Everyone gets traffic tickets...
...and when it comes to horrible traffic ticket stories, we've heard it all. When our customers give us the nitty-gritty details of their ticket scenario, we beg them to spare us the part where they "really, really had to go to the bathroom", and the cop was just not letting them go, so they wet themselves right there in the car! (True story). Honestly, if that's happened to you, it's probably not enough to convince the judge to dismiss your case. (If you were planning to use that defense, please, please spare yourself the embarrassment in court and leave it to the pros to come up with defenses, aka, TicketKick, duh!)
With all of the stories we try to tune out due to their sheer cringy-ness, there are some that we legitimately think were unnecessarily rude, wrong, or simply horrible on the part of the officer or government. Now, let me interject myself: we support police officers. Yes! They're out there to keep our roads safe, and that's the number one priority. We don't, however, support abuse, unnecessary rudeness to the everyday driver, or tickets generated to raise revenue for the government.
We asked Californians to send us their traffic ticket nightmare stories. We asked how they felt about how they were dealt with, and if they feel that the incident justified the fine.
"Just a scam to generate revenue"
Comedian Dan Nainan (www.danielnainan.com
) travels from New York to Los Angeles every year for our weather and to perform. While in LA, he got pulled over after making a right turn at an intersection. Although he didn't quite understand why he was getting pulled over, the cop wrote him the ticket. "I decided to contest the ticket," he said. "The policeman came and spoke to me and said that I could plead guilty and pay the fine, but avoid any points point on my license, or any information going to my insurance company. He was very nice about it, and I actually felt grateful." Until he got the fine in the mail. "You know much the ticket was? FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! I realized that this whole thing is just a scam to generate revenue, and it is disgusting! Because of this experience, I'm seriously considering not going to Los Angeles anymore and just toughing out the winters in New York, where one does not have to have a freaking car." Well said, Dan.
"Traffic tickets WERE intended as a safe driving measure"
Ben Schorr, CEO of www.rolandschorr.com
received a ticket for supposedly doing 56 in a 50 zone. Fortunately, he was able to get his fine lowered and the violation knocked off his record because the judge thought the officer was silly for citing him for such a low speed (compared to much higher tickets given!). Ben certainly got an eye opener on how the whole system works. "Speaking to my friends who are LAPD officers, they told me that while they don't have any quota for tickets to write in a shift, their shift commander knows how many tickets they usually write in a shift and if they're considerably below (or above) that number, they might get asked why it was so different. I think that the traffic tickets were intended as a safe driving measure but I think in some areas, especially in these difficult budget times, they have occasionally been perverted to be a revenue-generator.
"I had never gotten a ticket because I always followed the rules"
My favorite was from Jane Angelich of www.supercollar.com
. She said, "I have received one ticket in my 43 years of driving, and it was in California in 1991 while teaching my 15.5 year-old son to drive. As we were approaching our house, I began the lecture about how I had never gotten a ticket because I always followed the rules when operating the car. My son then informed me that my track record was about to change because the police car following me with the lights ablaze was about to pull me over. I was supposedly clocked going 40 mph in my own 25 mph residential area. I was so adamant that it was unjustified that I did go to traffic court and fight it. My son and I actually measured the distance between the two stop signs where we were stopped and compared it with the 0-60 performance of my car. It showed that the car couldn't get to 40 miles per hour at the point we were stopped. We prepared an elaborate visual, went to court and made the presentation to the judge. The officer that issued the ticket spoke first about the calibration of his radar gun and then I spoke. I thought I proved my case when the judge asked the officer to come behind the bench and they began whispering. But, I was found guilty and given the choice to go to traffic school, which I took to avoid the points. So much for my perfect driving record and my son, now 35, still reminds me of that great driving lesson."
The biggest complaint we hear is on red light camera tickets
. California's red light fines are about $500, plus a point on your driving record, and most people feel that the systems are simply revenue generators. I haven't heard from too many folks who thought that making a right turn on a red without coming to complete stop before
the limit line justified such a high fine. Blowing across the intersection, sure. But in reality, almost 75% of the red light camera cases we handle are NOT the type where the driver blew straight through the light. From my personal experience, if a cop's sitting there and you make that "California roll" (get the "sushi roll" heading now?), he wouldn't pull you over. I'm just sayin'...
Share your traffic ticket story!
Got a traffic ticket nightmare story you'd love to share? I'd love to hear it. Send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org