Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

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AJ1
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Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by AJ1 » Mon May 29, 2017 9:43 pm

Hi,

Yesterday, I got 2 seat belt tickets in upstate NY. I was driving with 2 children at the backseat. They are my cousin's kids visiting us for couple of days from India. I didn't know about the seat belt rules for children, since we don't have any kids.
Cop said that due to ongoing seat belt campaign, he can stop us without any other fault, http://www.syracuse.com/crime/index.ssf ... kdown.html

After reading online, it seems there is $0-200 fine and 3 points penalty per ticket. So I am looking at 6 points in my record which can increase my insurance premium.

I wanted to ask, what are my options here. Is there a way to avoid points penalty? Should I plea guilty or not. Should I hire some attorney? I don't have any other prior tickets.

Thanks,
Last edited by AJ1 on Mon May 29, 2017 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Mon May 29, 2017 9:45 pm

My wife recently got a speeding ticket in NY (our state of residence) and was offered the chance to take an online "safety" course. The cost was the same as the ticket but it wiped the offense (and the points) from her record.

You might want to check with the court in the county in which you got the ticket to see if you are eligible.
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by JonnyDVM » Mon May 29, 2017 9:51 pm

Go to court plead not guilty. Speak with prosecutor, advise you will agree to plead no contest to a non moving violation- pay the fine and get no points. If you haven't had any other issues they'll make the deal. They're happy (no trial) and you're happy (sort of, no points at least). Not 100% sure that would work with a seatbelt ticket but it has worked for me for a moving violation. An attorney can make this process easier for you and can get you to the front of the line in traffic court.

Oh. And make sure the kids have a seatbelt on next time.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by CyclingDuo » Tue May 30, 2017 8:50 am

AJ1 wrote:Hi,

Yesterday, I got 2 seat belt tickets in upstate NY. I was driving with 2 children at the backseat. They are my cousin's kids visiting us for couple of days from India. I didn't know about the seat belt rules for children, since we don't have any kids.
Cop said that due to ongoing seat belt campaign, he can stop us without any other fault, http://www.syracuse.com/crime/index.ssf ... kdown.html

After reading online, it seems there is $0-200 fine and 3 points penalty per ticket. So I am looking at 6 points in my record which can increase my insurance premium.

I wanted to ask, what are my options here. Is there a way to avoid points penalty? Should I plea guilty or not. Should I hire some attorney? I don't have any other prior tickets.

Thanks,
Pay up and take the points penalty hit.

Come on - this is 2017 - absolutely no reason any judge will be lenient on "I didn't know there was a seatbelt law for kids". Are you serious you didn't know the law?!!! I mean it's in every study guide for taking your DL exam. And is usually on tests as well.

:oops:

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue May 30, 2017 8:57 am

In my state you would call the Traffic Law Center, who would direct you to their web site. You enter the ticket number and your credit card number, they contact the court and get the citation changed to a non-moving violation, your credit card is charged a high fee that goes partly to the court and partly to the law firm, and that's it. Not sure what is possible in your state.

edited to add: AND YOU AND THE KIDS SHOULD WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS!!! IT'S 2017 FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!
!!!

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dm200
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 30, 2017 9:10 am

AJ1 wrote:Hi,
Yesterday, I got 2 seat belt tickets in upstate NY. I was driving with 2 children at the backseat. They are my cousin's kids visiting us for couple of days from India. I didn't know about the seat belt rules for children, since we don't have any kids.
Cop said that due to ongoing seat belt campaign, he can stop us without any other fault, http://www.syracuse.com/crime/index.ssf ... kdown.html
After reading online, it seems there is $0-200 fine and 3 points penalty per ticket. So I am looking at 6 points in my record which can increase my insurance premium.
I wanted to ask, what are my options here. Is there a way to avoid points penalty? Should I plea guilty or not. Should I hire some attorney? I don't have any other prior tickets.
Thanks,
I find it very difficult to believe the excuse that you did not know. Many states and US jurisdictions require seat belts for all occupants in the vehicle. I don't know, but you could end up worse off by claiming "we did not know the law". I would just pay the fine and move on.

rob65
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by rob65 » Tue May 30, 2017 9:20 am

Were they not wearing seatbelts at all or were they not in car seats or booster seats? I can understand not knowing that an 8 year old must be in a booster seat, but its hard to see not knowing that seatbelts are required?
Last edited by rob65 on Tue May 30, 2017 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

Goal33
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by Goal33 » Tue May 30, 2017 9:21 am

How did you not know the second time?
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rob65
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by rob65 » Tue May 30, 2017 9:22 am

Goal33 wrote:How did you not know the second time?
I think it was one stop. There would be a ticket for each child.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by dodecahedron » Tue May 30, 2017 9:51 am

CyclingDuo wrote:
Pay up and take the points penalty hit.

Come on - this is 2017 - absolutely no reason any judge will be lenient on "I didn't know there was a seatbelt law for kids". Are you serious you didn't know the law?!!! I mean it's in every study guide for taking your DL exam. And is usually on tests as well.

:oops:
To be honest, I have lived in Upstate NY for almost three decades but didn't know the specifics of the law. (I took my written test four decades ago in CA and haven't taken another one since. I have, however, taken multiple safe-driving courses for the 10% insurance discount and they always stress the importance of everyone wearing seatbelts.) If you had asked me before this post, I would have thought that everyone in the car was required to wear seatbelts regardless of age or where they were seated. I would not dream of driving until everyone seated in my car was wearing a belt (or, of course, securely fastened in an age-appropriate carseat). Law or no law, it is very poor judgment on your part to allow children to ride anywhere in your car unsecured.

My recommendation: accept the consequences and be grateful that you can take safedriver training, which can reduce four of your six points and give you a 10% discount rate on your insurance.

Be even more grateful that you only got a ticket and points, rather than devastating lifelong guilt and grief for what could have happened to your cousin's kids had there been a collision with their injuries likely far more serious as a result of your egregiously irresponsible negligent behavior.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by Carson » Tue May 30, 2017 10:06 am

rob65 wrote:Were they not wearing seatbelts at all or were they not in car seats or booster seats? I can understand not knowing that an 8 year old must be in a booster seat, but its hard to see not knowing that seatbelts are required?
I assume this is the case as well, and hopefully the OP can come back to clarify. It is a good reminder though for drivers to ensure that kids are properly and legally secured, even if they are not yours.
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prudent
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by prudent » Tue May 30, 2017 10:15 am

Let's focus replies on the OP's question regarding options to resolve the tickets.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by BW1985 » Tue May 30, 2017 10:37 am

CyclingDuo wrote:
Pay up and take the points penalty hit.

Come on - this is 2017 - absolutely no reason any judge will be lenient on "I didn't know there was a seatbelt law for kids". Are you serious you didn't know the law?!!! I mean it's in every study guide for taking your DL exam. And is usually on tests as well.

:oops:
Reread the OP's question, it was is there a way to avoid points.

The answer is yes its possible. JonnyDVM laid out what to do.
JonnyDVM wrote:Go to court plead not guilty. Speak with prosecutor, advise you will agree to plead no contest to a non moving violation- pay the fine and get no points. If you haven't had any other issues they'll make the deal. They're happy (no trial) and you're happy (sort of, no points at least). Not 100% sure that would work with a seatbelt ticket but it has worked for me for a moving violation. An attorney can make this process easier for you and can get you to the front of the line in traffic court.
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by MathWizard » Tue May 30, 2017 10:44 am

Assuming that the two tickets were in the same stop, you could ask a lawyer if
you can at least get this reduced to one offense.

(If you had stole two dollar bills, that is one count of theft, not two.)

If this is two separate instances, I doubt you'll have any sympathy from a judge.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by carolinaman » Tue May 30, 2017 10:48 am

Talk with an attorney that specializes in traffic violations. It will cost you but they can likely get charges reduced to something less impactful on your insurance and license. I hired one for my son and I was amazed at what he did. He was able to get old tickets removed from his record. He dealt with courthouses in 2 counties and state DMV. My son even got a refund for one fine he had paid a couple of years earlier. These guys know the people in DMV and courthouses and know how to work the system for your advantage.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue May 30, 2017 12:11 pm

Accept responsibility and pay.

An inexpensive life lesson imo.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by invst65 » Tue May 30, 2017 12:56 pm

If you call one of the attorneys who specializes in beating traffic tickets you might be able to get some free advice about whether to fight it or not. A similar thing happened to me in Florida when my recent immigrant wife passed a stopped school bus on a divided 3 lane highway. To avoid points on her driving record I called one of the traffic ticket attorneys who advertised in the phone book to see if there was anything that could be done and he advised me without even taking the case that you do NOT want to fight a ticket like this. He said if you end up before a judge he/she is not going to be very sympathetic. So we took his advice.

Fortunately, I found out she was eligible to take an online safety course to avoid the points. In Florida they let you do that one time in every so many years.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 30, 2017 1:12 pm

(If you had stole two dollar bills, that is one count of theft, not two.)
BUT - if you murdered two people, I believe that would be two counts of murder.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by rkhusky » Wed May 31, 2017 7:29 am

See if there is the option on the ticket to plead guilty with explanation. You may be able to just send in a letter of explanation. Given your past driving record, the judge may require you to pay the fine, but say that if you don't get another ticket within six months, the ticket won't go on your record.

Incidentally, in my state the seat belt law does not apply to cars manufactured before 1965. If all seat belts are being used, the driver is in compliance. Passengers 16 and older do not need to wear a seat belt in the back seat.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by cpants » Wed May 31, 2017 10:09 am

rkhusky wrote:See if there is the option on the ticket to plead guilty with explanation. You may be able to just send in a letter of explanation. Given your past driving record, the judge may require you to pay the fine, but say that if you don't get another ticket within six months, the ticket won't go on your record.

Incidentally, in my state the seat belt law does not apply to cars manufactured before 1965. If all seat belts are being used, the driver is in compliance. Passengers 16 and older do not need to wear a seat belt in the back seat.
Pleading guilty with explanation is the same as pleading guilty. No one cares about the explanation letter (doubt they even read them) and you will receive the same penalties, points, etc. as if you plead guilty without explanation. Why waste your time?

I understand the people who say you should just pay up and learn your lesson. I mean, seriously man, you don't need to know the exact statutes to know the kids should have belts on. That said, it is probably financially worth your while to fight this. 6 points on your license will likely cost you thousands in increased insurance premiums. I'm pretty sure NY also adds on a hefty yearly surcharge for 3 years (you'll get a surprise bill in January) if you get 6 points in a certain time period. I'm not sure this falls into the category of "an inexpensive life lesson".

My recommendation is to consult with one of those traffic lawyers, as others have recommended. They can probably take care of it for you at minimal expense. At a minimum, plead not guilty and show up to court. Often, that step alone is enough to save you a lot of money. They would much rather have you plead guilty to a lesser charge -- maximum state revenue with minimal expense and effort -- than have you fight the thing.

Please never do this again.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed May 31, 2017 11:07 am

Doom&Gloom wrote:Accept responsibility and pay.

An inexpensive life lesson imo.
Hardly. Your insurance rates can increase dramatically, including possibly cancellation. See some of the threads on people unable to get umbrella insurance due to tickets.

You have a right to pursue all avenues of the justice system. I would fight.
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by deanbrew » Wed May 31, 2017 11:33 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:Accept responsibility and pay.

An inexpensive life lesson imo.
Hardly. Your insurance rates can increase dramatically, including possibly cancellation. See some of the threads on people unable to get umbrella insurance due to tickets.

You have a right to pursue all avenues of the justice system. I would fight.
Exactly what I think, too. We are always entitled to fight tickets and other charges. Even moreso since I think the cop was being petty and unreasonable by issuing two tickets at the same time. And I don't especially understand why everyone thinks the OP should have known that children in the back seat are legally required to buckle up, since he said he doesn't have children. States change these laws all the time. When there are too many laws to know, there are too many laws.
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed May 31, 2017 11:46 am

deanbrew wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:Accept responsibility and pay.

An inexpensive life lesson imo.
Hardly. Your insurance rates can increase dramatically, including possibly cancellation. See some of the threads on people unable to get umbrella insurance due to tickets.

You have a right to pursue all avenues of the justice system. I would fight.
Exactly what I think, too. We are always entitled to fight tickets and other charges. Even moreso since I think the cop was being petty and unreasonable by issuing two tickets at the same time. And I don't especially understand why everyone thinks the OP should have known that children in the back seat are legally required to buckle up, since he said he doesn't have children. States change these laws all the time. When there are too many laws to know, there are too many laws.
If someone had driven my children around without buckling them up, I would have been furious. We did it ourselves; we certainly expected others to do so. This is not a recent issue at all. The practice has been widely recommended for years. In my state the laws have been well-publicized, but I can't speak to OP's state.

This will be my last response itt as it is wandering off the financial path. But to keep it on track, I would also fight other types of tickets. But not this one.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by Gort » Wed May 31, 2017 11:47 am

deanbrew wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:Accept responsibility and pay.

An inexpensive life lesson imo.
Hardly. Your insurance rates can increase dramatically, including possibly cancellation. See some of the threads on people unable to get umbrella insurance due to tickets.

You have a right to pursue all avenues of the justice system. I would fight.
Exactly what I think, too. We are always entitled to fight tickets and other charges. Even moreso since I think the cop was being petty and unreasonable by issuing two tickets at the same time. And I don't especially understand why everyone thinks the OP should have known that children in the back seat are legally required to buckle up, since he said he doesn't have children. States change these laws all the time. When there are too many laws to know, there are too many laws.
Ignorance of the law is never an excuse. The OP should contact a lawyer and see if the two tickets could be reduced to one.
Last edited by Gort on Wed May 31, 2017 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by rkhusky » Wed May 31, 2017 12:46 pm

cpants wrote: Pleading guilty with explanation is the same as pleading guilty. No one cares about the explanation letter (doubt they even read them) and you will receive the same penalties, points, etc. as if you plead guilty without explanation. Why waste your time?
Really? I've done it twice with no points on my record.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by AJ1 » Wed May 31, 2017 1:25 pm

Thanks your all for your replies and suggestions. I got both tickets at the same time, one for each child. Since I had clean record for last 5+ years, I was also surprised that cop gave me 2 tickets without any warning or instead of just 1 ticket. I was in AZ before for 3 years and the laws for seat belt there were very different.

I understand that ignorance of law is no excuse and safety of children was at risk, I've learnt my lesson. I just wanted to understand my options here to avoid penalty/points. The fine seems to be $700 total ($200 for each ticket and $300 extra surcharge for 6 points). Insurance premiums are extra.

I've asked a local attorney and he is asking for $550 fee with money back guarantee. He said he can reduce it to 2 or 0 points, with no surcharge fee. Is it worth it or should I try on my own?

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by obafgkm » Wed May 31, 2017 1:35 pm

AJ1 wrote: I was in AZ before for 3 years and the laws for seat belt there were very different.
Not any more.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by deanbrew » Wed May 31, 2017 1:38 pm

AJ1 wrote:Thanks your all for your replies and suggestions. I got both tickets at the same time, one for each child. Since I had clean record for last 5+ years, I was also surprised that cop gave me 2 tickets without any warning or instead of just 1 ticket. I was in AZ before for 3 years and the laws for seat belt there were very different.

I understand that ignorance of law is no excuse and safety of children was at risk, I've learnt my lesson. I just wanted to understand my options here to avoid penalty/points. The fine seems to be $700 total ($200 for each ticket and $300 extra surcharge for 6 points). Insurance premiums are extra.

I've asked a local attorney and he is asking for $550 fee with money back guarantee. He said he can reduce it to 2 or 0 points, with no surcharge fee. Is it worth it or should I try on my own?
Giving you two tickets was a petty, dickish move, IMO. I think any reasonable person (judge) would agree, which should work in your favor.

How far away do you live, and how inconvenient would it be to appear in court? I have to believe that the prosecutor would, at minimum, reduce the two charges to one. As for anything else, part of it comes down to familiarity with the system and ability to negotiate. That's where a local lawyer would have a big advantage. I fought a speeding ticket on my own once, when there wasn't as much at stake.
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by Gort » Wed May 31, 2017 1:38 pm

AJ1 wrote:Thanks your all for your replies and suggestions. I got both tickets at the same time, one for each child. Since I had clean record for last 5+ years, I was also surprised that cop gave me 2 tickets without any warning or instead of just 1 ticket. I was in AZ before for 3 years and the laws for seat belt there were very different.

I understand that ignorance of law is no excuse and safety of children was at risk, I've learnt my lesson. I just wanted to understand my options here to avoid penalty/points. The fine seems to be $700 total ($200 for each ticket and $300 extra surcharge for 6 points). Insurance premiums are extra.

I've asked a local attorney and he is asking for $550 fee with money back guarantee. He said he can reduce it to 2 or 0 points, with no surcharge fee. Is it worth it or should I try on my own?
Hi AJ1. The local attorney offer sounds pretty good. It would be nice to reduce the points and fees as much as possible, if you can. You would probably recoup the $550 fee over time by not having your insurance go up as much. Good luck and buckle up :). Let us know how it turns out for you.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed May 31, 2017 1:58 pm

$550 is mouse nuts. Pay the lawyer. Absolutely.
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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by cpants » Wed May 31, 2017 2:00 pm

550 with money back guarantee is a no brainer. If he wins you will easily make up his fee with the difference in insurance premiums and fees. If he loses, you're no worse off than you are now.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by littlebird » Wed May 31, 2017 2:01 pm

JonnyDVM wrote:Go to court plead not guilty. Speak with prosecutor, advise you will agree to plead no contest to a non moving violation- pay the fine and get no points.
Few states recognize the plea of "no contest" (I'll spare you the Latin). N.Y. - unless there's been a very recent change - is among those that do not. Your state may be different.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by TerryDMillerMBA » Wed May 31, 2017 2:20 pm

I had my eyes opened to traffic court when I threatened to take a matter to trial. I was offered $0 fine (yes), and no points. I was to simply plead no contest, and be subsequently found guilty, and I paid court costs.

While this is an open and shut case, you can trade your right to using the full process in exchange for a more palatable result for you.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by an_asker » Wed May 31, 2017 2:22 pm

cpants wrote:550 with money back guarantee is a no brainer. If he wins you will easily make up his fee with the difference in insurance premiums and fees. If he loses, you're no worse off than you are now.
I thought that if you lose, they add court fees etc. - don't they?

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by TerryDMillerMBA » Wed May 31, 2017 2:23 pm

AJ1 wrote:...
I've asked a local attorney and he is asking for $550 fee with money back guarantee. He said he can reduce it to 2 or 0 points, with no surcharge fee. Is it worth it or should I try on my own?
I semi-grunched on my first reply. My no-nonsense steadfastness was worth $500 (my lawyer's minimum). Yours should be worth at least $550.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by cpants » Wed May 31, 2017 2:58 pm

TerryDMillerMBA wrote:I had my eyes opened to traffic court when I threatened to take a matter to trial. I was offered $0 fine (yes), and no points. I was to simply plead no contest, and be subsequently found guilty, and I paid court costs.

While this is an open and shut case, you can trade your right to using the full process in exchange for a more palatable result for you.
Exactly. It clogs up their system. They have to pay a cop to show up. Everyone ends up going home late. They want all of these tickets to go away without a trial.

That said, if you go in their and are disrespectful or rude in any way, they can and will throw the book at you.

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Re: Multiple seat belt tickets- options?

Post by LadyGeek » Wed May 31, 2017 3:50 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (legal advice). See: Acceptable Topics and Subforum Guidelines
This is an investing and personal finance forum. We also maintain a subforum that allow our members to discuss consumer goods and services and recreational activities. Anything else is considered "Off Topic" and is not acceptable on this forum.
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