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Can I ask a few questions?
1 How old is she? What state are you in?
2. Did the officer claim that the speed was clocked on radar or was that his own estimate?
3. Was the proof of insurance valid and in the car at that time (no problems with expired registration or insurance? Just the cop made her upset and nervous?)
4. Did she see or hear an emergency vehicle? (You mentioned everything but the emergency vehicle above)
5. Are these her first violations?
My daughter is 17, and we live in California.
On the ticket there is a box to mark for radar or LIDAR and LIDAR is marked not radar.
The insurance was valid and in the car, she just handed him the wrong one.
There was no other emergency vehicle other than him on his motorcycle.
Yes, these are her first violations.
Hello again Jennifer --
I apologize for the delay. It sounds like the way the officer decided to charge her on the ticket that when the matter actually gets in front of a judge it will be his word against her word (unless she had a witness in her car with her?). Now, the first thing that will happen when you go back to court is that the prosecutor will want to speak to her to see if something can be worked out. This would be a good time to present the proof of insurance and my suggestion is that you get something from your insurance company that states that the car was insured on the date in question. My feeling on that is that the prosecutor will most likely drop that charge right off especially if the car is not hers and she explains that the officer was rude and made her nervous so she was unable to find where her Dad kept the insurance card as quickly as the officer wanted her to. You also may be able to talk the prosecutor out of the speeding ticket portion of the fine by claiming that there was no radar used and that because the officer seemed to be in a foul mood to begin with he decided to "overestimate" the rate of speed that she was travelling. What it will all boil down to is that the prosecutor will most likely want her to plead at least "no contest" (not quite "guilty") to something of these charges in order to save face for the cop and to finish up the matter. At that point, it will be up to your daughter whether she actually wants to face the judge on the matter -- and the prosecutor and judge will most likely question her about what happened. They will also question the cop who will most likely lie through his teeth and because the court has no reason not to believe him over your daughter, they will do so ( as lawyers, when a cop gets on the stand and makes up facts and twists facts in order to support his version of events we call it "testilying" -- please forgive my cynicism but I come from a family of cops and can tell you quite certainly that it is more important to many cops to get the "win" than to tell the complete truth -- even if they make things up along the way). Perhaps it was a situation where your daughter inadvertently cut him off because he came out of nowhere (it happens -- people who ride motorcycles including cops believe that they can simply dart in and out of traffic) -- and so he got angry with her and decided to throw in the speeding ticket and the insurance card violation. In the end, if you do take the matter to trial without a lawyer, she will probably end up being found responsible for at least one of the items on the ticket and thus it may simply be advisable to see if you can work with the prosecutor to toss out some of the items and thus keep her insurance rates lower (because the more moving violations she receives, the higher the insurance becomes and if she can get it down to one offense with the prosecutor they may permit her to go to traffic school which will work to keep her license intact and her insurance payments at the same rate -- at least on a first offense). I am not sure that you can do much better than that if you pay an attorney to represent her, except for the fact that the cop involved is an unknown quantity here and a good defense lawyer may be able to get him on the witness stand and push his buttons so that he explodes or snaps back in the court room and then use that as an example of what your daughter had to deal with that day by herself (he frightened her with his anger and rudeness). If you and she want to get this completely tossed out then I do suggest that you speak to a local attorney who handles traffic matters like this all the time -- you can get a referrral from your local county bar association (they will give you several names and then you can speak to a few of them and go from there). I truly wish I could give you a surefire way to get it all thrown out -- but when it comes to traffic tickets it is always the word of the cop against the word of the driver and the cop is not going to admit that he made mistakes under any circumstances. Finally, when everything is said and done, your daughter may want to contact the police department internal affairs unit and file a complaint against the officer for the manner in which she was treated that day. It certainly sounds like it was not professional and there was no reason to upset her and frighten her to the point where she was unable to dig out the proper insurance card to show to him. Even if the police do nothing about this incident, all complaints like this remain in the file of the officer and then if he has problems with other motorists or people in the future, the complaint file gets larger and larger to the point where he may eventually be found to be a problem and they will reprimand him and possibly let him go. With cops, it never happens overnight, but the bad ones are usually weeded out eventually.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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