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LawyerLady07, Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
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Experience:  I'm able to provide information on all traffic offenses.
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I received a speeding ticket a couple of months ago in Northern

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I received a speeding ticket a couple of months ago in Northern California. I was doing 56 in a 40 zone. I have a clean driving record and received a fine of $460. Even if I pay the fine, the court clerk told me that I am not eligible for traffic school.

I am an international student here in the USA on a student visa. Although I accept responsibility, I cannot pay this amount right now as I only work part time and just received my Masters in May. I spoke to the court clerk and she recommended that I turn up one morning and I can see the judge and explain my situation to him. The clerk said that the judge is fair and would probably give me the chance to pay in installments and take traffic school and may even reduce the amount of the fine. I have already used up the time of an extension of 90 days.

I have been in the country since 2008 and have never been in any kind of trouble. I have never been in a courtroom before and do not even know how I should address the judge. Also, I have a stammer/speech impediment. My question is...what should I say to the judge considering my student status and inability to pay the fine? Is there anything I should say that may get the judge to reduce the fine (as the court clerk suggested?)

Also, should I try to explain first that I have a stammering problem? Also, what should I wear? This is a small city in Northern California but I want to show as much respect to the court as possible. At the very least I want to be able to do traffic school so I do not get a point on my license. Any other advice appreciated.
Good evening!

I would be glad to help you with your legal inquiry.

In California, the fines assessed for speeding are fixed by the state and the judge simply imposes the fine according to the state rules. However, you may request to do community service hours in lieu of paying fines for a traffic infraction. You will need to explain to the judge how the payment of the fine would impose a significant financial hardship to you, including the factors you listed in your question. You could also request traffic school, but keep in mind that will be an additional cost to you.

If you have a suit, you should wear one. If not, a collared button-up shirt and tie and dress slacks would be appropriate. Also, if you feel the need to explain your speech impediment, then do so. It's probably not necessary. Most judges would never comment on such a thing.

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