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Delta-Lawyer, Attorney
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Experience:  10 years practicing IP law and general litigation
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I have a dilemma, I received a speeding ticket in Charlottesville,

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I have a dilemma, I received a speeding ticket in Charlottesville, VA on 10/08/2012. I had all intentions on fighting the ticket, but I was called by my employer to provide relief support for Hurricane Sandy (I do electrical work for power companies). I wasn't given a time frame on when I would be back from New Jersey nor was I allowed to leave during that time. Out of ignorance and fear of a possible warrant, I paid the ticket. Now, my employer has put me on "inactive" status because of this ticket and now I face the real possibility of losing my job (I drive a company vehicle). This ticket is going to destroy my livelihood and I was wondering if there is ANY possibility of re-opening my case. I am extremely desperate at this point. Ive read somewhere that I could have judgement set aside based on the grounds that I didn't understand the ramifications of my ticket or file a Notice of Motion seeking Post-Conviction Relief. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
I hope this message finds you well, present circumstances excluded. I have 8 years experience representing a state DMV and am well versed in driver license law. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you with this issue.

First off, the answer to this issue will largely depend on whether you have a commercial driver license or not. If you have a commercial license, even if you are allowed to convert your ticket through set-aside or post-conviction relief, the Virginia DMV, like any other DMV, will likely protest having to apply this to your license. The reason is that the Federal Motor Carrier people view this as "masking" a commercial driver license infraction. As such, the Feds will threaten to revoke highway funds to agency and states for recognizing this amendments to judgment. In short, if you have a commercial driver license, then even if you get a judgment, you will have some issues with the DMV in all likelihood. However, the DMV is required by law to honor the lawful judgments of a court having jurisdiction over the matter. What this means in layman's terms is that you should attempt to have the ticket amended anyway and roll the dice that the DMV does not question the new judgment.

If you are not a commercial license holder, you are in much better shape and will not see any protest from the DMV if/when you get an amended order.

You are correct that the two best mechanisms for approaching this issue are a Motion to Set Aside the Judgment and Motion for Post Conviction Relief. One other motion you could file is a Motion of Nonadjudication of the Ticket. You should probably file a Motion To Set Aside the Judgment, Or In the Alternative, A Motion for Post Conviction Relief. Within the second portion of the motion, you could suggest to the court that they nonadjudicate the ticket. This essentially means you plead guilty and the court withholds judgment.

I must tell you that these motions are not sure things. I would put the odds at 50/50 in succeeding. There are some things that you could do to help those odds, like have family or friends sign sworn statements as to your character, the work you did in Sandy Relief that resulted in this situation and the type of worker you are as well as what this will cost you in your career. These statements could be attached to your Motion.

In short, there is a chance to get this set aside or nonadjudicated. That said, if you are a commercial license holder, your likelihood of success is less - but not zero. I see similar situations work out from time to time and in view of the circumstances, it is worth the effort.

Let me know if you have any other questions or comments. Best wishes going forward.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankfully, I do not have a Commercial Drivers License. I have plenty of friends, family, co-workers (including the Project Manager in charge of the Sandy relief) willing to sign sworn statements on my behalf. I've never been in any trouble before (legally or work-wise) and I am hoping this works. When consulting a lawyer, should I bring up the motions I did research on? Those 2 lawyers Ive talked to so far didn't even mention that as an option

Absolutely bring up those motions. Also bring up the possibility of nonadjudication. Most of the time, nonadjudication is in play only before a plea has been made or payment, for that matter. However, some courts are willing to retroactively use this approach as well.

That is great news that there is no commercial license. That drastically increase your ability to make this ticket go away.
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