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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Ticketed for 75 in a 55 by Macon County, NC Sheriff. Live & Licensed in GA. Fines &

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Ticketed for 75 in a 55 by Macon County, NC Sheriff. Live & Licensed in GA. Fines & penalties are severe. Class 2 misdemeanor. Mandatory suspension of Lic, other penalties include incarceration & heavy fines...Should I plead not guilty or hope for leniency
Submitted: 1 year ago via SpeedingTicketCentral.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me if you have had prior traffic issues, or is this your first ticket? What about criminal matters? Also, how old are you, please?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


No criminal matters. I'm 53 & last speeding ticket was 4 or 5 years ago in GA.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Anthony,

Thank you. Are you charged only with speeding, or something else as well, such as reckless driving, etc?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Speeding only, nothing else.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, friend.

In this case, you may wish to plead NOT GUILTY.

Pleading guilty or no contest (also called nolo contendere) will simply have the matter over before it even begins and has you at the mercy of the Court.

But you have choices.

First of all, understand how this works. At this point, you have three options.

Options
1) simply send in the fine (automatic guilty plea), or plead guilty at first appearance and pay the fine;

OR

2) plead not guilty and the matter will be reset to trial. If the matter is reset to trial, then you can normally request a jury trial, and retaining counsel is best. Of course, by retaining counsel, you end up paying close to what you would with the ticket;

OR

3) Informal negotiation - we will get to this in a moment.

Prosecutor's Leverage
If this case gets to trial, the prosecutor is likely to call the officer who will make an appearance and explain what he feels happened. He may or may not bring his dashboard camera tape that can also show what happened, if there is one. Normally, the Judge (or Jury, if you have a jury trial) takes the word of an officer over the Defendant.

Your Leverage
The prosecutor is normally very backed up. They are handling literally dozens of cases at once. Setting a matter for trial - jury trial, more so - is a serious issue since they have little time to prepare, file the proper motions, and generally make room for the trial to happen. And a 20 mph speeding ticket of someone who has almost no priors is really one of the LEAST important things the prosecutor likely will have on his plate.

Negotiation
Recall how I had mentioned negotiation as one of the options. Very often, individuals in your situation are given a "plea deal," if they have little/no traffic record. Individuals in your situation are very likely to be offered two possibilities:

1. A deferral program (which dismisses the charge if you simply are not charged/convicted of anything else in 6 months to a year, but, pay court costs); or
2. Traffic school (although some Courts do not have this as an option).

You can always ask for even a more favorable plea deal, including a "non-moving" violation, that would be less of a fine and not count as points. If the prosecutor agrees, then this is a good deal.

Now, at time of first hearing, the Prosecutor is likely to be faced with dozens of angry Defendants. Ergo, they may respond more favorably if you (1) call and find out the prosecutor's number from the court, and then call the prosecutor and ask for a quick "meeting" to discuss the case wherein you can explain the mitigating factors and ask for a non-moving violation, or even for it to be simply dropped; or (2) plead not guilty first, and then approach them when they seem less busy in Court.

This is very likely to end up in a settled agreement.

Of course, if this does not work, your only other option is to indeed set it for trial and play your leverage. Doing so may have the prosecutor reexamine their offer to you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


This citation is a mandatory court appearance.


 


Would I likely be able to discuss a plea with the ADA over the phone prior to the court date or only after I plead not guilty?


 


This was an obvious speed trap as I saw numerous police cars passing by & another driver was pulled over while I was being ticketed. The speed trap was at the bottom of a very step straight section coming down from a mountain pass. You had to break or downshift to avoid an increase in speed.


 

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

This citation is a mandatory court appearance.

Then you would have to plead NOT GUILTY upon the first appearance, and have it be reset to give you time to find counsel and/or to negotiate with the prosecutor. It is highly recommended to have the attorney negotiate on your behalf. The prosecutor may even not want to negotiate unless you have counsel. You can ask the Court for counsel if you cannot afford one.

Would I likely be able to discuss a plea with the ADA over the phone prior to the court date or only after I plead not guilty?

No. The ADA will negotiate only in person, and likely more with your attorney than yourself. It is not a good idea to negotiate yourself anyhow because the ADA can take advantage of you, so it is best to allow your attorney to do the work. When I said "find out the prosecutor's number and call," I meant that it would be best that your attorney does this.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Would having council at my first appearance be in my favor or just wait until after I enter my plea & then let my attorney make arrangements with the ADA.


 


I appreciate the candid advice. I just want to be sure I understand which option is best for my situation.


 


You have been very helpful

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Would having council at my first appearance be in my favor or just wait until after I enter my plea & then let my attorney make arrangements with the ADA.

It would be in your favor in that the negotiation may begin quicker with the ADA, i.e. the same date, instead of it being reset and negotiation beginning on the second date when you have counsel.

I appreciate the candid advice. I just want to be sure I understand which option is best for my situation.

No problem!

You have been very helpful

Thank you for your kind words.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 87219
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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