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traffic77777, Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 343
Experience:  Attorney
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My wife recieved a speeding ticket in Hawaii doing 65 in a

Customer Question

My wife recieved a speeding ticket in Hawaii doing 65 in a 35mph zone. The officer listed a $207.00 fine and did not check box for manditory court date. The ticket instructions are if no court date scheduled then you have 21 days to pay or show up in person to set a court date. I tried to pay her ticket today in person at the courthouse, the receptionist could not understand why the court date was not checked because in Hawaii 30 over is manditory court. She tried to have me set a date but I could not speak for my wife so I took the ticket and left the courthouse. Before I left i asked why the officer had not checked the box for manditory court appearance and she stated he made a mistake. Can I still just follow the ticket directions and pay the fine?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
I would be happy to help you with this but let me just clarify something: did the receptionist refuse to accept your money even after you said you could not speak for your wife? Also, which section (exact number) of the traffic code appears on the citation? Is it HRS §291C-105?
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The receptionist would not accept any money she had to ask her supervisor what to do then she came back and said it required a court date and asked me to set one. After that I did not try to pay. The fine of $207 matches what she said it should be but there is no code listed on the ticket
Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
Does the ticket say that it's for speeding 30mph over the limit on it?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

well a box for 11-29 mph over limit is checked and on the same line it has 30 mph handwrote in then on the same line the fine of $207 is handwrote in

Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
This is interesting. Hawai’i Civil Traffic Rule 8(f)(3) states that “the court shall require a defendant to appear in person for the hearing if: (i) the judgment will result in revocation or suspension of the defendant's driving privileges.”

Speeding 30mph over the limit is a petty misdemeanor for which the following penalties apply:
(1) For a first offense not preceded by a prior conviction for an offense under this section in the preceding five years:
(A) A fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000;
(B) Thirty-day prompt suspension of license and privilege to operate a vehicle during the suspension period, or the court may impose, in lieu of the thirty-day prompt suspension of license, a minimum fifteen-day prompt suspension of license with absolute prohibition from operating a vehicle and, for the remainder of the thirty-day period, a restriction on the license that allows the person to drive for limited work related purposes;
(C) Attendance in a course of instruction in driver retraining;
(D) A surcharge of $25 to be deposited into the neurotrauma special fund;
(E) An assessment for driver education pursuant to section 286G-3; and
(F) Either one of the following:
(i) Thirty-six hours of community service work; or
(ii) Not less than forty-eight hours and not more than five days of imprisonment;

Therefore, since mandatory suspension is a penalty, a court shall require your wife to appear. Note that the minimum fine for speeding 30mph+ is $500, whereas your wife was fined $207 and the officer did not cross out 11-29mph. What you should argue is that he cited your wife for 11-29mph and handwrote what her actual speed was.
According to Rule 9(a) (see link above), a notice of infraction “is sufficient if it contains either a written description of or statutory designation for the infraction.” Your notice does not contain statutory designation (statute section number) and contains ambiguous written description (he checked one thing and handwrote another). Ambiguities must be interpreted in favor of the defendant. Therefore, you should argue that she now cannot be charged with 30mph over the limit based on insufficiency of notice.

Also, try to pay this fine online and get back to me if it does not work:
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yesterday I tried to pay online but the site stated the ticket was not in the system yet, today I tried to pay online again and now the ticket was displayed but the site stated it could not be paid online. We still have 6 days left out of the stated 21 days so I was wondering if we just sent a certified check by certified mail and see what that happens

Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
Well, that site gives you an option of "paying by mail using the pre-addressed envelope that accompanied the citation" after 13 days of the citation. Did you get such envelope?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes we have the envelope
Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
Then you can mail the fine in but make sure you keep the copy of the ticket, so you can always prove there was no notice to appear. If the court send you back the notice to appear, your wife will have to show up and argue, just like I said above, that she was really cited for 11-29mph, not 30.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank You
Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
No problem, let me know how it goes.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hello again. Let me update you on what I have done. The officer had provided an envelope for my wife to pay the fine, on the envelope was a few boxes to check how you were pleading and a section to pay with a credit card. I checked the guilty box and then in the description of what you are pleading guilty to I wrote "11-29 over mph" (that is the box the officer checked). I placed a copy of the ticket along with credit card info and the guilty plea in the provided envelope and mailed it certified mail on Friday. They recieved it on Monday but they have not charged my card yet. Today is the last day of the 21 days to appear before them or pay the fine. Not sure if we should make an appearance there today or wait and see if they accept the plea and charge my credit card. Please advise
Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
Good job mailing it certified mail! I would not recommend appearing in court because the problem with that is then they might tell you again that she was charged with 30+ for which a court hearing and bigger penalties are necessary. Let them make the next move. The worst case scenario, they will charge your wife with failure to appear but since no box for mandatory appearance was checked, you will be able to challenge such a decision.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you again. Hey please make sure you were paid 2 times for $30 dollars each time. I want you to know I appriciate your advice but its strange how the payment on this was done. Let me know if you did not recieve the 2 payments, one was today and the other one was last Thursday when you answered.



Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
I have received both payments, which is highly appreciated. Some people ask many questions but only pay once (if at all), so this definitely sets you apart in a very positive light. Let me know how it goes with the court.
Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
I'm just curious, have you heard back from the court yet?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hello again, Just got word yesterday. The court sent a letter requesting an appearance on 4-25-12. So now I have a few more questions. 1. Can I request officers notes for the violation, How? 2. The citation stated he matched speed and he wrote down 65 in a 35 (Hence the 30 over) since he used his speedometer as the measuring device is there another argument there because from the factory speedometers are calibrated to (-0->10%) Meaning they will be close or always read more than the true speed up to 10% over. So I could also easily argue that the true speed could have been 58.5mph and not 65mph that he wrote. 3. Or do I just stand hard and firm on the Ambiguities must be interpreted in favor of the defendant?
Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
I can't believe they continue to give you a hard time about it. 1) Yes, you can request discovery of officer's notes, certificate for the speed measuring device, calibration records, and other things you find relevant. I'm not sure what circuit you are in, but these are the discovery rules for the first circuit (O'ahu): These rules are pretty uniform throughout Hawaii. You just write a letter titled "Request for Discovery" and list all the documents and information you want. Send it certified mail. If they fail to provide something, they cannot introduce the omitted stuff at trial later, so make sure you catch them if they try to.

2) Matching speed is not a very accurate method, so you should definitely challenge it, as I think there is definitely room for error to put your wife into the 11-29mph category to give her the benefit of the doubt that she deserves.

3) Stand hard and firm on the ambiguities grounds as well, in addition to the above arguments; you do not have to choose one or the other, best to round up all possible defenses.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Do we have to wait until the first court apperance when we plead not guilty and get a case number to request the discovery?
Expert:  traffic77777 replied 5 years ago.
I don't see any reason to wait to plead. She can do it now and request discovery right away and go to court prepared.