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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 112765
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years of law and traffic law
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I got a ticket in PA two days ago. According

Customer Question

Hello, I got a ticket for speeding in PA two days ago. According to the police officer, I was driving 91mph on a 60mph limit. I believe this is not correct but I have the speed statement on the ticket. I haven't called the court to get the fine yet, as before I'd like to know what possibilities / ways I have to fight the ticket and in the worst case scenario how much would the fine be.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The fine for speeding at 91 in a 60 in PA is about $87 plus another $100 in court costs and surcharges. In order to fight the citation, you would have to prove somehow that his determination of your speed was incorrect. This means you have to challenge the certification on the device or the officer's determination that it was your vehicle and not another vehicle that was speeding (if there were other vehicles on the road).
Under PA law, "Electronic devices commonly referred to as electronic speed meters or radar shall have been tested for accuracy within a period of one year prior to the alleged violation. Other devices shall have been tested for accuracy within a period of 60 days prior to the alleged violation. A certificate from the station showing that the calibration and test were made within the required period and that the device was accurate shall be competent and prima facie evidence of those facts in every proceeding in which a violation of this title is charged." See: 75 PA 3368.
So you can plead not guilty and go to court and request the certification records and hope they are not up to date. If they are then you can ask to confer with the prosecutor, who has the right to either reduce the speed or the charge against you or can offer you a first offender deal called a deferred sentence, where you pay the fine and charges and if you do not get any further tickets in 6-12 months they will agree to dismiss this ticket against you so it does not affect your license and does not go on your driving record.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello,I just checked the ticket and it was issued in West Virginia.Violation of 17C-6-1 codeCould you please advise on this?Thanks
Enrico Cimador
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply. That changes the fine, since you initially said it was in PA.
WV has some excessive fees and penalties for speeding. Each county/town in WV has their own fine schedule and the fine is supposed to be listed on the ticket or you need to call the traffic court clerk in the town where the citation was issued to ask for their court's fine. They also charge about $165 in court fees on top of the fine if you go to court. In addition, they will report the violation to PA, but PA does not put "minor violations such as speeding" from out of state on your drivers license unless you have a CDL.
WV also does not set specific time for radar units to be calibrated as PA does, but they require all officers using radar to be certified.
You can still go to court plead not guilty as I said above and the WV prosecutor can also drop the speed over the limit or can give you a deferred sentence as I described above. If you cannot get back to WV to go to court, you can use a local WV lawyer to represent you to seek to get the ticket reduced or even dismissed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply. How much would a lawyer charge for this kind of sentences? Also, I forgot to mention that I have an international driving license from Italy. Under what conditions would the ticket be dismissed or reduced?
Thanks a lot for your help
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
To add on that, I was referring to the fact that I don't possess a local PA driving license as moved to the US few months ago. I am not sure whether this change the situation but I thought it´s worth mentioning it. Thank you again
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If you have an international license, it would be only a fine and court costs and the total would be about $300 for the fine and costs. An attorney would typically charge you about $200, depending on how many times he has to go to court. You eventually need to get a PA license if you are living there for more than 30 days, but at this time, you need to deal with the WV ticket first and then after that is finished you can apply to get your PA license and this has no effect on that.
The dismissal or reduction is solely discretionary to the prosecutor and judge, there are many situations that they will agree to a dismissal or reduction, including just feeling sorry for the person who got the ticket so there are so many conditions they cannot all be listed or addressed here.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I called and it´s either paying $260,25 for both fine ($100) and court fees ($160,25) or plead not guilty and have the possibility of having fine reduced or completely discharged. I recall you saying that it varies on situation and different conditions, but from you experience what is the chance of having the ticket reduced and what arguments would you recommend for pleading not guilty? Also, as I am in PA for more than 30 days and haven't done a PA license yet, would that represent a possible risk at court for extra charges or possible issues?
Thank you very much again for your time and help
Enrico Cimador
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes, it varies by court and what prosecutor you get as well. In most cases, the prosecutor will offer some type of deal, generally to get you to pay some fine, and will usually offer a deferred prosecution as I stated above. It is usually worth it to go to court to plead not guilty and get the prosecutor to agree to reduce the speed over the limit at the very least and to agree to a deferred adjudication.
The PA license is not an issue at this point in time. As I said above, you can get that done after the WV ticket is closed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.I just found this informative page: http://www.drivinglaws.org/resources/traffic-tickets/speed-violations/west-virginia-speeding-laws.htIt looks like WV has an "absolute" fee for speeding, reducing the speed would not influence the total I have to pay unless the judge would reduce it of 31mph. Do you think that is realistic? Also, when stating deferred adjudication, is that always "pay the fine and charges and if you do not get any further tickets in 6-12 months they will agree to dismiss this ticket against you so it does not affect your license and does not go on your driving record."? Does that imply the reimbursement of the cost as well? Another detail is, I will leave the USA mid-August, and not sure how that might apply.I am just trying to get a feeling on what might be realistic to happen and advantages of driving to court (90miles round trip, and might need to take PTO from work)Thank you
Enrico
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The prosecutor has a right to reduce the fine and whether or not to give a deferred sentence, even under their "absolute fee" that that website claims. For a deferred sentence you would have to pay the entire fine and costs and those are not reimbursed when they dismiss the citation.
If you are leaving in August, then paying the citation and court costs is really not going to impact you or your driving record at all.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your replySounds good. I will hope for a deferred sentence then. Any suggestion you would like to give prior to the trial about the discussion with the judge? Any preparation or argument you would think is effective on plea not guilty?And one last question related to the PA license: what happens if I don't get one? As said I will leave in two months and I am wondering whether I should do it or not.Thank you
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
You need to go to see the prosecutor and meet with him and basically deny you were doing that speed and explain you are leaving the US and do not want to have this drag out and ask him to make an offer. You are essentially begging him and asking him for the deferred sentence.
If you do not get the PA license as long as you do not get stopped again in PA, they will not do anything to you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your replyIsn´t a denying I was doing that speed a risky statement in front of a prosecutor? By saying that I would imply the police officer was wrong, and at same time I signed the citation where the excessive speed was stated. The second part sounds good as a deferred sentence would be actually the best scenario. The question is just what hard fact and argument can I state without denying what (should) be true as measured by police?About the PA license, what happens if they stop me in PA without PA license? Would they be able to track my previous speeding record in WV?Thanks
Enrico
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
People deny they were going that fast every time so it is not risky to tell the prosecutor you did not think you were driving that fast. What non-lawyers fail to understand is that when you are meeting with the prosecutor for a deal in traffic court, the "hard fact" does not matter, you are BEGGING for a deal so you need to come off as sympathetic and tell them you did not believe you were going that fast, you were keeping up with traffic or there was nothing on the road and it was a straight road or anything that can get you some sympathy from him.
Again with the PA License, no it will not go back on you for the WV ticket. If they stop you in PA for driving AND they find out you have been in PA for more than 30 consecutive days, they might issue a citation for not changing your license over, but most officers will tell you to simply go get one and if you do the citation is dismissed.

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