tried. It may be a different outcome for you.

Just a note for you. My aunt is in the insurance business and unless you call them and tell them or have an accident while the points are active or change insurance companies, they will not know. You are not required to tell them and court is not required to report that information to the insurance company anymore. You have to be good now for several years. Even if they do find out, they cannot back charge for anything. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

I got a ticket last year for backing out of our driveway into a car parked on the street.. it was VERY hard to see the car and the police officer told me he gave me a ticket cause he had to and told me to appear in court. It was stressful for me to do, but I wasn't about to get points on my almost cleared record.

I think what I did was I just called and found out when the court date was going to be. I showed up and waited for probably an hour or less while everyone else tried to fight their tickets too. Then then call you up and you say what you want to do. The police officer was there and he said that yes the points and ticket should be dropped and it was.

I have to say though.. most people showing up to fight a traffic ticket just ended up paying, but I'd say it might be worth it to try for you.

Also some people brought their kids with them and just had a caregiver there with them when they went up. One lady had her toddler in a stroller and then just took the stroller up. I was glad I'd left my son at home with a babysitter cause he wouldn't have tolerated it well, but there's another thought.

1 mom found this helpful

My brother, who is a police officer, recommends asking to pay the fine but asking them to reduce the ticket to one that has no points. He says to ask for a meeting with the "city attorney" if that city has one of those--as a way to not backlog the court docket--the judges like this and the city attorney usually responds favorably.

1 mom found this helpful

Hire a lawyer to get it "fixed" (reduced to a non moving violation) It will only cost about $200 and then there will be no points on your licence and your rates won't go up. If you take the points, you could get another ticket very soon and then your rates will definitely increase. I don't know why but, it seems my tickets come in pairs. I won't get one for years, and then whamo! Sometimes it's just your turn. My advice is, cough up the bucks now and get it fixed or you might be sorry later. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


Hi. Totally fight the ticket. I don't know if you have ever done this before, but it is not like you are lying. They know you were speeding. It is really not about that. Just tell the judge you just do not want the points on your record and more than likely they will waive the points and just charge you extra for the fine. I have done this before and they are really nice about it just because you showed up. It is definitely the way to go. Good Luck.


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I read your responses and my first thought is definately NOT to hire an attorney. Set up a court date and request the informal hearing (informal meaning no attorney)..you tell the judge or magistrate that you know you were wrong but that you are really worried about the points on your record. Most judges/magistrates will consider an impeding traffic or some kind of violation that wont appear on your driving record as long as you dont have a lengthy driving record already. Good LUck.
Also after the informal hearing if you dont like the outcome you can request a formal hearing and then if you fell like it you can hire an attorney.

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It looks like you already got alot of responses, but I just wanted to say that my husband is a salesman with a lead foot and is in his car all day. He has gotten several tickets all which he has fought. When in court he always told the judge that he was willing to pay all fines, but if he were to get points he would be in danger of losing his job due to being uninsurable through his company. It worked everytime.

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I JUST went thru the same thing. My sister-in-law is an attorney and she gets her husband out of them all the time. What you need to do is ask for a hearing. Explain about your good driving record and that you want to avoid having your insurance go up because of points. Tell them that you didn't realize that you were speeding. Ask to have your charge changed to impending traffic where you will be required to pay a fine, but will receive no points. Usually all of this works. Unfortunately I was in Mt Pleasant while I was speeding and had my two children with me. The officer showed up to the hearing and told the judge that I had the kids and that he had already reduced my fine. So I didn't win. But don't let that discourage you. It's definately work a shot!

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, K., I tried this. I was doing 75 in a 70 zone on I-96 coming home from school two years ago. I still ended up with a date in front of the magistrate, and had to pay the ticket.
I believe that you won't get the points on your record if you pay. And I don't think it'll affect your ins.

I rearended a guy earlier this year, totalled my van but didn't damage his vehicle (seriously if you are looking for a tank on wheels buy a buick leSabre, it withstood a 35mph collision and only popped the trunk!) Anyway. I explained the situation (The man did not use his turn signal, his driveway is on a blind curve which means that once he went round the curve I could no longer see him, and he admitted to me that he has been rearended in that exact spot before so he should know by now that he needs to give advanced warning before braking to turn into his driveway) I had to pay the fine, and the points were removed from my record due to the extenuating circumstances.

I also got a ticket last year taking my mom to the airport. I was scared too. My husband and I had just changed insurance companies and I had never got a ticket before. Well, I decided to "fight it" also. It wasn't a big deal at all. I went where they told me and it was decreased to a "no seatbelt" ticket. I paid $150.00 and it was no points. I was very thankful. Good luck.


I just got a speeding ticket in (Detroit) and went to court to plead guilty, but ask that they not give me the points (which I have done in the past and have always paid a fine, but recieved no points), but this time the magistrate stated before she started hearing cases that if anyone was here to get the points remove that they, the city, were not allowed to do that anymore. So needless to say it was a waste of my time and I still paid the full ticket price. Now I do not know if this is everywhere or just in Detroit, so I suggest that you go to court in person what would it hurt?

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.

Pleading Guilty with explanation may get you out of paying the fine but it still gives you the points on your record. It won't help with the insurance since they look at the points on your record.

You can fight it and hope that the cop doesn't show up to court. But then, you will incur the court cost if you lose.

I believe you can go to the court date and, using your previous good driving record as your reason, ask that you not be given any points even though you are guilty. My grandson did this on his first ticket.

Quite often if youy set up a court hearing the officer won't show. They have higher priorities than spending a morning in court for a ticket they probably don't remember writing by the time the court date happens.

I am in the same situation right now. I am 30 and never had any ticket. I am guilty also. I passed someone on the right hand side of the road. My problem, the man ahead of me was not turning left as he should have been. He was just stopped in the road. Another car had even passed on the right but I got stopped. I had my two children with me and the officer was NOT nice and not cordial. I did not even try to offer a reason for what I did You can go to court and hope the officer does not show up-if he does not then you win based on default. If you do have to go before a judge you can try to bargain. All they want is the money for the ticket. Ask if you can pay the fine and take a non moving violation -this way there are no points on your record and they get the money they wanted. Good luck

K. ~
Just about everyone I know has gotten a speeding ticket lately. Granholm wants more money in the budget. Most often if you go to court, they will knock it down to "impeding traffic," which has the same fine, but no points. All they really want is the money.
good luck!

I think there is a place on the ticket where you 'check off' that you want to dipute it/appear in court. I'm not sure a letter will cut it, but maybe in your city/district?
Then you have to appear, and depending on the 'judge' that day, you will probably have a good chance of just paying the fine.

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!

First of all, I think someone said if you plead guilty with explanation that you get out of the fine but still get the points...its the other way around. I sat in court just once (it was in Westland though, not romulus) and I listened to about 12-15 people before me plead guilty w/explantion, and the judge did the same thing for every person: They had to pay the fine, but they would not report the offense to the Secretary of State (which puts "points" on your license).

Second, go in person to court. I can't imagine that a letter would be very effective.

Thirdly, the insurance co. isn't going to know (right away) unless you tell them. I believe someone already wrote that the ins. co's do a check on their clients once every 3-5 years, so I don't think your insurance would go up, at least not immediately.

Good luck!

I just read the testimonial of the police officer. I was wondering if I can still plead for guilty with an explanation in a formal hearing. My ticket was for failure to yield. Im 21 and live far away from my parents and have no money for a lawyer. Also my driving record is impeccable.

I would just go to court and try and fight the ticket, maybe you will get lucky and the cop won't show up..OR maybe just ask to pay the fine and ask to NOT have the points added?

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.

I did the same thing about a year ago. If you pay extra, they take it off of your record. I think I paid like $150 extra and they exsponged it from my record to avoid higher insurance. Good luck!

Hi K.,

I grew up in the downriver area and pass through Romulus when I visit my family. Romulus and Canton are notorious for speeding tickets dince they know that many people pass through their towns. They sit and wait for speeders. Several years ago (over 10 years) I got a speeding ticket there. I wrote a letter of explanation when I sent the payment in. It really did no good, they cashed the check and it still was on my record. I did not have time to take off from work to have a court hearing. If you have time, you may be able to fight the ticket since the officer may not show up. That is time consuming. You might want to check with your insurance carrier but I do not think that one ticket will hurt your insurance rates. I do not remember my rates increasing at all. They did not increase until I had an accident a few years later and then I changed insurance carriers because the rate was outrageous. I hope that this helps.

HI K.. If you have a great record prior to the ticket then write a letter with an explanation and ask the court to take it under advisement which means that you will still have to pay the ticket but they will hold off the points for a 6 - 12 month period and if you do not get another ticket in that time frame the points go away.

I have done this before with success. Good luck!

I did do this a very long time ago. I wrote a letter to the magistrate and first of all apologized for my error. I then explained how I was working two jobs at the time and going to school and had a lot on my mind. I said I would be be more responsible in the future.

It worked!!
Good Luck.

Yikes, both of you, ugh! You can't write a letter, you need to appear in court to fight the ticket. If you haven't had a ticket in a long time and have a clean driving record, normally they will make you pay the ticket and not give you the points, which is what makes your insurance go up. Call the number on the ticket to get a court date. In the mean time, you and your hubby need to slow down. I use to be a lead foot before I had kids, now I've slowed down big time. And we won't even go into my teen and early 20's, so don't think I'm a saint, lol, but kids sure have changed that :)

Good Luck,
J. in Macomb

my philosophy is always fight tickets if the officer doesn't show up it'll be dismissed.if he does you might not get the points only the fine.especially if you have a good driving record.

I would recommend you at least set a hearing date and appear in court. You can ask that the ticket be reduced, or at least that the points don't go on your record. Better yet, if the officer doesn't show up, the ticket goes in the trash. If he does show up, you have a good chance of getting off just paying for a lesser charge (i.e. impeding traffic, no points.) This happened to me recently. Good luck!

Years ago you could have your points held and as long as you didnt get another ticket they would not go on your record. You had to pay the fine of course. The last time I fought a ticket was probably ten years ago but the magistrate appreciated my honesty and gave me a faulty equipment ticket instead which was the same fee but no points. I think as long as your respectful and honest it doesnt hurt to try, especially if you have a good record right now.

You really can't fight a speeding ticket. You were speeding. You can try the "guilt with explanation" for sure. It's worth a shot. My brother says the new thing is to except guilt with explanation and ask for an impeding (sp????) traffic violation instead of a speeding violation in order to keep your record clean (He even put in his letter that's the reason...to keep his record clean). There is no points for impeding traffic.

If you have a clean record, all you do is go for the court date, not really pleading guilty or not, just asking for it to be "reduced" - about 99% of the time they will drop it to "impeding traffic" which is NO POINTS on your record, but is more expensive than a speeding ticket. I just did this recently, I was in and out in a flash! It was $130 I think though, but hey I'll take that over points on my license which makes insurance go up! - Good luck

I got a speeding ticket back when I was in graduate school at Wayne State and I pleaded guilty with explanation and the judge took off my points and reduced the fine considerably. In that case, I actually went to the court. However, in another case, I was involved in an accident that was my fault and I just wrote a letter pleading guilty with explanation, and they took off my points as well, and might have reduced the fine, but I can't remember. So I would definitely go for it, chances are if you have a pretty good record, they will take the points off. In the letter, you can explain the circumstances and really emphasize that you have not had a ticket in a few years, have a good record etc. Hope that helps, good luck!

In my 28 years' experience as a driver, it is always beneficial to fight a ticket. My prediction is that you will have to pay the fine, but the judge may dismiss the ticket and you will avoid points on your license which would make your insurance rates rise.

"guilty with explanation" just lets you tell your side. Guilty is still guilty though...you will still have a fine and points will still be on your license...the only way to "get out of it" is to plead not guilty, and hope that there is a loop hole that gets you out of it.

plead iempeding trafftic i think it is called, its pleading somewhere in between..
Try it and just apologize etc...

Humm.. my husband got the same ticket last week in Romulus on the way to the airport...

Your best option to reduce the points is to schedule an informal or formal hearing and go talk to the prosecutor/magistrate and hope that they will reduce your points. If you have a clean driving records there is a chance that they will. Generally when you plead with explanation your fine will be reduced, but not your points and you don't have a good explanation here.

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