Monday, May 30, 2011

The President gets a traffic ticket

President Obama got a ticket. The mayor of London reportedly cited him for the congestion his motorcade caused last week.

Mr. President, I don't usually say this but just pay it. Do you have the time for traffic school?

But, hey, if you want to fight it, I know a good book! How to Beat a Traffic Ticket: The Six Steps Guide. Available for just 99 cents from Kindle or Nook or instant PDF download

Image courtesy of Matt Banks

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cops admit quota

Each Gary, Indiana police officer is required to write 10 traffic tickets per shift.

Oddly, the police department's web site is down. Guess they're not taking any questions on this one.

The department has 296 officers. Supposing that 1/2 of them are out there writing traffic tickets on any given day, that's 1,480 tickets a day. Do that year round and it's 540,200 tickets. The problem is, Gary only has 80,294 people.

So either every woman, man and child in Gary gets almost 7 traffic tickets a year or tourists watch out!

At least one prosecutor believes this is going to make it tough to get jurors to believe cops on criminal trials. You think??

Lila, in this Sunday comic is looking for a traffic ticket.

People start lining up at 5 am to get into the Alameda, California courthouse.

Image courtesy of Simon Howden

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Seat belt tickets unconstitutional???

A Toronto police officer wrote a traffic ticket for having a blue-tinted protective cover over the license plate. He claimed this obscured the number. Oddly the numbers were clear enough for the cop to write them on the traffic citation.

Citing a motorist for not wearing a seat belt is unconstitutional in Costa Rica. This is because the court found the required fine (US $604) disproportionate to the offense.

Beating a traffic ticket for seat belt or anything else---How to Beat a Traffic Ticket: The Six Steps Guide. Available for just 99 cents from Kindle or Nook. Or instant PDF download Buy Now

Image courtesy of TCJ2020

Friday, May 27, 2011

Traffic blitz and will my state find out?

Who needs a quota when you have the blitz? Edmonton, Canada cops periodically go on a 24 hours ticket writing binge. On May 19, they wrote 2,723 speeding citations, beating their previous personal best by 85%.

No word on how this is impacting the donut shop business.

A Texas police officer was indicted for allegedly entering the wrong time on tickets. This reportedly created "documentation" for overtime that was paid but never actually worked.

Will your state know about a ticket you got when traveling elsewhere? 44 states belong to the Non-Resident Violator Compact and, yes, they'll tell.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mistake on an electronic ticket ..

I saw a driver cut across the path of a sirens-blazing ambulance--and he waved at the emergency vehicle.

Waiting for a ride yesterday, I saw drivers still texting as they sailed past (illegal in my state). I also saw 3 cop cars during the same period. Easy pickin's.

Read before you sign. Or not. With one electronic ticket system, the officer has to input your driver's license number. If she types one number wrong, the ticket comes out for someone else. One attorney had this issue and the judge dismissed his ticket.

--brought to you by How to Beat a Traffic Ticket: The Six Steps Guide. Available for just 99 cents from Kindle or Nook. Or instant PDF download Buy Now

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti

Monday, May 23, 2011

Leave the drugs at home when going to court

Bit of advice: if you go to pay a ticket but you've got a suspended license, don't drive to court. Plus clean out your pocket and car.

One guy in Texas allegedly did all this. A cop in the station next to the courthouse saw him drive up. Knowing the guy had a suspended license, the officer arrested him.

In the course of patting him down, the cop reportedly found cocaine and a syringe. When the police looked in the car, they found a scale, possible drug pipe and material commonly used for drug sales.

Some mornings you should just stay in bed.


Washington State is thinking of offering payment plans on the back of its tickets.


A lawyer in South Florida is reportedly beating red light camera tickets. One of his techniques is what I keep recommending--knowing the law and making sure every part of it is met.

Image courtesy of nixxphotography

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Name, rank, and serial number if you get stopped

One newly elected council member gets pulled over and promises the cop he will disband the police department. That went over big. He got a ticket. Plus the officer put the conversation in his notes, which made it into the newspaper.

Unless something odd happens, you can't win on the road. It's name, rank and serial time. Be polite, admit nothing. Doing anything more will hamper your attempt to beat a traffic ticket.

Sometimes though .... I had a friend who was a highway patrol sergeant. He was riding along when an officer pulled a car over. Walking up my friend noticed a dog in the backseat. He fed the driver a line from a Pink Panther movie.

The driver came back with the right response. No ticket.


Some guy writes you should never ask for a continuance when trying to beat a traffic ticket, read the law, or ask to see what the other side has (audio or video, for example). Apparently you're supposed to show up in court and wait for inspiration. Not a recommended technique!


The Delaware driver was texting while driving, had a suspended license and no insurance. The passenger reportedly had 21.8 grams of marijuana. The cop pulled the car over for the texting and discovered the rest.

Just a thought but maybe with that kind of baggage, a hands-free call would have been better.

A passenger on another traffic stop was unhappy and sassing the cop. He was even more ticked off when the officer found the cocaine. If it were me and I had contraband, I'd play Joe Citizen when I was stopped.


Houston is planning a traffic warrant amnesty. If you don't settle up, they're planning to start knocking on doors. Usually, people with traffic warrants are only caught at traffic


Washington state has tightened the penalty when a car kills or injures a pedestrian or person on a bicycle. The maximum fine will be $5,000 and a 90-day license suspension.


Fighting traffic ticket done right: How to Beat a Traffic Ticket: The Six Steps Guide. Available for just 99 cents from Kindle or Nook. Or instant PDF download Buy Now

Image courtesy of bigjom

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Senators ask for no dui apps

4 US senators have asked cell phone companies not to sell apps that identify dui checkpoints. Yeah, guys. We're spending all this federal money on checkpoints that don't catch drunk drivers. Don't make us look even worse.

How to double the effectiveness of federal funding for dui checkpoints:

At California dui checkpoint, it costs $2,800 to arrest one drunk driver.

What if I at the shift briefing held up a check. "The first officer to make 2 dui arrests out on patrol tonight gets this check for $2,800."

What do you think would happen? The effectiveness just doubled.


Missouri has a law that a city can only make 35% of its revenue from traffic tickets. The officers in Lone Jack were a little too successful--the city had $19,000 of traffic ticket money it couldn't keep. (The money went to the state.)


Michigan is using federal funds to step up seat belt enforcement during May. 95.2% of the state's drivers use seatbelts.


Des Moines, Iowa is about to go live with its "automated traffic enforcement system" (what the rest of us call red light cameras). The local newspaper asked what happens if someone makes a legal right turn at an ATES intersection. No answer on that one.

The system can be used to alert police officers when a certain license plate is detected.

Image courtesy of xedos4

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More than 1,000 tickets a month

A speeding camera in Ridgeland, South Carolina (population 2,518) has been responsible for 10,000 tickets along Interstate 95 in 9 months.

A bill in the state legislature would tell Ridgeland to knock it off. There is a state law which bars tickets based solely on photographic evidence.

A driver, about to receive his 19th traffic ticket, allegedly shot the officer. This is the kind of thing cops worry about.

My book spends a lot of time talking about how to behave when a cop walks up. Doing it right defuses concern, making the stop safer for both of you.

Eating or drinking while driving in California can be cause for a distracted driving ticket, this attorney writes. Am I allowed to talk?

More traffic ticket tips from How to Beat a Traffic Ticket: The Six Steps Guide. Available for just 99 cents from Kindle or Nook. Or instant PDF download

Buy Now

Image courtesy of winnond

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pitfalls of community service to pay off a fine

A six month payment plan or community service help people deal with traffic fines in some Florida courts.

Unfortunately, each hour of service knocks only $7.25 off the fine. So a $300 ticket takes more than a full-time week to work off.

60 Minutes aired a segment on the sovereign citizen movement. Though I have no connections with either side, the reporting seemed less than objective.

We had people like the sovereign citizens come into the courthouse on traffic tickets. They claimed the court had no jurisdiction over them.

The court disagreed.

60 Minutes never explained what the movement believes or what percentage of adherents fit the crazy, murderous profile the broadcast painted. (It never dawned on the reporter that, to the British, George Washington looked a lot like a 'sovereign citizen'.)

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Can someone stand in for the officer in court?

A law student recently had a traffic ticket. When he arrived at court, the officer wasn't there. But a woman told him she was appearing for the officer. Huh?

The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution provides

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to ... be confronted with the witnesses against him ..."

Since the woman wasn't at the traffic stop, she cannot be a witness against the driver. She can't be cross-examined because she has no firsthand knowledge of the incident.

If she's trying to represent the officer, is she an attorney? Is the unlicensed practice of law a crime in that state? (Probably--lawyers have a strong lobby.) She still can't testify.

Your questioning of her might proceed like this:

You: Does the United States Constitution apply in this state?

Her: Yes

You: Are you familiar with the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution? ....

~ ~ ~

A New York police officer was in his car writing a ticket when an allegedly drunk driver rammed him from behind. Unfazed, the officer finished issuing the traffic ticket before going to the hospital. The driver who struck his car drove off, to be apprehended by other police.

St. Clair County, Illinois is having a clean up day. Anyone with a minor traffic warrant can come in to try and settle up. They promise there'll be no arrests.

Image courtesy of Graeme Weatherston

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cash strapped governments look to tickets

It used to be if you got a warrant for not paying a traffic ticket, nothing much happened unless you got stopped again.

But now, strapped for cash, states are using warrant round ups to make money. There's a lot of potential income out there, this article says. For a 27 month period, almost 15% of the traffic cases filed in Fort Worth, Texas went to warrant, representing $78 million in potential revenue.

Think you pay the fine at the courthouse and it's all over? Not in Michigan. There you can get hit with a Driver Responsibility Fee of $250 to $1,000 if you violate certain vehicle code sections or acquire sufficient points. Don't pay? Your license is suspended. (Update: 5-25-11: Texas has a similar program.)

Try not to plead guilty: How to Beat a Traffic Ticket: The Six Steps Guide. Available for just 99 cents from Kindle or Nook. Or instant PDF download Buy Now

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This stop is being recorded ....

At least one of the electronic ticketing devices police are using also has the ability to take pictures. Police have used this to photograph the driver and contraband.

Tulsa, Oklahoma is equipping its police cars so that each traffic stop is recorded, both on video and audio. Smile.

Need to appear at the clerk's office to get a court date but don't have the time? For $12, one company will stand in line for you.

Enjoy more inside information at How to Beat a Traffic Ticket: The Six Steps Guide. Available for just 99 cents from Kindle or Nook. Or instant PDF download Buy Now

Image courtesy of jannoon028

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Vigorous defense -- but no lying

Don't get too creative in your defense when fighting a traffic ticket. One New York man is now charged with perjury for allegedly lying during his traffic ticket trial. Some day it's better to just stay in bed.

Elgin, Illinois is moving towards electronic tickets. Yesterday we reported on Oklahoma highways doing the same thing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Electronic tics up, red light camera down

Oklahoma is implementing electronic tickets on its highways. No longer will the officer have to write a traffic ticket up. Instead it will be printed on site for the driver.

The ticket will be transmitted electronically and immediately to the traffic court. We haven't heard whether the driver will sign anything with the new system. The technology is expected to cut the time for a traffic stop by up to 66%.

Red light camera tickets going out in Florida? That state's House has passed a law that would ban them. The measure still has to pass the state senate and the governor.

---brought to you by How to Beat a Traffic Ticket: The Six Steps Guide. Available for just 99 cents from Kindle or Nook. Or instant PDF download Buy Now

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

3 more ways NOT to beat a traffic ticket

Another blogger cites 3 ways NOT to beat a traffic ticket with the officer standing there:

  • Reaching into your pocket for money. One kid trying this allegedly got arrested for bribery.
  • Offering sexual favors (If you do try this, first ask the cop if there's a camera in the police car videoing the stop.)
  • Pulling rank. Bill, a cop friend of mine, pulls a car over. The driver flashes a badge and refuses to roll down the window. Bill gets his 5 cell flashlight off the motorcycle and pops the window out. Moral:  if you do try to pull rank, do it through an open window. (The driver's sergeant told him Bill acted properly.)